Yesterday I did not manage to blog, because I was away all day in London. I go mad for any Athletics Championship, so you can imagine the excitement experienced when I found out the Worlds would be held in London. I scrambled to the IAAF website and searched for available tickets, as I knew that they would go fast.
I wanted to watch a variety of events, and I wanted to go during the morning/afternoon session so that I would not have to stay over, so I picked the Saturday morning session. This session contained the semi-finals of the 4X100 & 4X400 relays for men and women, and there was also discus and pole vault going on. The price of the ticket was reasonable, I paid £20 for a standard ticket, although I knew that some ‘VIP‘ tickets were selling for £900+. When I bought the tickets, I was worried that we would not have a good view of any of the events, but when I arrived I was impressed that even the seats that were right at the back still had a really good view of the track.
The view of the track from the back of the stadium.
On the day of our session, I took a Virgin train from Lichfield Trent Valley to London Euston – as it is a reliable service that I use frequently. As I qualified as a child, and I booked months in advance, the fare was £13 for a 1st Class ticket, so I booked this as it was only a little more expensive than a Standard ticket. On the train, we were served coffee, orange juice and a panettone for breakfast, which was really nice. The train was really quick – taking an hour and 20 minutes to cover 125 miles.
Usain Bolt warming up before his 4X100m relay semi-final.
When we arrived in London, we took the tube to Stratford Station, and joined the crowds of fans heading towards the Olympic park. We walked past the Aquatics Centre, and the ArcelorMittal Orbit sculpture, before arriving at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Stadium, where the World Championships was taking place. We found our seats as the first event was beginning, and I was amazed by how loud the crowd was. They were particularly fond of British athletes and Usain Bolt, but everyone got a cheer. Our seats were great because we were near to the final bend of the track and there was lots of pole vault going on where we were sitting.
The London Aquatics Centre, designed by Zaha Hadid.
When all the events were over, we headed to the Westfield Shopping Centre in Stratford, to do some shopping. We found a nice salad bar called Tossed, where I had an Italian Salad. When we had finished shopping, we took the TfL rail back into Central London, to explore the streets that branch off Oxford Street. A particular favourite of mine is Marylebone High Street, which is full of beautiful boutiques, flower shops, juice shops, and vegetarian cafés. My favourite shop on the high street was the Conran shop, which had lots of beautiful handpicked gifts, furniture etc.
The Conran Shop, Marylebone High Street.
When we had finished, we headed back to Euston and sat in the First Class Lounge which was full of designer armchairs and complimentary drinks and snacks. We waited around for a while, and then got on our train back to Lichfield. On board, I chose a Cheese Ploughman’s Wrap off the menu, which came with pretzels, cookies and drinks. We steamed through the home counties, heading further and further north through the beautiful countryside. It was the perfect end to the perfect day.
The day-trip was a lot more budget-friendly than I thought it would be. Train tickets cost £13 each way, the Athletics ticket cost £20, and lunch cost £5, so in total it would cost around £50pp for the trip, which would include breakfast and dinner.