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ArcelorMittal Orbit, London

#83 of 3,589 in Things to do in London
Observation Deck · Hidden Gem · Landmark
The ArcelorMittal Orbit (often referred to as the Orbit Tower or its original name, Orbit) is a 114.5-metre-high sculpture and observation tower in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, London. It is Britain's largest piece of public art, and is intended to be a permanent lasting legacy of London's hosting of the 2012 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games, assisting in the post-Olympics regeneration of the Stratford area. Sited between the Olympic Stadium (now called London Stadium) and the Aquatics Centre, it allows visitors to view the whole Olympic Park from two observation platforms.

Orbit was designed by Turner-Prize winning artist Sir Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond of Arup Group, an engineering firm. Announced on 31 March 2010, it was expected to be completed by December 2011. The project came about after Mayor of London Boris Johnson and Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell decided in 2008 that the Olympic Park needed "something extra". Designers were asked for ideas for an "Olympic tower" at least 100 metres (330 ft) high: Orbit was the unanimous choice from proposals considered by a nine-person advisory panel. Kapoor and Balmond believed that Orbit represented a radical advance in the architectural field of combining sculpture and structural engineering, and that it combined both stability and instability in a work that visitors can engage with and experience via an incorporated spiral walkway. It has been both praised and criticised for its bold design, and has especially received criticism as a vanity project of questionable lasting use or merit as a public art project.

The project was expected to cost £19.1 million, with £16 million coming from Britain's then-richest man, the steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal, Chairman of the ArcelorMittal steel company, and the balance of £3.1 million coming from the London Development Agency. The name "ArcelorMittal Orbit" combines the name of Mittal's company, as chief sponsor, with Orbit, the original working title for Kapoor and Balmond's design.

The ArcelorMittal Orbit temporarily closed after the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games while the South Plaza (in which Orbit is positioned) underwent reconstruction for its long-term legacy use as a public outdoor space. It re-opened to the public on 5 April 2014. The structure incorporates the world's tallest and longest (178 metres) tunnel slide, designed by Carsten Höller. The idea was originally envisioned by the London Legacy Development Corporation as a way to attract more visitors to the tower. The slide includes transparent sections to give a "different perspective" of the twisting red tower and was completed in June 2016. This follows an option to abseil down the tower, introduced in 2014.
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ArcelorMittal Orbit reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
3,911 reviews
  • Its great I just feel for one go it wasn't long enough. I would of happily gone on it again I just feel two goes should be for the price of one.  more »
  • Booked online. Received an e ticket and told to arrive 15 mins before ticket time. On arrival we were told our e ticket wasn’t a ticket at all and would need to get into the ticket queue. This was...  more »
  • Booked this for the family to do on our trip to London. There was some initial nervousness about the height but we explained it was quick and everyone looked happy as they came off. Queuing was very social and we chatted to a lovely French family whilst we awaited our fate ......I mean turn. The team working there were very good and efficient. Great views from the viewing area. Would recommend and would have loved a second go. Had to shuffle out of the bottom of the slide but I all of the people that I saw didn’t fully slide out. I was reassured by the team member that I had time to get off.
  • Took my son here for a Sunday excursion. First we up to the top (2nd floor) to check out the views of London, we could see the shard, central London, the top of O2 building and other known landmarks. Then we made our way down to the first floor to take the slide down. My son had a camera attached which recorded his message as he went down the slide. It was a brilliant experience and would come again very soon. I purchased my tickets from get you guide. Staff were friendly and polite and it's something for the kids to do which isn't expensive.

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