Going into central London, there’s always a buzz…but when you add a little adventure into the mix things start to get exciting!
That’s where Up At The O2 comes in. If you’re not familiar with the O2 Arena then you may have heard of the Millenium Dome? It was originally built for the year 2000 and is now a well known and loved entertainment venue. Located right next to the river, it’s the 2nd largest arena in the UK holding 20,000 people and is also filled with every restaurant imaginable, a cinema and plenty of bars and pubs!
We had seen a few of our friends post pictures climbing up the outside and thought it looked like a challenge so when an email arrived in our inbox inviting us to give it a go, well…how could we resist?!
We headed into the city and picked up the Thames Clipper boat at Westminster Bridge to take us to Greenwich. Taking the river gives you views of most of the famous sights in the Capital, from Big Ben to Tower Bridge, The Shard to St Paul’s you really do see it all! Make sure you leave with plenty of time as although they have a timetable our boat picked up a 15 minute delay queueing for one of the piers on the way.
Timing is important for the O2 climb itself, you need to arrive 15 minutes before your allotted climb time to not lose your slot. You can book any time of day to start the climb so we went for sunset to add a little romance to the experience.
When we arrived at the O2 Arena we headed straight for ‘base camp’. If you’ve pre-booked then you may already have chosen a drinks package, but it was at arrival that we decided to add a Coca-Cola to our climb as a treat once we made it to the top! We filled out a couple of forms to say we were fit and healthy and then headed through to a briefing room to watch a video all about the O2 Arena and the climb itself.
Did you know the dome is designed around time? It’s located on the Greenwich meridian line, 12 Yellow masts, 365 metre diameter, 52 metres tall.. you get the picture!
The video went through some safety instructions and then we moved into the equipment room to get ready. They provide you with either a jump suit or gilet, shoes and harness.
Once we were all suited and booted with our harnesses tightened we headed outside. The climb started with a glass-enclosed stair case leading to a platform where we had a professional photo taken before the guide attached us to the safety rail.
We were on our way! The ‘gruelling’ climb isn’t quite on the surface of the dome, it’s on a suspended walkway using a similar material to the roof of the dome and feels a bit like a trampoline.
It’s SUPER tempting to bounce but we were advised not too as it may upset the people climbing behind us just a little! Its feels very secure and safe, you’re attached by a harness to the safety rail and if you slip then it automatically locks in place.
Our task was simple, make it to the top!
You pull the attachment along with you and at first the climb is pretty steep, as you get higher it lessons off though don’t worry! Pushing the harness attachment through the different sections of the safety rail takes a little getting used to but after a few goes you get into a rhythm with it. The climb really isn’t too gruelling but you’re certainly excited/relieved to get to the top!
Once there, you’re removed from the safety rail and have 25 minutes to take in the surroundings. As you can imagine, at 52 metres above the ground you get the most amazing 360 degree panoramic view! The river is right below you and you can see the skyline of Canary Wharf directly opposite. Not only that but you can see Tower Bridge, the Shard, the London Olympic Park. What a reward for the climbing up that high!
We took this all in whilst sipping on our coca cola and relaxed for a few minutes. You’re allowed to take one phone and one camera in your gilet pockets during the climb so we then had the opportunity to get a few shots of our experience, timed quite well with the sun setting just behind us too!
After about 25 minutes our time at the top was over and we had to start our descent from the summit. In similar fashion to the climb, we were reattached and climbed our way down. It started quite easy and only the last section was slightly challenging. It’s really quite steep at this part and is a bit of a work out for your ankles and calf muscles! You can take your time and walk backwards if that helps though.
Only once you reach the bottom and look back up do you realise how high you’ve climbed! Ok…we know it’s not like climbing Everest but we scaled the roof of a major London landmark and it feels like a real achievement!
This is a unique activity, not everyone knows about it and we had an incredbile time doing it! It takes around 90 minutes in total and costs around £30 depending time of day/package etc. You need to be 9 years old or over and can book groups of up to 16 so you can make this a fun activity for the family or head on up there with friends.
After the climb we gathered up our belongings and headed inside the O2 Arena for dinner before catching the London Underground towards the mainline and then home! The tube station is only a very short walk round the corner and there's also a car park right outside if you don't fancy taking public transport.
If you’re in London sightseeing then this is definitely something you could fit into your itinerary and we couldn’t recommend it enough! Comment below if you've been Up at the O2 and let us know any other activities you think we should try out in London! x