When travelling through London, many people automatically head up the London Eye or Shard for panoramic views- however I am here to tell you there is a new and exciting way to see the Thames from above. Conquering Up at the 02, was something I had put on my bucket list since first seeing it advertised in early 2016. Climbing the summit of this 52m tall landmark at sunset seemed like an absolutely perfect way to spend an adventurous evening.
The iconic arena, home to acts such as Adele, Madonna and Justin Bieber to name a few, sits on Greenwich peninsula in the South-East of London, overlooking Canary Wharf. The dome itself is inspired by played by Greenwich Mean Time in the UK. The 12 yellow spikes represent the months of the year, the height of 52m symbolises each week of the year and the 365m diameter, the days of the year… did I mention that from above it looks like a clock- cool huh?
Making our way over to The O2 at 6.00pm for our 6.30pm climb on an incredibly overcast evening, I was a little worried that the weather was going to ruin the experience. I was wrong. No matter what the weather, the climb is safe and exciting. We were even excited that the cooler breeze and slightly wet walkway took it to that next level of adrenaline-pumping-fun.
Heading into the waiting area, we filled out a short safety and consent form, followed by a video clip explaining the experience we were about to embark on. The climb itself takes just over an hour, with some pretty intense slopes (30 degree angles) to start and finish with. All nerves aside, you have your guides with you the whole way, from start to finish, so never have to worry about knowing what to do next.
After the video, you are taken through to get suited up in your gear, including harness and weather-appropriate suits. You can wear whatever you like to the arena, another bonus on an evening out in London, as shoes and suits are included. So even if you come dressed in high heels and a mini dress, you can still climb!
When you are all suited up, it is time to go! We were taken to the initial platform, with an explanation on how to use the safety clasps and make our way up the walkway and wire system. The first part was by far the hardest, with an incline that gets your calves and thighs burning, you will giggle your way out of any nerves as you struggle with your harness on the trampoline-like path. The biggest advice is to just go for it! The more you think, the less time you will have to enjoy the stunning panoramic views and city skyline. After about 15 minutes of climbing, you make your way to the top viewing platform, which is simply incredible.
The views are beautiful, industrial and rustic all at once. In front of you, the mighty Thames flows with sparkling city lights along its bank, while the vast building and construction of Canary Wharf stands to your immediate left. You will have enough time on top to snap up all the photos you desire- but be warned, you cannot bring any camera bigger than a mobile phone or GoPro up with you, and must be put away until safely on the upper platform.
After taking in the sunset views, it is time to head descend. It wasn’t until I was all clipped in and ready to go, that I realised it looked as though we would be walking straight into the Thames! The climb down is just as exhilarating (if not more so) than the way up, with the final stretch so steep you can’t help but sweat. The guides are of course there to help the whole way, giving climbers the option of going forwards or backward, depending on fear-factor.
The ‘Up at The O2 Sunset Climb’ is an experience you mustn’t miss and definitely one to tick off the bucket list this year. For an experience that is totally unlike any other, and a complete thrill, I highly recommend making your way up!
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A huge thank you to Up at the O2 for allowing me to conquer the summit this year. All opinions, as always, are my own.