The O2 arena is located at North Greenwich in London and is home to various events concerts, bars, restaurants, cinema, bowling and now a shopping centre. All located in and around the arena itself, with the Up at the O2 climbing experience near the entrance should you wish to take the activity.
Roo has wanted to do this activity ever since we got her this as a present, but with it being a high climb there was no doubt who would be going with her, me… Boo does not do heights and the other two are a bit young, though Tigger expressed an interest in doing it when we were there, which is a big step for him.
We booked a time slot and made our way to the base camp (building), to get to the o2 it was relatively quick as it being some a key destination, transport links are easy. It’s advised you get there 15 minutes early, personally I would arrive earlier and take in the sights of the inside if the arena, if you haven’t been there before its a great place to visit, this as the first time I had been since they opened the first stage if the shopping centre that now goes around the other half of the arena.
Once in the base camp we fill out forms and wait to be called through, once we are we then listen to the guide and watch a short video. This is all the safety advice and information about the climb, as well as the facts about the arena, I won’t spoil it but there was stuff about the arena itself I never knew. The guide talked about what we would be wearing, not only harness but the shoes and Coat or suit (they had better names but can’t remember lol), then after we gathered our shoes and gear we quickly got ready. They have tote boxes and transport box for these as our own items will meet us the other side, something I didn’t realise, that you go over and out the other side, for some reason I thought we came back.
So after this, we began to follow the guide and up the initial steps, this then saw 2 sets of photos from the provided staff. We were not allowed our phones until the top, we kept them safely in our phone pocket, however, they provided a photo opportunity much like theme parks, one at the being level, and then the 2nd a couple of meters up facing back down, so you can see the beginnings of the climb.
The guide gave us instructions about the harness and how it attaches, we climbed one side of the metal while she was able to climb the other side, this allowed her to go from the front to the back safely. If you imagine 15 people, for example, all climbing at once, this would be a fair spread and she would have to quickly get to either end. This is the major difference in what you might be thinking about this whole experience. This is not a simple walk, it’s treated like a climb, much like a mountain, and to be honest, it’s tougher than you think, so listening and learning about this part with the guide as crucial as it would help on the climb.
As we began the climb (we were the last two) it starts off fairly steep, at the same time you are getting used to the harness attachment, there were several connection/lock points so you had to learn to navigate these, to be honest by 10 to 20 you get used to it, and by the other side the whole harness and connections are easy because you have had so much practice. The floor itself is like a trampoline, a little stiffer but still a little bouncy, so you are advised not to bounce because of the ripple effect. I found walking face forward like normal easier however Roo found it easier side on, it’s down to personal preference.
Once you have made it to the top there is a secure platform that you can detach, this is your opportunity to take pictures, take in the sights, chill out etc.. They give you some time, luckily for us, it wasn’t too windy but I can imagine it can get fairly windy. Something to take into consideration of you are a nervous climber.
After this it’s the journey back down, we were far more confident with the equipment but now the walk was slightly different, going downhill you had to be careful not to go too quickly, also the downside was steeper as you were going all the way to the ground, not a platform. This was the back of the o2 so you were seeing the river more and scenery in the back round.
When we descended down to the ground, a couple of photo opportunities, and then into the end building. This allowed us to get our personal belongings back and Hand the equipment back. Toilets and the shop is present here, you can purchase your photos from earlier, again much like a theme park, magnets, keyrings, photo frames etc… When you finish you are Brought out between the beginning of the half of shops, and the other half of restaurants (essentially the opposite side of the entrance).
Overall this is a great experience, it’s treated like a climb and it is much harder than I thought, however, it’s still manageable but if you struggle with walking, breathing, exercise etc.. Then take this in mind. But the views are great and it really is something to do, in London city where would you get this level climbing? Roo really enjoyed it, she was nervous at first but battled through it, the guide was really good, friendly approachable but thorough in what was needed to be said. It takes 90 minutes-ish to do it, so really adds to a day out, O2 has already so much to see and if you’re there for something else may be a good thing to add to your day.