I’ve only ever scaled Swiss Cottage Climbing Wall and a 10 foot-ish wall at a kids camp in Spain, but as far as I could tell the Up at the O2 experience was not quite a ‘climb’ but more of a bouncy walk across a huge dome. Nothing wrong with that and as someone who’s not always good with heights, I was fine.

Up at the O2 is perfect for anyone who wants an awesome view of London that sounds a bit more adventurous than ‘going up The Shard’ and a little less than ‘London by helicopter’. You could even take your mum and dad, if you were looking for something parent-friendly to do in London.

Climbing the O2

Hostel booking site HostelWorld had emailed me and said they wanted to give me a treat. I decided I deserved one too so agreed. All I knew was to wear comfy shoes, sensible clothes and to be at Waterloo for 6:30pm. It was all in aid of launching the HostelWorld adventure taxi campaign which begins on 22nd October. They’re setting up phone booths in selected hostels in London and Edinburgh and whoever answers the phone gets a go in the Adventure Taxi – a pimped up London cab – somewhere awesome..

View from up at the O2

The whole Up at the O2 experience started with a safety briefing from some over excited guy on screen while we sat and watched attentively. We were told there was to be no filming unless whatever you were filming with was strapped on – so keep that in mind if you fancy taking your camera – and definitely no bouncing.

Safety briefing at the O2

We were allowed to continue to the next round, where we were stripped of our worldly possessions and told to put the Up at the O2-issue shoes and jacket on. If we needed there were boiler suits to borrow, but thankfully it was a warm September night and with my own coat I was warm enough.

The climb/walk up took about an hour, and would cost £25. Good old Hostelworld footed the bill so I was free to enjoy myself on their account.

After getting all harnessed up and out to the foot of the dome up our instructor – who treated the whole thing like some sort of polar expedition – connected us to the line running up the middle with the carabiner attached to me. He went up one side, while my group of five carefully stepped up the other.

And off we went.

Up at the O2 from the bottom

The runway that we went up was designed to emulate how it would feel to actually scale the O2 centre. It was like a blue bouyant trampoline material that bounced as you went. For the first section, which was at a 30 degree angle, there was ridged tarpaulin to help us get a grip and make our way up. I could feel a bit of tension in my ankles thanks to the angle, and wished I’d stretched a bit before I started, but it soon warmed up.

As I’ve said, the walk wasn’t scary at all. We were attached to the central line and down either side was the dome, there was 0% of danger. I had total faith in our Bear Grylls-wannabe instructor and we quickly made it to the top. As soon as we were past the ridge, he let us off our leads to roam around the incredible view.

Made it up at the O2

The view from the top was awesome. Monica (aka @TheTravelHack) and I saw Canary Wharf, Tower Bridge, the Thames, plenty of lights, Alexandra Palace and hundreds of buildings that we had know idea what they were.

We had about 20 minutes on the top to play around, admire the view and take awesome jumping photos – none of which came out on my iPhone.

Then it was time for the descent.

The view from the top of Up at the O2

We went out over the other side. It was 9 o’clock and the tarpaulin had got dewy so it was a little slippy, but nothing to worry about. We paused a minute to watch the light show on a tower block building over the river – look out for it if you’re about at that time – and made our way down to the ‘I conquered the O2’ sign at the bottom.

We passed the safety point and he let us off our leashes and we were free to roam the ground once more. We’d done it. We finished the trip off with a few glasses of wine at nearby TGI Fridays in the O2 Centre and that was the end of an excellent night in London.

Conquered the O2

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