Remember squealing with excitement playing in the garden as a child with the sprinkler system? Well The Waterworks fountains at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park are essentially a very large and well-executed version of that. The fountains opened in 2014, after the park’s redevelopment following the Olympics, and are open all day.
MUMMY’S GIN FUND SAYS:
These fountains are hard to beat on a hot summers day. The setting is fantastic, with the iconic Olympic stadium, Arcelor Mittal Orbit and London Aquatics Centre elevating the running in and out of water jets to ‘special day out’ status. You’ll need to take a swimming costume and towel, or a full change of clothes; there is no kidding yourself that you/your children won’t get really, really wet, but that’s the joy in it. The fountains come on in stages, snaking round, and growing in height until the final prolonged jet arrives. They periodically turn off completely, leaving children perplexed and curious, they look at each other unsure, peer down into the hole from whence the water came and are rewarded with a large powerful jet of water right in the kisser. It really does inspire some unbridled delight. The fountains are large enough to swallow a lot of people, but be warned it can get busy in the summer months, especially with older children. Bumps have been known to occur as children run in and out of the jets, not necessarily looking where they are going. Early in the morning may be the best time to go, as the crowds have yet to arrive and you will have the place pretty much to yourself.
Address: The South Plaza, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford, London, E20 2ST.
Playground: The fountains are situated next to a playground called The Pleasure Park (ahem), which has a helter skelter, swings, giant sandpit and an abundance of things to climb on, up and over.
Cafes: There are a couple of coffee/ice cream type places on either side of the fountains selling light refreshments. Think expensive baguettes, flat whites to take away and posh crisps. There is no seating attached specifically to these, although there are plenty of benches dotted around the park. For a more substantial (and potentially better value) scoff up, Westfield is pretty close, with a wide variety of restaurants and cafes.
Toilets: There are plenty of toilets, including those with disabled access and baby changing facilities located in The Podium, between the canal and the Arcelor Mittor Orbit.
Pram/Wheelchair/Mobility friendly: The park is completely pram/wheelchair friendly, although there are no facilities to leave your buggies locked up while you frolic in the fountains. You may need to leave somebody to guard them or keep them in full view.
Parking: There is parking at the Westfield Shopping Centre next to the Olympic Park.
Station: The nearby Stratford Station serves the Jubilee and Central Underground lines, Mainline rail services and the DLR. The bus links are also good. The walk from the station, through the shopping centre, takes about ten minutes.
Phone: Customer Services can be reached on 0800 0722 110.
Email: [email protected]
There are 195 individually controlled jets of water, which shoot up at differently timed intervals in a snake like shape. The fountains have a wall running around the outside on one side where families can park their buggies and behinds to watch. They are free to attend and easy to access from Westfield shopping centre.
Review by Kate Woodward.