A Return to the Olympic Park10th June 2014 • Places to Visit • Stephanie Donaldson
Isn’t it wonderful when you go back somewhere and it is as good, or even better than you remember? Two years on after the big event I spent a couple of happy hours wandering round the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and was thrilled to see that the planting is looking quite wonderful, that it is all fantastically well maintained – and that it was packed with people having a wonderful time. Although it was really busy, it is such a large space that it is easy to find quiet corners away from the activities. I had feared that because the initial planting was planned to peak during the Olympics there wouldn’t be much to see in early June, but many areas were singing with colour, with promise of much more to come. Nigel Dunnet has wrought miracles with his pictorial meadows and sustainable planting and the thousands of trees supplied by Hilliers give the park a sense of maturity that defies its youth. There are new areas of planting too as the park continues its transformation from an Olympic venue. The wildlife has taken up residence too – I lost count of how many common blue butterflies I saw flitting around the wetland area. I have to admit that I was one of those who was initially a bit dubious about the vast sums of money that were spent, but it really has transformed a part of London into somewhere that is not just a fantastic resource for the local people, but also a place that is (as the Michelin Guide would put it) ‘worth a detour’.