Showing posts with label Westfield Shopping Centre. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Westfield Shopping Centre. Show all posts

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Moving West to East in London

There can be no doubt about it: the 'centre of gravity' in London is moving from the western, typically more upmarket side of London, to the eastern, traditionally more working side.

Sure the west is still prospering, and generally speaking property prices and rentals are much higher in most parts of west London than in the east.  However gradually people are beginning to like particularly parts of east London more, and in the future many people will actually prefer to live there.

This ongoing change has come about for a number of reasons.  The development of the business location of Canary Wharf, a few miles to the east of the City of London, has encouraged people to live closer to where they are spending most of the day.  This has been helped by the building of dozens of high-rise luxury apartment buildings.  These are particularly popular if they have river, or even canal, views as everyone likes to look over water from their living rooms.

The Olympics being staged at Stratford helped a lot too as this event brought about the regeneration of one or two square miles of previously run-down land.  At the same time, the massive new Westfield Shopping Centre was built: with almost 300 stores and 70 bars and restaurants: this has meant that people living in the general area no longer need to head into the West End for their shopping.

And this remaking and improving of the East End is ongoing.  The next focus will be on the Royal Docks where large-scale business parks are going ahead, along with luxury apartment developments.  With the famous Earls Court exhibition centre due to be demolished within the next year, the ExCel Centre which overlooks the Royal Docks will monopolise the staging of exhibitions in London.

Plenty more can be written about future developments in East London, so look out for future posts on specific topics.


Saturday, 19 July 2014

Walking in the Olympic Park in Stratford, London

For any local London person, and visitors to London if they have the time, I would definitely recommend checking out the Olympic Park.

This was developed specially for the 2012 Olympics held in London.  Previously the area was mainly used for run-down, low quality, industry.  Part of the area was covered with railway sidings, used for the parking of suburban trains overnight.  Very few people would have even passed through there, unless delivering old car and truck tires for storage, or such like.

In the years leading up to the Olympics the area was completely transformed.  Low lying parts which were boggy and subject to flooding were raised up by massive piles of earth which had been excavated to build the Eurostar train line which was tunnelled directly underneath.

The Lee River and canals were thoroughly cleaned up, and extensive planting of lawns, shrubs and trees took place.  The park was one of the greatest attractions of the Olympics, with many visitors for events at the Stadium, Aquatic Centre, Copper Box, Velodrome, and so on.

A few months ago the park was reopened to the public, and I often wander around different parts.  There are lots of attractive plants, and an amazing variety of types.  There is even a wetlands area for plants which need ponds and damp soil to grow in.  There are extensive gravel paths running the length of the park, so it is easy enough to walk the length of the park, although you are perfectly welcome to wander around the grassy areas as well.

Perhaps the most distinctive feature of the Olympic Park is the Orbit.  This towering curling structure, painted a rich red, overlooks all of the park, and there are good views towards the business hub City of London, as well as Canary Wharf.  And on the eastern side of the park there is the massive Westfield Shopping Centre, currently the largest urban shopping centre in Europe.

For visitors to London it is very easy to get to Stratford.  Probably most will use the Central or Jubilee underground train lines.  However there are also platforms at Stratford station for Dockland Light Railway and Overground trains.

There are sure to be further posting about the Olympic Park in the future, examining in greater detail particular features of this wonderful park.

This video will help to give you a better visual impression -