diamond geezer

 Thursday, July 26, 2012

Getting In and Out of the Olympic Park

There are four entrances to the Olympic Park - one north, one south, one east, one west. They're all very different. But which is best? I think that depends...

Stratford Gate (east) - from Stratford and Westfield
Stratford GateThis is the big one, the gate that the great majority of Park visitors will use. That's because it's closest to Stratford station, which has train connections from all over London, and is the first place most people think of when they think about the Games. It's also one of the most resilient stations in London. If you check the graphics on getaheadofthegames.com, several stations like London Bridge and Bond Street are due to crumble at the slightest hint of spectators. Not Stratford. That's only predicted to have serious queues for 4½ hours out of the next 400, thanks to a major refit and upgrade over the last few years.
In: Arrive via Stratford and your troubles are more likely to be outside the station than in. A series of pink signs will guide you through the station labyrinth and out into the Westfield shopping centre, either at lower ground or overbridge level. Whichever, expect to be directed towards The Street - Westfield's outdoor boutique mall, and then swiftly left towards the edge of the Park. That's at least five minutes walk so far. If you're lucky there'll be no queues and you can go straight across to security. If not, there's a very large space here where you might end up standing in the barriered slalom for ages. Rest assured there are scores of squaddies and scanners and tents, so you should be fine, but be prepared for a wait. And then it's a few more minutes walk into the heart of the Park, across a broad footbridge above the Waterworks River, dipping underneath the nose of the Aquatic Centre. In optimum conditions you could get from seat on train to seat in the stadium in less than 20 minutes. Time it wrong, could be much longer.
Out: When exiting via the Stratford Gate, you'll be funnelled into one of three broad exit lanes. Lane 1 is for Stratford International (the Javelin will probably be busy, the DLR definitely won't). Lane 2 is for Stratford (through Westfield and over the footbridge) and so is Lane 3 (round and down to the near side of the station). If you don't want to catch a train, take lane 2. If you fancy doing some shopping, don't take lane 3. On Monday I was in the first ten thousand out of the Stadium, and there were no queues, and I got on a train pretty quick. I hear things weren't quite so good for some of those further behind.
Rail options: Central, Jubilee, DLR×2, Overground, National Rail, Javelin
Local buses: 25, 86, 97, 104, 108, 158, 238, 241, 257, 262, 308, 339, 425, 473, D8

Greenway Gate (south) - from Stratford High Street and West Ham
This is the gate the Olympic organisers would like you to use. They'd really really like you to arrive via West Ham station, to ease the pressure on Stratford. What they're not too keen to mention is that this involves a walk of about a mile along the top of a sewer, and then another half mile past security to reach the hub of the Olympic Park. [more info here]
In: The walk from West Ham to the Park takes about 20-30 minutes, depending on your walking speed. Along the way you'll see the Victorian Abbey Mills pumping station, given a proper brush-up for the Games, which may be an unexpected treat. It's also possible to gain access to the Greenway Gate from Stratford High Street itself, beside the footbridge, and this is a very brief walk. I entered the Park this way on Monday, and it was a breeze. The tented scanners are designed to cope with several hundreds, so if only dozens choose to trickle this way you'll get through really fast. Plus the path into the Park is much prettier than via Stratford, past banked flowerbeds, in case that's a bonus.
Out: You might not think to depart the Park this way. But the Greenway Gate has one huge benefit which is that the path whisks you beneath the railway, which is such a barrier at Stratford, so you'll be straight out into the real world without queueing. What you'll then face is a longer walk to reach a railway station. West Ham - the designated station - is just under a mile away. Abbey Road, Bow Church and Bromley-by-Bow are slightly closer, but only if you know where you're going. If you turn left Stratford High Street DLR is closest of all, but there are no obvious signs telling you that.
Rail (plus walk) options: DLR, District, Hammersmith & City, National Rail, Jubilee
Local buses: 25, 108, 339, 425, D8
Cycle Hire: Bow Church, Bromley High Street

Victoria Gate (west) - from Victoria Park and Hackney Wick
This is the small one. It's crammed onto the Greenway near Old Ford Lock, so there isn't much room for security tents, so it'll never cope with an onslaught of spectators. That's OK, it won't get one.
In: Cyclists who've parked their bikes in Victoria Park will enter this way (the signs say 14 minutes walk, I reckon nearer 10). Anyone's who's splashed out on a Water Chariots barge trip will enter this way (you'd expect a very short walk after a £45 ride). Local residents within walking distance will enter this way. But that's not many people. The great majority of Olympic Park spectators will never even notice that the twisty path round the back of the Stadium exists.
Out: I think I can guarantee there'll be no queues to exit this way. But that's because there are very few transport options, apart from any bike you might have ridden here in the first place. Your one mainstream exit is Hackney Wick station, which is three quarters of a mile's walk away (and deliberately poorly signposted). It's recently been announced that the westbound platform at Hackney Wick will become exit only at 1pm each day during the Games. Most spectators will be wanting to exit to the west, so the proposed solution is to get on an eastbound train one stop, stay aboard, then ride it back the other way to your destination. Be warned, this'll take a while, but at least you'll have a seat when hundreds of people pile aboard at Stratford.
Rail (plus walk) option: Overground
Local buses: 276, 488

