When we found out Carsten Holler was designing a slide around the UK's tallest sculpture, the ArcelorMittal Orbit in London’s Queen Elizabeth Park, lots of WHOOP WHOOPS around the house. You see, we loved the slides at the Carsten Holler exhibit “Decision” at the Southbank last year (http://www.luxurytraveladvisor.com/england/london-3-instagramable-art-exhibits-not-miss), and this promised to be BIGGER, LONGER, CURVIER and FASTER!
The Orbit, designed by famed architect Anish Kapoor, was originally built for the London 2012 Olympic Games, has now been turned into one of the longest and tallest tunnel slides in the world. Rising 178 meters (566 feet), the slide takes around 40 seconds to reach the bottom, reaching speeds of up to 15 mph as the slide loops its way around the sculpture 12 times. It's made up of 30 separate sections including a tight corkscrew section known as the "bettfeder" (German for bedspring, FYI.)
The slide opened on June 24; last day of school was this past Thursday, naturally we booked Friday morning. The anticipation is great; the elevator up takes 40 seconds incidentally, you arrive and they kit you up with arm pads and a soft helmet. Nervous yet? YUP. My 10-year old son went first; you could hear his screams all the way. Note: this may also be the world’s longest echo chamber! Then my 12-year old daughter, finally my turn—it’s fast in places, parts have a clear top to watch the skyline whiz by, followed by dark twists and stomach-lurching drops. SERIOUS FUN. We rushed back up for a second go, which we enjoyed even more.
Book in advance (http://arcelormittalorbit.com/whats-on/the-slide) Tickets cost £15 for adults, £10 for children. A second go (also booked in advance) is £5 each. Tips: Riders need to be 1.3 meters (4 ft 3 inches), suggested to wear long sleeves, no photography allowed in the slide, book a second go, you’ll want it!
Queen Elizabeth Park is delightful, with a fantastic adventure playground, and for the sport minded, bike rentals, swimming in the aquatic center, pedal boats and canal boat rides (http://queenelizabetholympicpark.co.uk/). For a great day out: bring a picnic, or loads of dining options and 100s of shops to explore at the nearby Westfield Stratford City https://uk.westfield.com/stratfordcity.