Just before the world plunged into lockdown, I was invited to take part in the Up at the O2 experience. So, along with my friend and fellow blogger Han from Han Meets World, we braved the cold and rainy weather and headed over to the Greenwich Peninsula for our bucket list experience.
Disclaimer: The team for the Up at the O2 experience, gifted me with two free tickets, in exchange for my honest unbiased review. This post also contains affiliate links, this does not cost you any extra money, but if you do click on the link and make a purchase, I will earn a small commission. To find out more please check out my disclaimer section.
What Is the O2?
The Up At The O2 experience can be found at the Greenwich Peninsula in South London. Formally known as the Millennium Dome, the O2 Arena has hosted many concerts for the likes of Ed Sheeran, Little Mix and Beyonce as well as many shows and exhibits over the years, add that to the fact that the venue is a dome which is easily recognisable from most of London’s skyscrapers and high rise views, this makes the O2 Arena one of London’s most iconic attractions.
Up At The O2 Experience
Safety Briefing and Equipment
We arrived 20 minutes before our designated climb time, ready for our safety briefing. Upon arrival, we had to sign some paperwork for health and safety reasons.
When everyone signed their lives away, the Up At the O2 Experience began, starting with a warm welcome from our guide, which was then followed by a safety video and demonstration on how to get into our climbing gear.
The Walk-Up the 02
Once the whole group was ready, it was time to climb! As you leave the side door it’s time to flash your cheesiest grin for the venue photographer. (You don’t have to buy the picture at the end but it’s a nice option)
As it was time to begin our gruelling adventure up the giant dome. We were led up the stairs and greeted by a blue walkway. Each of the group was then tethered to a safety harness. The harnesses worked on a mechanical mechanism where at certain parts on the safety wire you would have to physically work it or it would just stop you from moving any further.
I am not at the peak of fitness and because I didn’t want to be the one holding people up, I chose to be at the back of the line just so I wouldn’t slow anyone down, as fellow climbers can’t overtake slower climbers.
The Views from the Top of the O2
Once you are at the top of the O2 you get a 360 degree view of the London skyline which includes;
- The Olympic Park
- Canary Wharf
The Decent Down the 02
I was at the front, line a centre for the decent down, I was a little worried I might freak out as you are looking straight down, but I was absolutely fine.
The descent down was supposed to be a little more difficult than then scaling up. I surprisingly, found this easier. The walk down itself, for the most part, is at a pretty easy angle. But as we got to the final part of the descent, it gets a little steep, you have to angle yourself at a sideways angle to get down to the ground.
Whilst making my way down, it did cross my mind how epic it would be if they had slide. Then you could slide down and take in the views whilst relaxing, but I guess for safety reasons it’s not possible.
I’m Scared of Heights, Can I Do This?
I hate heights and have frozen and burst into tears when someone tried to make me climb one of those walls where someone holds my weight. But I felt absolutely fine going up and down the O2.
If you have a fear of heights, then this is a great way to face your fears. Whilst climbing up and down the O2, it’s very safe. As climbers walk across the central walkway, they are tethered to a harnessed wire, till they reach the top and then reattached for the descent down. The great part about it is you are not climbing alone, you have an experienced guide.
Even when you get to the top of the O2 there is railings all around you.
Do You Need to be Mountaineer to Climb?
Now I will be honest, I’m am not known for my fitness and I will never make it as a fitness influencer (just putting it out there), but I climbed it without incident.
Once the briefing was over, I will admit that I was a little nervous. I felt like I was about to embark on an expedition up Mount Everest. I started to overthink, what if I get stuck halfway up and they have to airlift out with an oxygen tank and I end up on the news as the first woman to be flown off the O2 and taken to hospital #cringe.
Once we started to climb, I never once found myself out of breath. However, I could feel my leg muscles working harder. I probably felt it a little bit more, as I had been recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon. So, when I needed to, I just took the time to rest as everyone else in the group did, as we all went at our own pace. Our guide was fantastic and was very patient and encouraging.
Tips for Climbing the O2
- Plan your photography equipment in advance – The camera must be able to fit in your pocket, so either a phone, a small compact camera like a Sony ZV-1 or Canon G7 X Mark III, GoPro or whatever action cam you have. You will not be able to take photo’s or film until you reach the very top.
- Prepare for wind, even on a sunny day as you get higher up the stronger the wind becomes. If you are planning on doing a YouTube Video or a Live Video from the summit, you will need a small quality microphone with a windshield like a Boya mic or a Rode VideoMicro Microphone.
- Wear a decent pair of socks, whether you’re wearing their shoes or your own, a good pair of socks is needed.
- Be prepared to put those leg muscles to work and know that you will ache the next morning.
- If you suffer from serious back problems or you have trouble with your knees or feet, this attraction may not be for you.
- Dress weather appropriate, whilst the covid measures are in place the O2 will not be giving out full-body suits or gilets. Wear clothing that is comfortable. (I wouldn’t recommend a skirt or a dress unless you’re doing your best Marilyn Monroe impression)
I genuinely enjoyed this experience, I would do it again but when it’s a nice day, as the bad weather and cold can be a little too much on your face and I will be honest it was freezing.
If you want to experience something that is out of your comfort zone and feel like you have accomplished something at the end, then the Up at the O2 Experience is for you.
This is Urban Mountaineering at it’s finest…
Up At the O2 Information
Cost: Tickets start from £30 depending on the type of experience package you buy
Location: Peninsula Square, London SE10 0DX
Who Can Climb the O2 Arena?
Climbing the O2 is suitable for a range of ages and abilities, but the website does state;
- Climbers must not weigh any more than 21 stone/130kg/286lb
- Participants must be at least 9 years old to climb
- You’ll need to be at least 1.2 metres tall
- You can not have a waist measurement of more than 125cm
- You can’t have an upper thigh measurement of more than 75cm
Additional Safety Measures During Covid
Due to these being covid times, the team at The Up At The O2, have taken additional measures to keep everyone safe. These are as follows;
- Hand sanitiser units have been installed throughout this is including on arrival, pre and post-climb
- Social distancing modifications throughout the site includes the shop, briefing room and the kitting areas.
- Visitors are required to wear their own suitable clothing, as full-body climb suits or gilets will not be provided at this time, although climb shoes will be available. (Wear clothing that will keep you warm in cold weather and cool in hot weather and make sure you can move in it)
- Staff will be wearing face coverings and gloves; however, these are not mandatory for customers but can be worn if they wish to bring their own. (I would wear a face mask whilst inside the site before the climb)
- Tickets need to be pre-booked.
- Plastic screening has been installed at reception desks and they are a cash-free site. (Debit and credit cards only)
How To Get To Up At The O2
There are a number of ways to get to Up At The O2, as you will see below. I would recommend checking the TFL website for the best route for you.
- The Nearest Tube is North Greenwich (Jubilee Line)
- There is a bus station with bus numbers 161, 472, 108, 422, 486, 129, 188, 129
- Emirates Air Line Cable cart to and from the Royal Docks DLR
- Arrive by a Thames Clipper.
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