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23 Sep AA Roadwatch RWC Guide to Olympic Stadium

Opened in 2011, it’s officially referred to as The Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. With a capacity of 54,000, the stadium is currently undergoing some redevelopment and is set to become the new home of West Ham in 2016. Before that though, the stadium will reopen temporarily for five matches for the Rugby World Cup.

The Stadium is one of several venues in Olympic Park, including The London Aquatics Centre, Westfield Shopping Centre (Westfield Stratford City), BT Sport Broadcasting Centre and many more.

Don’t forget, if you’re an AA Customer and you’re travelling to the Rugby World Cup we have a variety of AA Reward offers especially for the event itself; including ferry crossings, accommodation and food and drink. Click here to find out more.

Getting There

The Olympic Stadium is one of easiest stadiums to get to as it has various transport links to get you there. Public transport is definitely the best way to the stadium, including on the train, underground or bus.

The nearest train, tube and bus stops are at Stratford, Stratford International, Hackney Wick, Pudding Mill and Leyton stations.

By Train/ London Underground

If you’re getting the Tube, the nearest stations to the Olympic Stadium are Stratford station and Stratford International station. Stratford station is served by Docklands Light Railway (DLR) and the Jubilee and Central lines. Stratford International station is served by Docklands Light Railway (DLR) and Southeastern High Speed 1 services

Once you arrive at either station, it will be easy find the stadium, due to the flow of the crowd, signage and the sheer size of the stadium itself, but if you are stuck we have a handy map below highlighting the closest stations to the arena.

Train Stations Olympic

By Bus

There are a plethora of buses that run to Olympic Park so you can’t use the “I missed the bus excuse” if you’re late.

London_Bus

Credit: Oxyman/ Under CC license

The following routes are the handiest to use:

No. 388: Running between Blackfriars in central London and Stratford City Bus Station, the bus stops in the Olympic Park at the Copper Box and Westfield Avenue nearby the stadium.

No. 308: Running between Clapton and Wanstead, the 308 runs through Stratford City, near the station entrance and Celebration Ave in East Village.

No. 339: Running between Leytonstone and Shadwell, this bus stops near the station entrance at Stratford City as well as the London Aquatics Centre, on Carpenters Rd and also on White Post Lane, which is near the exit from the Park.

No. D8: Running between Crossharbour and Stratford International bus station, the bus stops along Carpenters Rd and Pool St (by the London Aquatics Centre).

There are also a number of other buses that you can catch to get you to Olympic Park. A map showing all local bus services can be found here.

Car Parking

There are a number of venues dotted around Olympic Park that offer parking, but spaces are limited. It is highly advised to use public transport to get there and you certainly won’t be short of options.

If you do want to bring your car, Westfield Stratford City offers over 5000 spaces (see here fore more). There is also parking available at London Aquatics Centre, Copper Box Arena, Lee Valley VeloPark, Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre and Timber Lodge Cafe. The T&Cs of using these car parks can be found here. Details on

Prices (as of July 2nd 2015)

  • 0-1 hours: Free
  • 1-2 hours: £1.50
  • 2-3 hours: £3
  • 3-5 hours: £5
  • 5-8 hours: £8
  • 8-24 hours: £15

Irish Fixtures and Other Big Games

Ireland v Italy, Sunday 4th October. Kick-off: 4:45pm.

Irish Rugby Fans

Credit: Isalella/ Under CC license

Other fixtures:

  • France v Romania (September 23rd)
  • New Zeland v Namibia (September 24th)
  • South Africa v USA (October 7th)
  • 3rd Place Playoff (October 30th)

Places for food & drinks nearby

Tanzibar

Located in Aspers Casino in Stratford’s Westfield Shopping Centre in the OIympic Park, Tanzibar is a fairly swanky venue which is open 24 hours  a day. You can watch the events unfold on their large screens and, if you so wish, check out the casino itself.

Searcy’s 

For something a little different, why not visit Searcy’s Champagne Bar, which is also located in the Westfield Shopping Centre. Saying that, there are a number of them dotted around London. Boasting a selection of champagnes, wines and cocktails, if you’ve don’t mind a bit of a splurge, it’s worth checking out.

All Star Lanes Bar

If you’re looking for some place for the family, why not head to the All Star, which is part bowling, part restaurant. A nice mix of hot and cold dishes are on offer and people also rave about the cocktails.

Guide to London

Getting Around

Other than getting around London on foot, which is very much doable, the second easiest option is to use public transport as the city has quite an expansive network in place, whether that be via the bus, tube, train, Overground or on the bike.

Presuming you’re staying for more than two or three days, it’s worth purchasing an Oyster card. Like the Leap card here in Ireland, it’s a touch on/ touch off card that you can use across the bus and tube network with different travel zones resulting in different fares.

London_Oyster_Card

Credit: Rachel Lovinger/ Under CC license

You can buy an Oyster Card at any Tube station for £5 and you then add money onto it. When you’re finishing up your trip to London, you can return your Oyster card at any Tube station and you will be refunded your £5 deposit as well as any cash you may have on your card.

If you don’t want to get an Oyster card you can also pay as you go and purchase tickets at a given station before boarding. You could also purchase a Day Travelcard which can be used for a whole day’s travel. More details can be found here.

There are discounts available for under 11s, 11-15 year olds and also 16-18 years. This is all explained on the official Transport for London website.

You can now also use Apple Pay to pay as you go on public transport around London. For more info, see here.

You can search how much it will set you back to travel between two points using the Transport for London site here.

The Tube

You can download Tube maps here as well as pick them up at any station. There are also some very good apps on Android and iPhone which are handy to have so you can always glance at your phone to check when your next stop is, or what route to take, instead of fussing about with a large map.

