Up at The O2: the lowdown on an exuberant London experience

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Up at The O2 the lowdown on an exuberant London experience

Some visitors simply can’t get enough of all the glorious views to be enjoyed when they visit London. And why not? However, it might be argued the ultimate panorama-viewing experience in the UK capital’s to be had by climbing the iconic O2 building via the awesome Up at The O2 activity.

Yes, while it’s not exactly like enjoying a delicious, sedate meal at The Crescent Restaurant & Lounge, as London activities go, there’s little more adventurous, thrilling and unique as throwing yourself into Up at The O2. So, if you’re at all curious, here’s what it’s all about…

Essential details

Address of The O2: Peninsula Square SE10 0DX

How to get there:

  • By Tube – North Greenwich station is approximately a 5-minute-walk from The O2
  • By ferry or Uber Boat – travelling to the venue by river sees you arrive at North Greenwich Pier, just a few steps away from The O2
  • By road – take the Blackwall Tunnel or the A102 lane; park in the Millennium Way car park.

Your questions answered

  • What are the event’s opening hours? It’s best to check the Up at The O2 website to see exactly when the attraction is available and open to take part in; the days and hours tend to change depending on the seasons of the year.
  • What’s the best time of day to climb The O2? At sunset.
  • How long does the event take? About 90 minutes.
  • How difficult is it to climb The O2? Easy.
  • When can you climb The O2? Climbs are offered during daytime, at sunset, at twilight and – for special occasions – participants can enjoy a ‘Celebration Climb, too.

Must-knows and must-dos for climbing The O2

  • Only those aged 8 and older are allowed to participate in the event (children must be accompanied by an adult)
  • You must be 1.2 meters tall (or taller) to take part
  • You mustn’t weigh more than 130kg (20st) to climb The O2
  • You’ll be asked to show ID in order to verify your age and identity before you start
  • Be sure to wear comfortable clothes before you set off from your accommodation (such as The Montcalm London Marble Arch); some necessary clothes and safety equipment will be provided on your arrival.

Up at The O2 – what’s it all about?

Simply put, ‘Up at The O2’ is an event that sees participants scale the exterior of The O2 building (the landmark originally known as the Millennium Dome), until they reach the tallest point on its roof; 54 metres above ground-level.

Believe it or not, people who’ve given the activity a go often say they enjoy the climbing activity (thanks, no doubt, to the mixture of built-up anticipation and adrenaline, physical challenge and endorphins) than they do admiring the view atop the venue that’s hosted some of the most famous performers of the last two decades – everyone from Beyoncé to Rihanna to Ariana Grande (whose performances have been enjoyed, over the years, by so many guests booked into 5 star hotels in London West End).

Although you may have your doubts as you read this; don’t be deceived, this activity is 100% safe. All participants go through a thorough safety briefing at the outset, are kitted out in gear that ensures their safety (including a specialist suit, specialist shoes, harnesses and other safety equipment) and, during the ascent, are guided by an instructor along a tensile, fabric walkway. The activity doesn’t involve literally scaling or walking on the roof.

And, even though many participants tend to enjoy the climb most of all, the panorama they’re then rewarded with is something to marvellously savour – affording an unrivalled 360° view of the likes of the nearby Olympic Park, Canary Wharf, Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, the Shard building and the entire city beyond.

What’s involved in climbing The O2

Granted, climbing The O2 isn’t exactly the sort of relaxing activity (like enjoying spa breaks London) that may be top of your list for a getaway. Yet, if you’re into physical exercise or just fancy challenging yourself while visiting London, why not give it a go?

Here’s what participating in an ascent and descent involves:

  • Preparing for the ascent – like it or not, the activity begins with some necessary paperwork, as well as signing documentation and providing event organisers with emergency contact details. As pointed out, this is simply ‘dotting i’s and crossing t’s’ stuff.

Next, it’s a listening exercise; taking in and making sure you understand all the safety protocols you must follow. As part of this, your instructor will introduce you to and tell you all about your safety equipment, before deploying you with your aforementioned specialist clothing and equipment.

  • The ascent – don’t worry, ascending the outside of the building isn’t as tough as you might expect; after all, given 8-year-olds are allowed to do the activity, most teenagers and adults should certainly be up to the task.

True; you’ll be asking some work of your legs because you’ll be climbing at a 28-degree incline, but you’ll doubtless find the challenge lots of fun. A professional photographer’ll be on hand, too, to snap memento pics of you and the rest of your on-the-day team.

  • Taking in the view – once you’ve reached the centre of the roof, you’ll be standing 54 meters above the ground and, so, now you’ll be able to look out over the skyline of London Town. It’s now time to capture your own photos of the view and, of course, to take in the moment and soothing breeze on your cheek and to bask in the warm glow of having achieved your aim – scaling the side of The O2 and reaching its roof.
  • The descent – the final part of the activity is arguably the most thrilling bit of all because it’s steeper than the ascent. Just as well it comes second, then, you might think!

In the end, taking part in this activity all comes down to challenging yourself on a physical level, to an extent. As noted, it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Those who fancy a thoroughly relaxing stay in the UK capital won’t be tempted, perhaps.

Yet, thrill-seekers, the young-at-heart and those into alternative activities/ events may well be. And they surely won’t regret giving it a go!