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Climbing a London Icon

The O2 Arena is a London icon. Not only is The O2 the world’s busiest music arena, it’s also the second largest arena in the UK and one of the largest in all of Europe. The venue has played host to the most sought after musical stars including Bon Jovi, the first band to ever headline at The O2 and the first to play on the roof; Prince, who holds the record for the most shows performed in the arena at an astounding 21, and Miley Cyrus, who’s shows all sold out in record time. But the arena isn’t just famous for its bevvy of musical acts; The O2 has certainly had its 15 minutes of fame appearing in a number of television shows and movies. Perhaps most famously, it was featured in a sequence of the James Bond movie The World Is Not Enough, the scene culminating with James Bond rolling down the dome roof of the O2. I wouldn’t be rolling down the roof (hopefully), but I got my own Bond Girl experience climbing this London icon at Up at The O2!

Up at the O2

Get over it! We climbed The O2!

At “Base Camp” we were fitted with jump suits, proper shoes perfect for gripping the roof of The O2, harnesses, and a carabiner. Not exactly Bond Girl chic, but a little red lipstick can glam up even the most hideous of jumpsuits! Properly safety briefed, my friend Bree and I pose like Bond Girls for the cameras before we’re off and climbing the steep trampoline-like walkway toward the summit.

We’re clipped in the entire time with our carabiners and there’s no chance of falling. Though it looks like you could just slide right on down the 1 million square feet of the tent-like material roof. From this perspective, you realize just how huge The O2 is! Did you know that the Eiffel Tower laying on its side would fit right inside the O2?

Up at the O2

It would take Niagara Falls 15 minutes to fill up the roof of The O2!

Soon we reach the summit and the views are magnificent from Up at The O2! We’ve got a 360° panoramic view of London and it is all awash in golden hues as the sun gets ready to set. Directly below us spectators were cheering on their favorite tennis players in the world’s biggest indoor tennis tournament, completely unaware that two Bond Girl wannabes were scaling the roof over their heads at that very moment.

Up at the O2We’d hardly drunk in enough of the spectacular views and it was time to descend. Leading our small pack of climbers, it looked like I was going to run right off The O2 into the Thames. Smiling ear to ear, I think to myself that the only way this could possibly be more fun is if there was a giant slide to whisk us to the ground again.

Up at the O2

I climbed, I conquered!

Know Before You Go

  • Climbs at Up at The O2 are available every 40 minutes from 10am – 6pm daily. Prices start at £25 per person and advance booking is highly recommended.
  • Be sure to bring a hair tie because all long hair is required to be pulled back.
  • Cameras aren’t allowed for safety reasons, but there is a small pocket in the jumpsuit that can accommodate a camera phone. You’re allowed to take as many pictures at the summit as you like, but the camera phone must remain in your pocket the rest of the climb.

Thank you to  Visit Britain for hosting us for Up At The O2 in order for us to bring this story to you. As always, all opinions and decisions to scale buildings are entirely our own.

Jennifer Dombrowski

Jennifer Dombrowski is a location independent globe trotter and bases herself in Prata di Pordenone, Italy. She works as a social media and innovation strategist in higher education and is a regular contributor on johnnyjet.com. Her website, jdombstravels.com, is the 2012 Destinology Travel Bloggy Best Newcomer award winner. Google+

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12 comments

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  1. Davide

    Very interesting post, this is on my “to do” list for 2014. I climbed another London icon: Elizabeth Tower (a.k.a. Big Ben), highly recommended!

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    Wow, that sounds awesome Davide! I didn’t know you could climb the Elizabeth Tower. Will have to keep that in mind for my next trip to London.

    [Reply]

  2. Maria

    Now there’s a great experience and souvenir. Have passed the venue many times but didn’t realize it’s available for urban adventures. Thanks for the tip!

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    Climbing The O2 is a lot of fun! I definitely recommend it if you have the chance, Maria.

    [Reply]

  3. jade

    Oh, I wish I knew about this when I was in London last week! Darn! We climbed the Sydney Bridge and it was pretty fun. Cool experience seeing the city from up there, for sure!

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    It’s definitely a different perspective and we got lucky with such beautiful weather on the day of our climb.

    [Reply]

  4. Heather

    Love the pose you’re striking in the last photo. Just like a Bond Girl! :-)

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    LOL, thanks Heather! I was channeling my inner Pussy Galore. ;-)

    [Reply]

  5. Vid

    Hey Jennifer,

    We should have met up in London ! Anyway, good to see that you enjoyed climbing the O2. If one is in that area, it’s best to be on top of the O2 just so that the view does not have the O2 in it ;) I think it’s one of the ugliest structures ever constructed by mankind. So this climb to the top is a great idea :)

    I pass the O2 every day and wonder to myself – why o why did someone do this ? :)

    Was this your first time in London?

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    Bummer that we didn’t connect in London, Vid! No, I have been to London at least a dozen times now. I usually come at least once or twice each year, so we’ll definitely have to meet up the next time. For sure, I come every November for World Travel Market.

    [Reply]

  6. Sand In My Suitcase

    Gulp! Looks pretty thrilling…

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    Definitely a lot of fun, yet very quiet and relaxing at the same time.

    [Reply]

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