The development of main Olympic Park at Stratford and the athletes’ village in connection with the Olympics events that took place in 2012 was a part of the government’s plans to develop East London. The Olympic Stadium with a capacity of 80,000 spectators was built in Stratford. During the Olympics, temporary venues around the city, including Hyde Park and Horse Guards Parade near Buckingham Palace were used. The various points of interest and the cultural scene around the Olympic Park can be viewed by taking a canal-side walk at Islington, the point where the grand Union Canal emerges from a tunnel. The places worth visiting are:
Angel Islington is a well-known historical district in central London and is famous for its shops, theatres, pubs and music halls. It is the ideal place to start taking a canal-side walk east. At No. 25 of Noel Road which is a beautiful 18th century terrace, Kenneth Halliwell murdered sixties playwright Joe Orton with a hammer. The fantastic Victorian pub, the Island Queen, is at No. 87 and it offers delicious food and drinks.
The City Road Basin is witnessing booming property prices. It forms a waterfront of luxury flats and office buildings having great architectural features and offering a pleasing view. The mooring facilities for the narrow boats that use the Regent’s Canal create a buzz. This part of the canal is home to many urban professionals who stay in barges here.
The other cultural centre in the walking stretch of the canal is the Gainsborough Studios where Alfred Hitchcock made his early films such as “The Lady Vanishes”. In the publically accessible courtyard, you can see the corten steel sculpture of his head.
In the historically significant neighbourhood of the De Beauvoir Town Council Estate, you can see some great Georgian and Victorian buildings. You can also appreciate how London progressed after the war with some excellent planning even though it suffered from bomb damage and economic hardship.
The Broadway Market, which was once a regular East London street with an occasional food market, has now turned into a favourite haunt of urban youth with its cool bars and shops. On Saturdays it is abuzz with the market and young urban hipsters having a gala time. The Victoria Park was formed during the 19th century Victorian Parks movement and it offers exquisite public green space consisting of a large expanse of fresh green lawns and trees. It is an excellent place for relaxation, picnicking or for cloud-gazing.
Offering an interesting view of the Olympic Park, the Greenway is a level, uninterrupted and traffic-free route that carves through East London at a high level. Constructed on top of a sewer embankment, it is a bonded-gravel track with pleasant surroundings.
The View Tube is a community project that was built by using recycled shipping containers. Its yellow glow is visible from the end of the Greenway. The project offers a café, education, arts and information spaces along with a panoramic view of the Olympic Park and the fast changing Stratford area of London.