London_Tube

Trains run from 5:30am to approx. 1am. Keep in mind that the trains are very busy during rush hour so give yourself plenty of time if travelling from 7am to 10am and again between around 4pm and 7pm.

The Bus

With over 700 bus routes around London, there won’t be many areas you can’t get to on the bus. Services run between 5:30am and 12:30am. After this, there are over 100 routes which run overnight. They usually run at a minimum of every 30 minutes but some run every five minutes. If you have a Day Travelcard, it is still valid on these buses up until 4am.

The Train

Generally speaking, most visitors to London probably won’t end up using the services, you may still find using a mixture of the train and the tube results in a quicker journey time. Most services don’t actually run through London City Centre with the Thameslink being the exception, running from north to south. Most stations are on the periphery of the city centre but the Tube’s Circle Line connects with most of National Rail services around London. You will be able to use your Oyster card on National Rail services as long as it’s within travel zones 1-6. Keep in mind it is a little more expensive using the train than the tube or bus.

There are also Airport Express Rail services which run to Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton and Stansted.

DLR (Docklands Light Railway)

DLR is another rail network which operates in East London. Operating much like The Tube in terms of frequency, it also operates above ground.

The Overground

While many people may refer to the “normal” train as the Overground, there is actually a dedicated Overground service which runs in north London. It’s much like the Underground and features on the Tube maps as the Orange line.

By Bike

The London equivalent of the public bike schemes in Limerick, Cork, Galway and Dublin, the public cycling scheme is “Santander Cycles”, although most people refer to them as “Borris Bikes”. Like in Ireland, you rent the bikes from one bike station and return them to another.

Cycling

Credit: Tejvan Pettinger/ Under CC license

Like here, there are cycling lanes but they can be patchy and, again, like here, there is a little angst between cyclists and motorists. You can find all the info you need for cycling around London here.

Car Rental

If you’ve decided to drive around London for the World Cup but AA_Car_hireyou’re renting a car instead of bringing your own, don’t forget that you can rent a car with The AA. You can book it online here, and it is available at almost every airport, city or ferry port worldwide, and it searches various companies which offers car rental.

For that extra piece of mind, make sure you have breakdown cover. For more information on European Breakdown cover, see our website here. Also, if you do break down in the UK, you can call the AA on 0800-88-77-66.

6 Things to Do in London

From musicals to galleries, historic walks to beer tasting and all things royal family, you’ll never be short of things to do in London; all tastes are catered for.  We’ve picked a handful of highlights to give you a flavour of what’s on offer in good old London town.

Keep in mind that if it’s your first time in London, it’s worthwhile doing a bus tour to give you an overview of the city, its history and what it has to offer. It’s always helpful to do this and you can then go back to any particular sights that tickled your fancy.

1. The London Eye

Tube Stop: Waterloo

Quite an impressive feat of engineering, the London Eye offers some very impressive views across the city. A ride in one of the 32 pods lasts 30 minutes and isn’t a bad introduction to the city and what it has to offer on an architectural level. It’s cheaper to book in advance online. Tickets cost £20.70 for an adult and £14 for children. Children under 4 are free.

2. Tower of London

Tube Stop: Tower Hill

A look at the somewhat gruesome history of the United Kingdom is on offer at the Tower of London. While primarily used as a residence for royalty up until the 16th century, it then became more famous for being a prison and saw the death of two kings and three queens. These days, you can wander around the impressive structures with plenty of historic artefacts along the way, with the highlight being the Crown Jewels. There are very good one hour tours which you can take and they’re free so that’s always a bonus.

3. Camden Markets

Tube Stop: Camden Town

According to Lonely Planet, around 10 million people visit Camden Market each year and it’s easy to see why. With four main markets (Buck St Market, Lock Market, Canal Market and Stables Market), there’s sure to be some something that will catch your eye. From arts and clothing to bags, jewellery and shoes, the list is endless. A great place to people watch; you can also grab a bite to eat and a drink from one of the many food and drink outlets in the area and enjoy it by the canal. There are hipsters galore pottering around. You’ve been warned.

4. British Museum

Tube Stop: Holborn

Rated the top thing to do in London on Tripadvisor, the British Museum is one of the world’s top museums and is a must for look back at the world’s history. Collections from around the globe filled the vast space at the museum, which architecturally is also quite impressive. One of the favourites sections for many is the Egyptian mummies and the Rosetta Stone. Bear in mind that it is a very popular spot so gets quite busy at times and your day out there may involve some queuing. Other museums and galleries worth visiting include the National Gallery, National History Museum, the Tate Modern and also the Science Museum.

5. The West End

Tube Stop: Various

If you can, you should try and squeeze in a show on the West End. While tickets can be expensive, the productions are top notch. Some of the top shows include:

  • The Lion King – Fun for all ages and a very impressive production.
  • The Book of Mormon – Very risqué but hilariously funny. From the minds of South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone so you can guess the type of humour.
  • Mamma Mia – Obligatory nod. You will almost definitely see people dancing in the isles by the end of the show.
  • Wicked – It defies gravity… see what we did there?!
  • Billy Elliot – Worth a look even if not a fan of the film (who isn’t?).
6. Hamleys and Harrod's

Two very well-known stores, both are handy places to go if you’ve got kids in tow as they both have plenty to keep the little ones entertained. Harrod’s has quite an impressive toys department too. If getting the Tube, for Hamleys it’s Oxford Circus while for Harrod’s, it’s Knightsbridge.

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Sharron Lynskey
Sharron.Lynskey@theaa.com


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