With the Olympic Park closed until the start of the Olympics (and even then it’ll only be open to event ticketholders or those who have paid an entrance fee to the Park), there’s really not that much to see of the park at the moment. There’s a spot on the new road from Bow to Stratford where there’s a good view of the Olympic stadium, Aquatic Centre and the Orbit, and that’s about it. Now, that’s not to say that a walk company can’t provide an Olympic walk with the view as the grand finale. But you need to know the area well to show punters other things of interest en-route. Unfortunately most walk companies appear not to have that knowledge. Most start at Bromley By Bow underground station, from where they take their clients for a stroll along the awful fumed-choked Blackwall Tunnel approach road, then under a nasty underpass and through a Tescos car park! This is in order to get to the admittedly charming and interesting Three Mills. But after that you walk along an unkempt river with nothing but old workshops and small factories to see. Then it’s more traffic fumes as you negotiate the Bow Road, then a long boring walk along the featureless new road to the stadium. And that’s it! £9 to see Three Mills and one good view of the Olympic Park.
One company avoid the Blackwall tunnel approach et al by starting at West Ham station, and walking to the Olympic Park along the Greenway, a new walkway. The only trouble is that on this route you don’t even see Three Mills. Or anything else except an unusual Victorian pumping station which used to be called the “Cathedral of Sewage!”
The guides do, of course, tell you loads of stuff about the Olympics. In fact you spend most of your time listening and very little time walking. But the point is, it’s not supposed to be a lecture, it’s supposed to be a walk. A walk with things of interest en-route.
In fact there are lots of things to show people within walking distance of the Olympic Park, but you need a guide who knows the area to show them to you.