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The distinctive 114.5 metre (376 feet) structure of the ArcelorMittal Orbit is located in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the striking sculpture and observation tower is considered to be Britain’s largest piece of public art.
The structure was created as a landmark to commemorate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and designed by sculptor Sir Anish Kapoor and designer Cecil Balmond. The majority of the sculpture is made out of 2000 tonnes of steel provided by the steel company ArcelorMittal, the steel was fashioned into 600 pre-fabricated star-like nodes which were then assembled on site.
According to Kapoor, one of the influences on his design was the Tower of Babel and one of the intentions of the sculpture was that visitors will engage with the piece by using the spiral walkway.
The ArcelorMittal Orbit was visited by 130,000 visitors during the Games but then was closed and reopened in 2014, with the launch of the of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Situated between the Olympic Stadium and the Aquatics Centre, the large red Orbit is one of iconic structures of the park and the sculpture’s box office, shop and café are situated near its base.
Walking through entrance brings you to the base of the structure and you can clearly see how it consists of two major parts, Firstly the main vertical tower which houses the elevators and stairs and supports the observation deck and secondly the lattice of red steel tubes that surrounds the tower.
In the observation tower, the Orbit has two indoor viewing platforms on two levels, with each level having the capacity for 150 people . The top viewing platform offers a view of up to 20 miles on a clear day and unparalleled views of the Park and especially the nearby Olympic Stadium and Aquatics Centre .
Many of London’s iconic buildings: The Shard, BT Tower, The Gherkin, Big Ben, Canary Wharf, the O2 Arena, the Walkie Talkie and the Cheesegrater are easily recognisable , however visitors can use the I-view interactives using gigapixel technology to give information on the views. You can also learn the story of the ArcelorMittal Orbit and Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. To provide a bit of fun, visitors can enjoy the distinctive Kapoor designed concave mirrors that will flip your perspective and turn the horizon on its head.
The second platform offers more of the same before the visitor is faced with the choice of going back down by the lift or to descend the 455 steps to the ground, being entertained by the sounds of London as you walk down the stairs.
A visit to the ArcelorMittal Orbit can be undertaken as part of a wider visit to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park which although is still being developed is full of iconic structures from the 2012 Olympics. It is possible to swim in the Aquatic centre and ride in the Velodrome. The ArcelorMittal Orbit offers the unique experience of travelling inside an unusual and striking piece of art and the viewing platforms give the visitor a different perspective of London. The attraction has plenty to keep visitors entertained and the walk down the stairway is quite an experience in itself.
Visiting London Guide Rating – Recommended
Tickets & Opening Times
Tickets to the ArcelorMittal Orbit are limited, it is advisable and cheaper to book in advance.
Opening hours: 10am – 4pm daily (last entry 3.30pm) until 31st March. 1st April – 30th September, 10am – 6pm daily (last entry 5.30pm)
All full price tickets booked at walk up or advanced rate are eligible to be upgraded to an annual pass at no extra charge.
Walk Up Rate
Adult (17+ years) £15
Child (3-16 years) £7
Family Ticket £40
Concession * £12 (student/60+/unwaged)
Adult (17+ years) £11.95
Child (3-16 years)£5.95
Family Ticket £32
Concession £9.95 (student/60+/unwaged)
If you would like to find out more about the ArcelorMittal Orbit or buy tickets, visit the Orbit website here
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