Have you ever been to the O2 arena (formally known as the Millennium Dome)? I’ve been there for several concerts (Tina Turner, a family favourite) and some tennis (ATP tour) on the inside… but I’ve never been up and over the top. As a Londoner I felt that it was remise of me not having done this, I jumped at the chance to go Up at the O2!
As I work and live in London it was easy for me to get to the O2 on the tube. However if you are coming from further afield or seeing a show that ends late in the arena, then you might want to stay in the area. Click here for hotels near the O2 for all budgets.
*Full disclosure, as this post is sponsored by Hotels.com, I received my tickets for free, all opinions are my own*
Up at the O2 – walking across the London Landmark
Instructions & kitting up
When you check in you have to sign your life away with the disclaimer.
Then they brief you on what you are wearing, any potential issues and the kit you need to wear. In the summer you get a gillet type jacket, the harness and the obligatory walking boots. In winter they kit you up in a whole jump suit!
Note that you can’t take anything that doesn’t fit into your gillet pockets – so for me that was a camera and my phone. Any other ‘stuff’ you have and your shoes go into individual boxes that are locked into a flight case. They bring this around to the exit so you can change and yes you can bring a small bag (e.g. I came straight from work so had a backpack with my laptop in it).
You can also decide to make your walk a special one with a glass of bubbly at the top (but note that you shouldn’t be under the influence of alcohol before you go up).
Once we had all stepped into our harnesses and been tightened up, a special carabineer is attached that will remain on the guide line for the entire walk. Mind out with this, it’s very good at knee capping you if you don’t hold it!
Suited and booted we headed out to the stairs right next to the main entrance to the O2 arena. Going up 2 flights of stairs there was the chance to pose for a professional photo with the dome roof behind you. Cheesy smiles obligatory!
Then it was time to get clipped on to the guide line – a thin wire that our carabineers were slid onto. You need to keep your hands on the carabineer at all times to guide it – especially where there was a transition to another section. The staff show you how to do this and how to transfer between sections smoothly, but you can still snag!
We all slotted onto the line in a row – the aim is to keep at least an arms length behind the person in front in case they fall (otherwise there would be a domino situation occurring!). We started the hike up – it really felt like a hike as it’s step! Up to 28 degrees I think… You don’t get to see too much on the way up and you are not meant to take photos (in case you drop your camera/phone), so we headed to the top.
At the top
When at the top you come off the guide wire and are free to move around the whole top area. This gives you a 360 degree view of East London. As we did the sunset climb, we got to see the sunset and the beautiful colour of the sky afterwards.
No filter needed! . I highly recommend walking the O2 at sunset to see this spectacular view from the top! . #upattheo2 #londonsunset #o2sunset #londonlife #londonview #lovelondon #instalondon #mylondon #londonbylondoners #londonblogger #igerslondon #london2do #london4all #thisislondon #mysecretlondon
As we decided to get the glass of bubbly at the top we wandered around juggling the carabineer and cameras with champagne glasses!
A full review of the view showed us city airport and the planes landing there:
And here was the view out of the airplane the weekend before!
All too soon the champagne was gone and it was time for a final photo and then to head back down.
Coming back down
We clipped back in for the way back down. Each section down got steeper and steeper! So guides were on hand to help us transition to the steep parts. It was a bit of an adrenaline rush to get down with out slipping over and sliding down on your butt!
Once at the bottom there was a final chance to pose in front of a poster board and then review your professional photos.
Antonia and I decided not to purchase ours. Changing out of our gear and collecting our shoes and bags we were all done. Then you just have to walk around the entire O2 to get back to where you started!
I really enjoyed the Up at the O2 experience – a combination of a small work out with great views and a different perspective of this area was great! It would be a fab add on to a special trip to London, especially with the extra glass of bubbly.
The Up at the O2 experience runs all day, whether rain or shine (they only close it in high winds). The cost of the climb depends on the timing of when you go up, starting from £30 per person. You can book at the Up at the O2 website. Let me know if you decide to do it!