Would You Ride the “World’s Longest and Tallest” Slide?

Construction work is underway to turn a monumental work of art into London’s most exhilarating tourist attraction.


Photo by Aleem Yousaf. Available for use under the Creative Commons License

The ArcelorMittal Orbit was first designed as part of the London 2012 estate. But since it reopened as a tourist attraction in April 2014, the number of visitors has been less than overwhelming, leading to losses estimated at £10,000 a week. In view of this, the London Legacy Development Corporation took the decision to make the structure more attractive by turning it into a monumental helter-skelter.

Although construction was meant to begin on Thursday 7th April, plans were put on hold due to bad weather. Work began the following day, with the first pieces of the slide being put in place by a team of specialist abseilers.

Once the slide is complete, visitors will have to pay a £5 premium to travel down, having first paid £12 (adults) or £7 (children under 16) in order to climb up the structure.

Designed by Belgian artist Carsten Höller, the slide will spiral around the current Orbit frame, with the length of the addition totaling 178 meters, allowing users to experience speeds of up to 15 mph during their descent.

A spokesperson for the LLDC, which is tasked with managing and developing the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, said: “This is a unique collaboration between two of the world’s leading artists and a major new art installation for London.”

Full costs are not yet known, but are estimated to amount to £3.5 million.

Completion is due in early summer 2016, with tickets going on pre-sale shortly.

Drew Goodsell