Focus of the 2012 Olympics, London’s Olympic Park is situated in a most unlikely East End backwater, on a series of islands formed by the River Lea and various tributaries and canals. The centrepiece of the park is the Olympic Stadium, surrounded on three sides by rivers, and earmarked to become home to West Ham United football club. Standing close to the stadium, with a bird’s-eye view of the whole site from its public observation deck, is the Orbit tower, a 377ft-high continuous loop of red recycled steel designed by Anish Kapoor, and dubbed the Helter Skelter. The most eye-catching venue, however, is Zaha Hadid’s wave-like Aquatics Centre, to the east, which may have cost four times its original, but at least it looks good. The other truly sexy building is the curvy Velodrome, with its banked, Siberian pine track and adjacent BMX circuit. The nearest tube is Stratford; you can also approach from Hackney Wick Overground or Pudding Mill Lane DLR station.

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