Hackney Marshes Explore Hackney Marshes

Hackney Marshes is a large area of open grassland with the River Lea running through. It is well known for the huge quantity of football pitches, which sees plenty of local matches played there. However, Hackney Marshes is also a Green Flag facility, awarded to the best green spaces in the country.

Hackney Marshes offers walking trails and is home to a variety of wildlife which you can enjoy from the retreat of the bird hide. After a good walk, why not head up to the modern roof terrace bar with fine views across the marshes.

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Explore Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Stratford, London, UK May 3rd, 2018 The London Aquatics Centre in the foreground and Canary Wharf Financial Center at the horizon.

To get away from it all, you can observe different wildlife and habitats in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Preserving nature and educating the public about biodiversity are key features of the Biodiversity Trail within the Olympic Park.

You can also hire a Santander bike and explore the park. There are plenty scattered around the Olympic Park. Travelling by bike to check out the stadiums and other monuments is a perfect way to take it all in.

It won’t take you long after strolling through the park to come across the iconic interlaced rings. They’ve been left there since the 2012 Olympics, and now make for a pretty good photo backdrop.

A bunch of emerging and well-established artists from all around the world were commissioned to help decorate the park with monuments while it was being built for the Olympics.

If you’ve got young ones in tow, you mustn’t miss Tumbling Bay Adventure Playground. Even as an adult, you can’t help but feel impressed at all the possibilities of play here.

Velo Park Take your cycling game up a notch with the intro sessions at the Velo Park

You can give track racing a go at the Olympic-sized velodrome, with beginners more than welcome to learn something new with the ‘Taster’ sessions. Staff are at hand for training tips and supervision the whole time, meaning you’ll be in good hands.

As well as the high-speed indoor track racing, visitors can try pretty much every other bike-related discipline there is – including racing a road circuit, trying mountain bike trails and attempting different tricks and jumps on the BMX track.

Stour Space See what’s on at Stour Space

This canalside building always has something interesting on. Check online to see what’s in store for the week – you might find an international art festival is being hosted there over the weekend, or maybe you’ll have the chance to attend a yoga class or pay-what-you-feel dinner club.

Even if there’s nothing on in the exhibition space, it’s worth popping in and looking up at the higgledy-piggeldy art studios hidden away in the top floors of the building, or just for a coffee and a croissant along the canalside.

The Yard Theatre See a contemporary show at The Yard Theatre

On weekends it’s a buzzing club, but it’s also the venue chosen by various fringe artists to be the setting for theatre productions that are progressive, sometimes challenging, and always thought-provoking.

The space itself is a converted warehouse that seats around 130 people mostly made from recycled materials. It was put together by about 50 volunteers and continues to be a profit-sharing initiative.

A few shows that opened at The Yard went on to be interpreted into television series, and many were invited to perform at larger venues like the National Theatre.

London Aquatics Centre Pack your swimsuit and visit the London Aquatics Centre

Even if you don’t fancy a swim, it’s worth taking a moment to look at this impressive building designed by starchitect Zaha Hadid for the 2012 Olympics.

Though some of the best swimmers and divers in the country like to train here, it’s also open to the public, and the entry fee won’t actually break the bank.

The Olympic-sized spectator stands have since been replaced with large glass windows, allowing natural light to fill the space while you swim.

Westfield Go shopping for the day at the huge Westfield

A perfect shopping destination – especially if the weather isn’t so great (which is sadly not that uncommon in London). This newly-built shopping centre is an enormous yet chic complex that has every brand you can poke a stick at.

Despite its size, it’s not too overwhelming or annoying to get around, unlike London’s other retail precincts.

The centre is well-connected by transport (it even has an international rail station!) and there are plenty of dining options in the food courts – which are not just your household fast food names, but also some pretty decent restaurants too.

ArcelorMittal Orbit Go down the world’s longest tunnel slide

Though it’s one of the more striking monuments of Stratford, not many people know what this spiraling tower of red steel really is. The 114.5 metre high structure is a sculpture designed by award-winning international artist Anish Kapoor and engineer Cecil Balmond.

But as well as that, the ArcelorMittal Orbit is an observation deck and the home of the world’s longest and tallest tunnel slide. On your way down, you’ll occasionally catch glimpses of the world below through the window strips along the slide tunnel as you twist and turn for what really is quite a long time.

From the top, you can spot the Olympic Rings, a good view of the Gherkin and other parts of the iconic London skyline.

Hackney Wick Boulder Project Climb some walls at Hackney Wick Boulder Project

Similar to rock-climbing, bouldering is a climbing sport that even complete beginners will enjoy trying. Instead of ropes and harnesses, the low walls are surrounded by foam mats to ensure your safety, if you should fall.

You don’t need to book any lessons or have special supervision to try bouldering, all you’ve got to do is hire a pair of climbing shoes (or bring your own) and tackle the colour-coded courses after a short induction.

