Friday 20 March 2015

London Aquatics Centre

London Aquatics Centre, situated in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, was built in 2012 for the Olympics and Paralympics. During this time it was used for diving, swimming and synchronised swimming. It was reopened for public use on 1 March 2014.

The centre was designed by Dame Zaha Hadid giving swirls to the structure reminiscent of the building’s sporting legacy in water sports. The structure itself holds 628 panels of glass to bring in natural light from the outside into the centre. The building is 45 metre high and the roof 160 metre long and up 80 metres wide.

London Aquatics Centre now brings different activities for adults and families with different levels of competency sorted to the users’ abilities:
  • The Competition Pool has as 10 lanes at 50 metres long and 3 metres deep, which are used for competent swimmers who should be able to swim 100 metres in a recognised stroke.
  • The Training Pool has 8 lanes at 50 metres long which is a safe environment for swimmers of all levels.
  • The Diving Pool has platforms of 1 metre, 3 metre, 5 metre, 7.5 metre and 10 metre.
Diving facilities include trampoline, springboards, foam pits and harness with courses for sign up. The centre also provides swimming lessons for all skill levels and families. The centre has 2,800 seats with an optional addition of seats that can bring it up to 3,500 to spectate the main Competition and Diving Pool. The centre has a 50-station gym with equipment provided by Technogym. There is a café in the facilities near the main entrance with additional ones in the seating areas around the pools.


Tuesday 17 March 2015

St Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival 2015

London’s St Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival 2015 took place in Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus on Sunday 17 March, two days before the grand day on Tuesday 17 March.

Despite the dreary London weather, the Irish festival took place on full blast with Irish food and drinks, music and dance in Trafalgar Square. The Main Stage showcased troupes, a tribute to W.B Yeats, sport, music and dance. In the surrounding area, there was a food market containing different Irish food and drinks as well as a bar which opened at 15:00. There were marquees set up for different organisations as well as a children’s marquee with arts and crafts activities for families to enjoy together.

The parade started off at Green Park at 12:00 making its way through to Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square and White Hall, featuring the vibrancy of the Irish community with music, Irish dancing, art and culture.

Wednesday 11 March 2015

View Tube and Greenway

View Tube is located in the Greenway of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in the southern regions. What View Tube has to offer are a raised balcony, plant beds for growing food, café exhibitions and a café. The concept of is to bring green living into our day-to-day life. It is open every day between 09:00 to 17:00.

The balcony offers views of the Stadium, the ArcelorMittal Orbit and the London Aquatics Stadium. There are bike hires for individuals, families of four and groups of ten. View Tube runs every Friday morning maintenance of their plant beds which grow fruits, vegetables and herbs, which can be found outside on the grounds of View Tube and dotted along the Greenway. There are exhibitions on show at all times of the year showcasing works of different artists. The café run by Moka Café offers fresh, homemade food to settle down.

The Greenway itself runs through a 7km sewage system which is maintained by Thames Water. Greenway is a footpath that is used with many runners and cyclists due to its scenic and long route.

#ViewTube #Greenway

Friday 6 March 2015

St James's Park

St James’s Park is one of the oldest of the 8 Royal Parks in London with millions of visitors each year. The park is open every day between the hours of 05:00 to 00:00.
The park has three surrounding palaces all being the Buckingham Palace, Westminster (known now as the Houses of Parliament) and St James’s Palace. In the 13th Century, a leper hospital was founded to which is where the park’s name had come from. In 1532, Henry VIII had acquired the park to change it into a deer park near St James’s Palace for hunting.

The next monarch to take over was Elizabeth I who held many forms of artistry that was to her like such as pageantry and fetes. A road was constructed in front of St James’s Palace, which is now known to be called as the Mall.

King James became king in 1603 and he begun to make changes from the deer park. He improved the drainage and control of water supply. He held a collection of animals which included camels and crocodiles. On Birdcage Walk, James I had all sorts of exotic birds in this area.
Charles II redesigned and changed the layout of the park with lines of trees being planted and lawns laid down, having been exiled from and France and returned after the English Civil War. During the Hanoverian period in the 18th century, a canal was filled in to create the ground for Horse Guards Parade.

John Nash took over and completed his plans for the park in 1827 and coming into fruition a year later when the park was transformed from his designs. Nash gave the park a Romantic style with naturalness coming more into play. The canal became a natural-looking lake and shrubs replaced most of the flowers.
The pelicans have become a permanent fixture of a bird (asides from - ahem - pigeons) to the park since 1664, when a Russian ambassador gave a pair of pelicans to Charles II. You’ll also find online videos of pelicans munching down on - ahem - pigeons. To this day, pelicans are still offered by foreign ambassadors. There are over 16 species of birds and plants which include the Reedbed.
In 1837, the Ornithological Society of London set up a cottage for the birdkeeper, which is now still there now near Duck Island. They also had a club room for the society who helped look after the ducks and geese. Another landmark nearby is the Tiffany Fountain which you can catch it spurting up to 20 feet of water. The other fountain is called the Swire Fountain which pumps up water of 4.5 metres and supports the lake by cleaning the water.

The Blue Bridge, originally designed by John Nash, resides almost centrally in the Park, offering views of the London Eye and Horse Guards Parade.

There are two memorials in the park: Guard’s Memorial and South African Royal Artillery Memorial. The Guard’s Memorial, designed by H. Charlton, features 5 bronze figures of the Foot Guards Regiments: Grenadiers, Coldstreams, Scots, Welsh and Irish. It was to commerate the Guardsmen who died in World War I. The South African Royal Artillery Memorial, designed by Sir Aston Webb, was built in memory of people killed in the Boer War (1899 - 1902) in South Africa. The memorial had a winged figure representing Peace riding atop a horse stood on a pedestal of Portland stone. The names of the dead are inscribed on the bronze plate. The inscription of the memorial reads:

"Erected by the officers and men of the Royal Artillery in memory of their honoured dead. South Africa. 1899-1902."

The Boy Statue, designed by Charles Henry Mabey, is a Grade II sculpture featuring a marble figure of a boy sitting on a plinth. It seemed to be in working order as water was coming out of the fishes around him and drained away into the seashell-shaped basins.

Walking around the park, you’ll see plaques on the ground for the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walk, which follows a 9 mile trail around the Royal parks, seeing sites associated with the Princess.