Eton Manor Gate (north) - from Hackney Marshes and Leyton
This is the remote one, unless you happen to live nearby, in which case it's a no-brainer. It's also the way in from the Eton Manor Transport Hub, which is where you'll be arriving if you come by Park & Ride coach.
In: The northern entrance is very convenient for the Velodrome, Basketball and Hockey - less than ten minutes walk in each case. But it's inconvenient for the Olympic Stadium and Aquatic Centre, which are more than a mile's trek south.
Out: Unless you're local, or live up the eastern end of the Central line, this is probably best avoided. Even if you do live up the eastern end of the Central line, be warned that it's nearly a mile to Leyton station, and that's on top of any long-distance walking you may have done to reach this gate in the first place. Two buses pass by the exit but be warned, the nearest two bus stops are closed.
Rail (plus walk) option: Central
Local buses: 308, W15

dg's verdict
In: Stratford station has been designed to cope with Olympic Park traffic, so Stratford Gate is a good choice. But if you know you're coming at a busy time, queues for security might cancel out any advantage you've gained from arriving so close to the Park. If you don't want to queue, but don't mind a mile's walk, West Ham and the Greenway Gate are a more reliable bet.
Out: Again, Stratford should cope admirably, except at times when the Stadium itself is chucking out. If queues to exit the park are bad then the Greenway Gate is your best swift escape, although it won't leave you close to a station. The trouble is you may not realise Stratford's queues are bad until you're stuck in one, in which case Stratford International DLR is your surefire escape route.

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
life viewed from london e3

email    twitter    G+

my flickr photostream

What's on this weekend?
Wed 19th - Sun 23rd October
Bloomsbury Festival
It's free to visit the Foundling Museum this weekend.

twenty blogs
ian visits
blue witch
city metric
the great wen
edith's streets
spitalfields life
in the aquarium
round the island
wanstead meteo
london museums
christopher fowler
ruth's coastal walk
london reconnections
dirty modern scoundrel

quick reference features
Things to do in Outer London
The DG Tour of Britain
Comment Value Hierarchy

read the archive
Oct16  Sep16
Aug16  Jul16  Jun16  May16
Apr16  Mar16  Feb16  Jan16
Dec15  Nov15  Oct15  Sep15
Aug15  Jul15  Jun15  May15
Apr15  Mar15  Feb15  Jan15
Dec14  Nov14  Oct14  Sep14
Aug14  Jul14  Jun14  May14
Apr14  Mar14  Feb14  Jan14
Dec13  Nov13  Oct13  Sep13
Aug13  Jul13  Jun13  May13
Apr13  Mar13  Feb13  Jan13
Dec12  Nov12  Oct12  Sep12
Aug12  Jul12  Jun12  May12
Apr12  Mar12  Feb12  Jan12
Dec11  Nov11  Oct11  Sep11
Aug11  Jul11  Jun11  May11
Apr11  Mar11  Feb11  Jan11
Dec10  Nov10  Oct10  Sep10
Aug10  Jul10  Jun10  May10
Apr10  Mar10  Feb10  Jan10
Dec09  Nov09  Oct09  Sep09
Aug09  Jul09  Jun09  May09
Apr09  Mar09  Feb09  Jan09
Dec08  Nov08  Oct08  Sep08
Aug08  Jul08  Jun08  May08
Apr08  Mar08  Feb08  Jan08
Dec07  Nov07  Oct07  Sep07
Aug07  Jul07  Jun07  May07
Apr07  Mar07  Feb07  Jan07
Dec06  Nov06  Oct06  Sep06
Aug06  Jul06  Jun06  May06
Apr06  Mar06  Feb06  Jan06
Dec05  Nov05  Oct05  Sep05
Aug05  Jul05  Jun05  May05
Apr05  Mar05  Feb05  Jan05
Dec04  Nov04  Oct04  Sep04
Aug04  Jul04  Jun04  May04
Apr04  Mar04  Feb04  Jan04
Dec03  Nov03  Oct03  Sep03
Aug03  Jul03  Jun03  May03
Apr03  Mar03  Feb03  Jan03
Dec02  Nov02  Oct02  Sep02
back to main page

diamond geezer 2015 index
diamond geezer 2014 index
diamond geezer 2013 index
diamond geezer 2012 index
diamond geezer 2011 index
diamond geezer 2010 index
diamond geezer 2009 index
diamond geezer 2008 index
diamond geezer 2007 index
diamond geezer 2006 index
diamond geezer 2005 index
diamond geezer 2004 index
diamond geezer 2003 index
diamond geezer 2002 index

my special London features
a-z of london museums
E3 - local history month
greenwich meridian (N)
greenwich meridian (S)
the real eastenders
london's lost rivers
olympic park 2007
great british roads
oranges & lemons
random boroughs
bow road station
high street 2012
river westbourne
trafalgar square
capital numbers
east london line
lea valley walk
olympics 2005
regent's canal
square routes
silver jubilee
unlost rivers
cube routes
capital ring
river fleet

ten of my favourite posts
the seven ages of blog
my new Z470xi mobile
five equations of blog
the dome of doom
chemical attraction
quality & risk
london 2102
single life
april fool

ten sets of lovely photos
my "most interesting" photos
london 2012 olympic zone
harris and the hebrides
betjeman's metro-land
marking the meridian
tracing the river fleet
london's lost rivers
inside the gherkin
seven sisters

just surfed in?
here's where to find...
diamond geezers
flash mob #1  #2  #3  #4
ben schott's miscellany
london underground
watch with mother
cigarette warnings
digital time delay
wheelie suitcases
war of the worlds
transit of venus
top of the pops
old buckenham
ladybird books
acorn antiques
digital watches
outer hebrides
olympics 2012
school dinners
pet shop boys
west wycombe
bletchley park
george orwell
big breakfast
clapton pond
san francisco
children's tv
east enders
trunk roads
little britain
credit cards
jury service
big brother
jubilee line
number 1s
titan arum
doctor who
blue peter
peter pan
feng shui
leap year
bbc three
vision on
ID cards