Wembley Park: A city staycation with a vibrant culture and lush greenery
Aside from its firm position in the psyche of an England fan this year, Wembley Park is home to a wide range of hotels, eateries and shops ready to pique the interest of even the most discerning traveller. Upon arrival at Olympic Way, the tourist will be immediately stunned by the view of the stadium – undoubtedly the star of this show. Imposing as much as it is awe-inspiring, the venue is crowned by a staggering arch which appears to touch the clouds. As one walks closer to the destination, down the steps of the station and through the tunnel, it cannot help but feel like an Alice in Wonderland experience – albeit minus the shrinking potion. Entering Wembley Park is like standing at the entrance to a maze, wondering what the ultimate outcome will be, but relishing the journey nonetheless.
While the rest of Wembley alludes to the fast pace of London life, mere steps away is a utopia of sorts, with wide open spaces and lush greenery – but combined with sky high buildings and black cabs snaking through the city roads nestled in between. It is clear Wembley Park is attempting to capture the interest of both the City dweller, and those who are looking for a reprieve from fast-paced life.
Walking across to Engineers Way, there are also a bustling collection of restaurants for all tastes. Pasta Remoli offers a chance to sample authentic Italian cuisine, while coffee aficionados shouldn’t miss out on Blacksheep Coffee.
BOXPARK is perhaps one of the most major attractions, and with the area complete with stylish apartment blocks enshrouding the walk towards the stadium, it is almost easy to picture oneself living here, and totally immersed in all the area has to offer.
Nestled in between Wembley Stadium and the comparatively smaller Wembley Arena, after a busy day of enjoying what the Park provides, the weary traveller can lay their head at the impressive four star Hilton London Wembley.
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But while some may expect a hotel chain to have a disinterested and disconnected feel, this could not be further from the truth.
Ascending to a stunning nine floors, the hotel acknowledges the footballing past, present and future so integral to the area while maintaining an air of exclusivity. Tourists can benefit from a 24-hour fitness centre, indoor pool, sauna, steam room and on-site restaurants within.
Guests are able to kick back in a wide variety of rooms, but a particular recommendation is a King Executive suite, complete with a bedroom and a separate area including a sofa, additional TV and desk – to relax after a long day, or to get stuck into work if needed. And views from the hotel rooms on the far side offer stunning scenes over Wembley Park, and a chance to survey what activity to take part in next.
A benefit of staying in this hotel is the ability to get a drink and a bite to eat almost instantly at the establishment’s Sky9Bar, which is complete with its own rooftop terrace. Inside, it is filled with an atmospheric buzz as patrons tune in unwaveringly to the nail-biting England match as Southgate’s men put goals past their opponents.
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While the outdoor terrace offers a beautiful chance to take in the sunset, with a rooftop view not to be denied, the venue would benefit from an outside atmosphere which could perhaps be present on a busier evening.
But for those who are looking to widen their options, there are many close at hand – most notably at the London Designer Outlet right next door. The venue includes over 70 shops and restaurants, with premium brands offering 70 percent off retail price.
The venue is the shopaholic’s playground, and it is difficult to know where to get stuck in first. Providing a chance to shop, play and dine there are various endeavours to choose from.
Whether it’s getting your hands on that perfect fitting pair of Levi Jeans, grabbing shades from the Sunglass Hut for the upcoming promised heatwave, or a new outfit from one of the many fashion options to hit the town in after lockdown, the London Designer Outlet really does seem to have it all.
However, if it is a deal on shoes you’re looking for, getting there quickly is likely to be your best bet, with queues for Nike and Adidas snaking around the side of the building. Regardless of where you choose to shop though, it is almost inevitable you will leave laden with bags and satisfied with your purchases.
One particular treat nestled within the outlet is the pop-up truck from Anspatch and Hobday, one of London’s most prominent craft breweries, offering the chance for shoppers to take the weight off their feet while enjoying ice cold beverages and a DJ set with popular music.
But for foodies, one of the best places to be lies on the top floor of the outlet at Wagamama’s, offering the chance for people to sample a wide range of sumptuous Asian cuisine.
Some may be enamoured by the delicious main courses – and a Katsu Curry always goes down a treat – but the absolute highlight of the meal comes in the form of impressive side dishes – fluffy pork belly buns with panko apple and sriracha can be washed down smoothly by a glass of the bubbliest prosecco. Alongside this, incredibly tender and tangy vegan ribs are sure to leave meat-eaters pondering whether there really is a difference.
Once retail therapy is complete, a chance to relax is unlikely to go amiss, and taking in the great outdoors is a pursuit which can be enjoyed in the city as much as the countryside.
This is an area which is clearly committed to furthering a green agenda, important to protecting the planet. With wide, tree-lined boulevards and pocket parks, Wembley Park embraces public space, while still managing to cling to the urban-sprawl a mere stone’s throw away.
Wembley Park contains vibrant splashes of colour and captivating artwork all around, and its free public art trail offers the ideal opportunity to really take it all in. Dynamic murals are interspersed with intriguing photography, and there is even London’s answer to the Hollywood Walk of Fame just outside of Wembley Arena where the handprints of George Michael, Kylie Minogue and Dame Shirley Bassey can be found.
As restrictions ease, and the UK begins to return to a certain sense of normalcy, the potential of Wembley is once again rising. Steeped in the history of Live Aid, the 1966 World Cup and the 1948 Olympics, the history of the area is not to be denied.
However, with this being said, it is the exciting future hinted at in every turn which makes Wembley Park the ideal city break.
With a cornucopia of activities, events, shops and restaurants to cater to every taste, one cannot help but wonder what opportunities the area will reveal to its travellers next.
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