Taster sessions are also available, during which you will be given a more thorough run-down of it all during a one-hour lesson.

Theatre Royal Stratford East Check out the Theatre Royal Stratford East

Established in 1884, this venue may have shed some of its old-fashioned grandeur, but only to make way for the exciting, vibrant theatre works that are produced there today.

Two books have been written about the theatre as a testament to its rich history – it was popular since its opening days, even running constant shows during World War I.

The award-winning theatre has had many great artistic directors running the show over the years, ensuring every season has an exciting line-up for eager theatre-goers.

Roof East Catch a movie on a rooftop at Roof East

In the summer months, Roof East hosts a snazzy outdoor cinema with a pretty spectacular view over Stratford and surrounds.

It used to be an empty rooftop carpark, which is hard to imagine when you see the space filled with happy patrons clutching drinks underneath strings of glowing light bulbs and coloured bunting.

Funnily enough, the only cars left on the rooftop are decoratively overgrown with plants.

ZAPspace Bounce around at ZAPspace

This trampoline park is not to be missed if you loved attempting flips and double-bouncing your friends back in the day.

One hour will get you unlimited access to the three storeys of trampolines, where you can try everything from flipping into a foam pit to challenging your friends to a game of bouncy dodgeball.

Alongside special games and challenges to try, there’s a lot of space for freestyle jumping. You’ll be given special grip socks to wear while jumping, but you should also dress in sporty clothes that won’t fly around too much, and leave your jewellery at home.

They also offer trampoline-centric fitness classes – noting that 10 minutes on the trampoline burns the same amount of calories as a 30-minute jog.

London Stadium Book a London Stadium Tour

West Ham United football club stadium

The iconic London Stadium dominates the skyline of Stratford, and it turns out you can tour the insides without having to purchase tickets to the football games, athletics events or concerts that are hosted there.

The stadium was the main stage for the 2012 Olympics, where not only world records were broken, but where the opening and closing ceremonies were held. It’s now home to West Ham United, though it’s worth a visit even if you’re not a football fan.

You’ll learn some fascinating facts about the stadium and visit rarely-seen areas like the indoor running track, the players’ tunnel, managers boxes and the home changing room – don’t worry, you won’t walk in on a half-naked football team while you’re there!

All Star Lanes Westfield Stratford City Aim for a strike at a retro bowling spot

With 14 lanes to choose from, the All Star Lanes ten-pin bowling venue inside the Westfield shopping centre is one of London’s biggest.

It has distinctly West Coast America vibes combined with a fun 50’s-era flair. In fact, the lanes and pinspotters (the mechanical systems that line up the pins), were all flown in from the US for authenticity and quality purposes.

Pop art decorates the walls and fun tunes will help get you pumped before you throw that bowling ball into the perfect hook shot.

Hackney Wick station Admire the brutalist detailing at Hackney Wick station

The Tate Modern might be London’s darling of brutalist architecture, but Hackney Wick station is also something to take note of if you’re into that kind of thing. Part of the overground’s North London Line, this station is as much an architectural artefact as it is a train stop.

It’s made up of huge slabs of raw concrete and corten steel that form the angular geometric shapes of the space. Speaking of shapes, Hackney Wick’s past is given a nod in the form of hexagons – the planter boxes out the front of the station and engraved into the walls on the inside.

This a reference to celluloid, the world’s first plastic which was produced in the area. That probably explains why the windows are made of plastic too.

Lee and Stort Boat Tours Take a boat tour through the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Another way to explore the great outdoors of Stratford is via the waterways. You’ll pass through residential canals, the River Lea and along some of Stratford’s less-frequented perimeter areas for some different views of the East London district.

The Lee and Stort boat tours run daily in the warmer months, though it is possible to book a private tour year-round provided you have a large enough group.

There’s a nice little bar on board too, so you can have a drink while taking in a bunch of new facts about the area and its iconic features as you drift by them.

Stratford Centre Head to the Stratford Centre for Your Retail Therapy

The Stratford Centre is an ideal choice for a little retail therapy, hosting a wide range of popular brands. From clothing to home-ware, food to health and beauty, this modern shopping centre has everything you need. Coffee shops and a variety of eateries provide a chance for refreshments as you shop.

The beauty of the Stratford Centre is the quick access it gives to the Olympic Park. When you are done shopping why not head to the top of the ArcelorMittal Orbit, standing 114.5 meters tall with stunning views across the capital, before descending the hair-raising slide.

Discover Children’s Story Centre Let Your Children's’ Imaginations Roam at Discover Children’s Story Centre

The Children’s Story Centre in Stratford is a wonderful place where your little ones can play and let their imaginations run free. Storytelling sessions, exhibitions and immersive play spaces cater for children between 0 and 11 years of age. Watching all the fun will make you want to be a child again!

With two main immersive story play areas set over two floors, plus a cafe too, watch your children have the time of their lives and expand their imaginations as they explore caves, enjoy slides and search for hidden ships and sculptures.