The ArcelorMittal Orbit, built for the 2012 London Olympics, has the distinction of being the UK’s tallest sculpture. At 375 feet (114.5 meters) high, it is also possibly the world’s tallest—and longest—tube slide. The observation decks offer visitors stunning views with visibility of up to 20 miles (32 kilometers) on a clear day.
Built in collaboration with artists Anish Kapoor and Carsten Höller, designer Cecil Balmond, and ArcelorMittal Steel, the Orbit is composed of 2,000 tonnes of tangled red steel twisting up into the sky. Two elevators transport passengers 260 feet (80 meters) up to the indoor observation decks. Those brave enough can then descend the 583-foot-long (178-meter) slide with 12 twists through a transparent tube, culminating in a corkscrew of turns and a final drop into darkness. Alternatively, take the elevators back to the ground level or descend 455 steps accompanied by a soundscape installation.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The ArcelorMittal Orbit is a must for thrill-seekers and those who appreciate elevated views.
- Entrance to the Orbit is reduced for children; check the website for all concession prices.
- There are a number of cafés and restaurants within walking distance from the Orbit.
- The Orbit Tower is accessible and offer wheelchairs to borrow on a first-come first-served basis.
How to Get There
The ArcelorMittal Orbit is located in East London, in Stratford’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Take the tube from central London—it’s about a 10-minute walk from Stratford Station, on the Central and Jubilee lines—or one of various bus lines.
When to Get There
The Orbit Tower is open daily year-round, with varying hours depending on the season. The attraction hosts seasonal events such as evening fireworks viewing throughout the year. Check the website for a schedule and opening hours.
If the world’s longest tunnel slide wasn’t daring enough, the Orbit also offers abseiling (aka rappelling) from 262 feet (79 meters) in the air, making it the UK’s highest free fall. Professional instructors take participants through a thorough safety training and provide all safety gear. Then the adventure begins with a steep descent surrounded by views of London’s famous skyline and landmarks.