Curious to see what the next winter Olympics will be like in Russia? Russia Park and Sochi Park (together called Russia Sochi Park) will do just that, at one of the most talked-about free London 2012 Olympic attractions. We’ll be live-blogging updates from Russia Sochi Park, plus we’ve got all the essential information for you to plan your visit below:
Sunday, 12 August
14:50 The queues are about 10 minutes long at Sochi Park at the moment. It’s your last chance to come down and see a preview for the next Winter Olympics, so don’t miss it!
Saturday, 11 August
Russia Park is singing and dancing the night away to music and live entertainment. The party goes on until 11, but you must be in by 10 to have fun.
Meanwhile, in the press centre, we’re anxiously awaiting Olympians Vera Shtelbaums, Evenia Kanaeva, Daria Dmitrieva and Olga Buyanova, who should be here any moment.
Wednesday, 8 August
3:34 p.m. Russia Park is looking a little quiet at the moment despite the tense basketball quaterfinal between Russia and Lithuania on the big screen. No queue at the gates and plenty of traditional Russian folk bands to enjoy. Join the party!
Saturday, 4 August
3:00pm A short queue for Sochi Park, which has just been made free to the public. Only took about 10 minutes to get in. Tickets to the ice show, however, still cost extra.
4:05pm Busy down here at the Russia House, with plenty for all the family. For those interested in culture there are performances of different Russian music and dancing on the main stage. For the kids you have mini basketball, mini golf, curling games and ice hockey games.
Sunday, July 29
9:30pm Just got out of the Russian ice show at their specially built arena at Sochi Park, and it is quite a sight to see. It’s certainly very impressive, with six Olympic medallists and 18 world champions coming together to tell a series of vignettes about life in the big city, while also managing to have a continual theme running through all of them. There is a lot of artistry on display, from the excellent skaters in both singles and pairs. There is also a lot of flash and flair as part of the show (including juggling with fire, strobe lights, multiple costume changes, props, live music and singers accompanying the skaters). Certainly one of the top entertainment spectacles surrounding the Games so far. Well worth a trip.
If you do go, a few tips:
- Dress warm! The arena gets quite cold as the show goes on.
- I recommend eating before you go. While the show does have one 20-minute intermission, there is not a lot of food on offer, and the line at the concession was very long.
- The best seats are in the south and north block, toward the centre. But watch out for seats with numbers 8 to 13 and 27 to 32 — they may have somewhat obstructed views.
Saturday, 28 July
(Editor’s note: The Red Rocks festival runs again on 11 August — check back for more details)
7:00pm The Red Rocks Russian Music Festival just wrapped up, and was filled with music, dancing, sunshine, plenty of drinks and food. The house beats and twanging sounds of the electric guitar resonated throughout Kensington Gardens and could be heard about 20 yards before entering the very secure entrance.
Unlike your typical festival held in the UK, there was no mud around and most certainly no need for wellington boots. The whole arena was covered in AstroTurf – many festival goers even had their shoes off, bouncing away to sounds of Voplo Vidopliassova and the highly anticipated Mumiy Troll. There was a very calm and relaxing ambiance about the place and many had brought their little ones along.
There was lots to do at the rest of Russia Park, and if dancing wasn’t your thing then seconds away from the stage was a rather futuristic-looking hockey set up, where guests were able to play around and shoot some goals with a hockey stick.
As the evening drew nearer the crowds got larger and everyone was on their feet enjoying their time in true Olympic spirit with chants and lots of cheering. There were stalls selling the Russian Olympic jackets and many who had purchased one were making use of it as the temperature started to drop. Food was priced from £3 to £7.
Where is it: Russia Park is at Perks Field, next to Kensington Palace. Sochi Park is at the Albert Memorial Gardens
Nearest tube: Queensway or High Street Kensington
Hours: Russia Park is open from 10am to 7:30pm; Sochi Park is open from 10am to 9:30pm daily
Cost: Entry to Russia Park is free. Entry to Sochi Park costs £18 if purchased online and £20 at the box office.
Watching the Games: The Games will be broadcast on a big screen in the middle of Russia Park.
Highlights: An ice show that runs up to two times daily, featuring two dozen Olympic and world champions. At Sochi Park, a high-tech digital interactive “winter wonderland” with virtual Olympic sports. At Russia Park, kids’ areas and Russian food and drink.
Restrictions: Entrance into Sochi Park is restricted to three entry blocks, running from 10am to 1pm, 1pm to 5pm, and 5pm to 8:30pm. Expect queues at Sochi Park, as it’s now FREE! Tickets to the ice show can be purchased here.