On your marks get set go… sneak a peek at the London Olympic Park

Sneak a preview of London's amazing Olympic Park and shop ‘til you drop at Europe’s biggest and best shopping centre: Westfield.

Start:  Hackney Wick Overground
End:   Stratford Overground and mainline

Come out of Hackney Wick station and turn left. Take the first turning on the left, White Post Lane, opposite Mr Bagel’s warehouse and follow the street as it bends to the right and then left.  You are walking through what remains of down-at-heel Hackney, pre-Olympic rebuild.
When you reach the canal, cross over the bridge and turn right onto the towpath. You are now along the River Lee Navigation, past tugs, narrow boats and old warehouses. The Hertford Union Canal peels off to the right. On your left you can soon see the first glimpses of the construction work at the Olympic Park.

On the opposite bank is the famous east end smokehouse and restaurant, Formans Smokehouse. It was one of the last buildings on the Olympic site and had to be winkled out  at great expense and relocated here on the canal.
Keep going past Old Ford Lock and turn left over the bridge, crossing the River Lee. Turn right along the towpath, towards Bow.

After a low bridge over the water, take the path up on the left. This is the Greenway Path. It covers a gigantic sewage pipe called the Northern
Outfall Sewer built by the great Victorian engineer Joseph Bazalgette back in the day.  It runs for miles from the centre of London, taking the sewage away from the city through the east end and out in to the estuary.

You are soon on a wide straight path overlooking the entire Olympic Park with stunning views of the main stadium, the aquatics centre and the entire park.  Anish Kapoor’s  giant red tower, the ArcelorMittal Orbit, nicknamed the ‘helter skelter’ looms above it all. It is taller than Nelson’s column and you will be able to take a lift to an observation deck at the top for a fabulous view.

At the end of the path is the View Tube, housed in several apple green painted ship containers, with a nice café serving delicious pies and chocolate brownies which sell out fast.

 Take the path down to the right just before the View Tube and wiggle your way through the construction works towards Pudding Mill Lane DLR station. Look out for a beautifully engraved round building which houses pumps and engineering stuff to service the Olympic Park.

Walk straight on down Pudding Mill Lane, passing the station, until you reach Bow Back River.  Cross it and take the tow path down on the left.  Walk along the river, passing a blue painted lock keeper’s cottage. Take the stairs up and turn right, then immediately left onto the very busy and noisy A118. 

Walk straight on towards Stratford and turn left at Warton Road, following the signs to the Westfield Centre and Stratford Station. You have now walked round to the other side of the Olympic Park and can see everything from a completely different angle.  There are better views of some of the other stadia, including the velodrome, nicknamed ‘the pringle’. 

Keep going for about ten minutes before you reach the joys of the Westfield shopping centre on your left.  The station entrance is inside the shopping centre.  

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