Closest Tube Station: North Greenwich
Isn’t it funny how we change as we grow up? I remember one summer holiday in my mid teens, I literally did not leave my house for twelve days. TWELVE DAYS. And I was absolutely fine with that because I was busy on Ocean Up researching which LA diner the Jonas Brothers frequented the most.
Nowadays, more than half a day at home is a little traumatic for me and as I’m in London at least 5 days a week, the mystique that once surrounded the capital city has ever so slightly faded. This means that like most toddlers, I need to think of more creative ways to entertain myself during my time off.
Cut to me, strapped to a harness, hanging off a metal railing on the roof of the O2 arena.
The O2 arena was originally called the Millennium Dome, which I have fond memories of visiting at the age of 9 on a school trip. It was built to mark the start of the third Millennium in 2000, and housed an exhibition called the Millennium Experience. Nowadays, it’s an arena where the likes of Beyoncé, Katy Perry, Adele perform their concerts. It is also used for major sporting events such as the Olympics and Paralympics.
The architecture of the dome was designed to represent the clock face, with the twelve yellow masts around the circumference. These also echo the twelve months of the year and the diameter measures exactly 365 metres (one metre for every day of the year). It has definitely become one of London’s most iconic landmarks.
Before the climb starts, you have to watch a really cringe safety video, sign a release form and are then issued with your kit. You are given a jumpsuit (which seems to be a ‘one size fits all’ kind of deal), a pair of shoes and your harness. I would advise bringing/wearing a pair of socks (otherwise you have to buy some) and some gloves to prevent friction burns, no matter how nice the weather is.
You can safely store your belongings in the changing rooms but it’s best not to bring massive bags. The jumpsuit also has a pocket for your smart phone, but you cannot and should not use your phone during the climb itself. Once you reach the halfway point and are on the viewing platform, you can take as many photos as you please.
Hannah Montana taught me that the most important part of any journey isn’t the destination, it’s the climb. Our guide started off by clipping our harnesses into the long wire that runs along the diameter of the dome. This cable is separated by various little check points, so as you move along, you have to push the clip hard through the catches to progress.
As you can probably tell, I managed to pick up and retain all of the technical lingo.
Once you reach the summit of the dome, you can relax for a bit and take in the view. As it’s 2016 and we do everything for social media likes, obviously there was a fair amount of selfie taking as well!
You may be wondering whether you have to be particularly fit to do this climb. I am as fit as a person in their early/mid twenties who enjoys fried chicken and hates the gym can be, and I found it only moderately difficult. The ascent is definitely more difficult and tiring than the descent however, as not only are you walking on a bridge made out of rubbery trampoline material, you are battling quite a steep incline and having to use one hand to pull yourself up and the other to move through the latch points.
On the way down I was certainly a lot slower because the descent is even steeper than the way up and our guide kept telling us about a potential domino effect if one of us fell.
Looking back, it was a little bit scary but you didn’t notice the height that much while you were concentrating on moving over the bridge. Basic bitches like me probably feel like Bear Grylls afterwards but as long as you don’t have any major back or knee problems there is no reason why you wouldn’t be able to complete the climb safely.
It was quite windy during the climb, so wear layers under your jumpsuit! At the beginning of the climb, one of the guides takes a photo of your group which you can buy when you make it to the other side.
After the climb was over, we were quite tired and hungry so we made our way to Soho for some dim sum at Ping Pong. All in all, it was a really fun and unusual way to spend a Sunday afternoon with friends and I always find that a slight element of jeopardy makes any outing more memorable.
Thanks for reading,
~ Plane Emoji