Of all the London activities, this is one you can’t miss. In the words of Tim Daly, I feel the need to endanger myself every so often. So when my friend asked if I wanted to do Up at the O2 – the answer was a resounding yes!
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To fit around other London activities, you have the option for an Original Climb during the day or a Twilight Climb which is a nighttime expedition, we chose the original climb as we were only taking a daycation and had other London activities to fit it. They do also offer celebration climbs completed with Lanson Champagne or private hire.
In order to participate you need to be;
- Taller than 1.2m
- Medically ‘fit’
- At least 9 years old
- Not under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Getting to the arena
Many London activities are easy to reach and this was no exception. Make your way to North Greenwich station, I recommend taking the London Tube since it brings you straight to the arena’s doorstep. Once you exit the station, you’ll see the arena immediately in front of you, so follow it around and eventually you’ll come the entrance, and the ‘base camp’ will be on your left. You won’t miss it, since it displays all social media activity on a screen in the window. You can’t enter for registration until 15 minutes before, so don’t worry about being extra early – you’ll only be stood outside waiting!
Don’t forget your socks
Compulsory footwear is provided, so you’ll need to make sure you bring socks. I failed to read this part, and panic-bought some socks in Victoria on the way!
As with any relatively dangerous activity, you’ll need to sign your life away with a waiver – just kidding! You’ll watch a thre- minute video with some cool facts about the arena – no spoilers here – and a quick demonstration for putting on your harness.
Climbing with kids
Unfortunately, there are a few rules concerning children with an imposed adult to child ration;
- 1 adult to 1 child x 9 years old
- 1 adult to 2 x children between 10 -12 years of age
- 1 adult to 4 x children aged between 13 – 17 years of age
Storing your valuables
You are only permitted to take one phone and/or one small camera and they have to fit within the pockets of the gilet or waterproof suit. They will remain zipped up until you reach the 360 degree viewing platform. You’ll store your shoes, bags and coats in a blue numbered box that it then locked away in a flight case, so your items are perfectly safe. Just remember your box number ready for box bingo the other side!
Dressed to impress
In the summer you’ll be given a gilet to wear and in winter a full suit. You’re permitted to wear shoes that are provided (get those socks ready!) Full instructions will be given for putting on your harness so listen up! The faster the group is ready, the more time you’ll have on the climb.
The Nitty Gritty
Once the group are suited and booted, the tour leaders will attach a heavy circle thing – I don’t know what it’s actually called but it’s what attaches you to the line that guides you up. A double check that the harnesses are in position, and up you go to the starting point – but not before a quick photo op!
Now try to calm your excitement (or fear) while they give you the demonstration for using the heavy circle thing – you’ll need to listen to this part to make sure you can actually get up – and down. The incline is 28° and the decent is 30° along a trampoline like walkway that’s supposed to mimic the arenas roof materials, or something.
The total climb lasts 90 minutes, and you’ll have a short period at the 360° viewing platform, not attached, to roam and take in the sights. The tour guides are also more than happy to take photos, so don’t trouble yourself trying to get the perfect selfie.
This is one of the best London activities I’ve experienced, and one I’d recommend if you’re in London but of course you’ll need to pre-book.