Up at the O2 & Emirates Air Line

On Monday we had one of those beautiful blue sky days that reminded me autumn and winter is not all grey clouds and rain showers. I love those days when there’s a morning frost, a daytime chill and the sun is doing its best efforts to peek through any clouds. As the days are shorter I’ve been thinking about how to fill an afternoon with something fun when the weather is kinder, and was reminded of a trip to Up at the O2 earlier in the year.

I thought I’d share the experience as I think it would be a great way to fill one of those clear afternoons or make a nice Christmas gift for someone to enjoy in the new year. We added the Emirates Air Line to our trip and it makes a great combination so I’ve added a few pics at the end.

You’ll have probably guessed, or will already know, that Up at the O2 allows you to climb over the iconic landmark and enjoy a view across the capital, out towards the City and over the River Thames. Book your tickets and time slot online, check in at the ticket office and (after a safety video) they’ll give you an outfit and a harness and get you started on your climb.

Up-at-the-O2---climb

It’s a steep start and the path is a little like a bouncy castle, although very tempting it’s best for everyone else not to bounce up and down. For those a little afraid of heights, your harness has a cable which keeps you hooked on to the roof so there’s no danger of you flying off in a gust of wind or rolling back down to the bottom. The guide is also very helpful and friendly if you get a bit stuck.

About 15 minutes later you’re safely at the top and you can un-hook yourself from the roof and enjoy the view.

Up-at-the-O2---view-1

Towards the bottom right of this picture you can see the sculpture by Antony Gromley (sculptor of the Angel of the North), named Quantum Cloud. There’s a prettier picture of it up close here.

I hardly ever visit The O2 and this side of London so it was nice to see a different city view.

Up-at-the-O2---view-2

But of course the best view is this one.

Up-at-the-O2---view-3

There’s something about gazing out at that City skyline, all that activity and wealth wrapped up in a cluster of buildings standing out from the crowd. What you can’t see in this picture is the remainder of London behind it, between the giant buildings of the City you’ll be able to spot some other capital icons like The Shard.

Of course if you’re like me you’ll want to test out your photography skills with a panoramic shot.

Up-at-the-O2---Panorama

And then if that’s not enough for your photo collection you’ll get a jump shot.

Up-at-the-O2---Jump-shot

This was heavily encouraged by our guide and she was happy to take the picture for us.

Once we’d had our photography fun we hooked ourselves back on the roof and made our way down. The descent was as steep as the incline and I’ll admit I felt a little more nervous, mainly as there was a queue of people behind eager to get down.

James and I really enjoyed Up at the O2. Although there are other places which offer a wider view of London due to their height above the city, it was great to climb a city icon, the view was still lovely and it’s always fun to see things from a different aspect. I also thought the staff were really helpful, knowledgeable and friendly.

We followed our visit with a sunset ride on the Emirates Air Line and I definitely recommended adding this to your visit. We took it one way from The O2 to the Royal Docks for just £3.30.

Emirates-airline---1

It was towards the end of its operation for the day so we got a cable car to ourselves and enjoyed the view in private.

It’s quite cool seeing The O2 after you’ve climbed it.

Emirates-airline---view-of-the-O2

And you can never beat a good sunset in London.

Up at the O2 would make a fun afternoon on a clear day and a great gift if you know someone who loves ticking off all the fun things to do in London or enjoys a good view like me. It takes about 90 minutes and it’s £26 per person. You can find all the details here.

If Up at the O2 doesn’t take your fancy or you’ve already climbed it, I definitely recommend combining the Emirates Air Line with a trip on the Clipper from Embankment to The O2. It takes about 40 minutes and the journey provides so many different views of London.

Have you been Up at the O2 or on the Emirates Air Line?