For David’s birthday last year, I bought him an up at the O2 gift voucher and last weekend we finally got round to using it!
We were both really excited, me especially as I used to live near this area when studying at university. However, the up at the O2 climb opened long after I’d already moved back to Kent, so as of yet I’d never completed it!
As I (sort of) reviewed Ballie Ballerson (a London bar with an adult sized ball pit!), I thought I’d write an up at the o2 climb review too. Here’s what I thought of it, with a bit of advice of what you might need on the day too.
What to expect up at the O2
At this moment, I can’t think of another attraction similar to up at the O2 in London. (Seriously, which other London landmark can you scale over within 90 minutes?) Yes, for the price of a pretty £36 (currently) you can walk over the O2, one of London’s icons. Since the millennium dome opened back in 1999 it has found its place in the capital’s iconic skyline.
As I’ve already mentioned gift vouchers are available, which makes a brilliant gift idea (lucky David!). Plus the O2 is a great venue to get something to drink after, a bite to eat, catch a film or throw some bowls at its very own Hollywood Bowl. Otherwise it is of course known as one of London’s most famous music venues.
There’s ample parking if you’re driving, or if you’re catching the train North Greenwich tube station on the Jubilee line is literally on the O2’s doorstep – it couldn’t be more easy to get to.
Up at the O2: what to bring?
- Dress for the weather.
- A hairband to keep long hair tied up.
- Socks! (Although no worries if you forget, you can buy some at basecamp.)
- Your tickets (if you’ve booked).
- A camera to capture the stunning views.
It might come as a bit of a surprise that you don’t actually need to bring that much to walk up the O2. Climbing shoes, harnesses and protective clothing (to wear over your clothes) are all provided on the day.
Above you can see David and I, pre-climb. We’re both wearing an up at the O2 gillet, which was provided to us at Basecamp. A gillet is supplied in the summer and a jumpsuit in the winter to protect your clothes from the harness. (And from any annoying rubbing or chafing I imagine.)
How long does it take?
To climb the O2 takes 90 minutes, with a climb starting every 30 minutes. We arrived at Basecamp early before our climb time and were soon taken to a room for our group safety briefing. This involved a quick video and a demonstration of how to get into our harnesses.
Two friendly instructors then helped equip everyone with their harness and climbing shoes. Once you’re all set, the instructors ensure you’re all strapped in and supported nicely before showing you how to use the cable ties. You are then ready to begin the climb (this part probably takes an hour, roughly).
Is it scary or difficult to climb?
Not at all. I wouldn’t say I’m afraid of heights, but my legs can still go to jelly when peering over an edge and seeing a long way down. At no moment did I feel like this. If you have braved a Go Ape attraction or similar, I’d say that this is a lot scarier in terms of heights and edges.
Up at The O2 is 52m at its highest point, meaning its can get pretty steep (the steepest points are at a 30m ascent and descent). Although the blue walkway feels just like walking on a trampoline (seriously, it’s quite bouncy!), so it didn’t feel too much of a slog and in a way made it easier.
Up at the O2: Viewing Platform
Once you’ve reached the summit, there’s a circular viewing platform to allow you to take a breather, but more importantly gawp at those skyline views. On a clear day (like we were lucky enough to be blessed with) it’s a stunning sight. You can easily point out Canary Wharf, the ExCel Centre and of course watch boats going up and down the river Thames.
You get plenty of time to look around up here and the instructors are happy to take any photos for you, which I thought was super handy. (This means you don’t have to bother asking the strangers in your group!)
Taking pictures up at the O2
You’ve probably noticed I’ve mentioned about taking photos; yes cameras are allowed. (Clearly, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to take these images!) But it’s important to note that cameras must be kept zipped inside your gillet or jumpsuit whilst you are climbing. Cameras aren’t allowed to come out until you’ve reached the viewing platform.
Our gillets had two pockets, which were quite spacey too. I was able to fit my camera (Canon G7X) and my iPhone in each, no worries. Otherwise there is a photographer who takes pictures of you too. You’re able to buy these photos in the gift shop apres climb.
Booking up at the O2
Although you can just turn up and pay for a ticket, David and I booked as we wanted to climb the O2 on a bank holiday weekend. (So we were expecting it to be busy.) I would definitely advise booking in advance to avoid disappointment. When we arrived there were people queueing and hoping to get into our climb group, but there wasn’t space for another few hours. In the winter however I imagine there are more spaces and less queueing.
Before booking, it’s worth thinking about when you want to climb up the O2. David and I decided to do the O2 walk in the morning, but there is the option to do a Twilight Climb and a Night Climb too.
See up at O2 views in my vlog
If I’ve not answered any questions in this blog post please don’t hesitate to comment in the section below. Oh, I’ve not been asked, sponsored or paid to write this review btw, I just wanted to share a review.