You can now walk over the roof of The O2 arena, one of London’s most iconic landmarks, and view the city in a whole new way. But does it offer the best view in London?
Last week I found myself wearing a rather unflattering jumpsuit standing beside The O2 dome at North Greenwich, London. I had a safety harness on, sensible walking shoes, and had just signed a document to say that I was medically and physically fit. I had confirmed I weighed under 20 stone, was taller than 1.2 metres – and was ready to climb Up at The O2!
Yes, I was indeed up for an adventure and about to experience London’s newest visitor attraction, but are the views at the top worth all the effort and the £22 price tag?
Bring on the adrenaline rush
If you’re a bit of a daredevil, there’s no denying that Up at The O2 should be on your thrill list. Climbing up over this iconic London landmark with its distinctive yellow masts on what feels like a big blue trampoline is certainly something a bit different – though, unfortunately, you’re not allowed to bounce.
That said, when you are clinging on to a rope (gloves are provided) and trying to pull yourself up the first part of the climb, the last thing you really want to do is bounce. And I certainly didn’t want to bounce on the even steeper descent down.
The tensile fabric walkway that you go along is suspended 52 metres above the ground, and visitors – in groups of no more than 15 – climb with an enthusiastic guide whose main priority is your safety. The 90-minute experience is fun, it’s exciting, but when I was safely back down with both feet on the ground, it wasn’t really the views that I was raving about.
Views from the top
When you reach the summit and the viewing platform, visitors are able to unclip their safety harness, relax and take in the views. You’re allowed to take mobile phones (in a special compartment in your jumpsuit) so it was cameras at the ready. It wasn’t the clearest of days (it was wet and windy), but I could still make out the Olympic Village across the Thames, London City airport, the Shard and the Thames Barrier.
But can you see similar sights from the top of the London Eye, and save yourself £7 and the bother of safety checks and waiver forms? And what about all those tall buildings you can get to the top of, in the comfort of a lift, for free? I have friends who work at the Blue Fin building on the Southbank and the views from IPC’s roof garden are every bit as impressive.
Of course, I don’t think you’d go to all the effort of climbing The O2 just for the views, but the experience has left me wondering; where can you get the best views of London?