The O2 London, November 2019

by Emma Bumpus on November 4, 2019

In search of London’s leading concert venue Careertraveller takes a trip to the Greenwich Peninsula where an evolving cultural landscape oozes entertainment.

A 30-minute tube and DLR train journey from King Cross to Royal Victoria DLR station transports us to a waterfront metropolis of harbour-like developments and skyscraper buildings in a bustling community of energy, vision and recreation.

Excited to have arrived in what feels like a budding New London wrapped around by the capital’s famous river Thames, we take a fashionable 3-minute walk to Emirates Royal Docks terminal for a flight on the UK’s first urban cable Car with Emirates Air Line.

Greeted by elegant overhead pristine gondolas we see London from a new perspective as we collect our boarding passes that come with a glossy souvenir guide of London’s landmarks. The magic begins as we soar steadily amongst a stream of 34 cabins; reaching 90 metres high at it’s the highest point. Exhilarated by the comfort and breath-taking views of local attractions including The Gherkin, London Eye and Thames Barrier we astonishingly watch overhead planes descend on the nearby London City Airport landing strip!

Things ramp up as we approach the legendary O2, London’s largest leading concert venue, whose dome shaped roof with twelve yellow steel towers tributes entertaining more than 70 million visitors since 2007! We end our 12-minute flight and begin another journey into popular music, entertainment and leisure under cover at London’s world famous dome.

A three-minute walk from the Emirates Greenwich Peninsula terminal leads us to this multi-purpose playground whose spaceship like design epitomises modern engineering and architecture. Built for the start of the millennium and originally opened January 1 2000 it becomes clear this ‘big sky’ inspired venue represents a wave of regeneration and tourism to the peninsula.

Lofty masts supported by tensile cables and a glass elevator lead our eyes Up at The O2 where a mass of morning pleasure seekers climb London’s superstar attraction. This sets the scene for our twilight climb. Whilst outside is an adventure playground of sublime skyline, wide skies and architecture, inside is an playhouse of intoxicating fun bursting with sport, food and shopping to music and movies.

Mind-blowingly titanic in size awaits a grand neon lit concourse with glittering staircase and giant Love Heart sculpture, chosen as an icon of the 20th century. In an airport-like dome with travel inspired tourists we make for the alluring sparkly silver escalator that offers a birds eye view of Sky Studios, where visitors can step into an interactive TV studio and read the latest Sky News or Sport headlines!

Upstairs at Icon Outlet is a glossy shoppers paradise of over 60 iconic fashion and lifestyle brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Hotel Chocolat, Calvin Klein and Moleskine. With something for everyone we dip into a range of premium products at outlet prices and discover that customers heading to a show have access to a free bag drop where all shopping is looked after! We take a break in the Chill Out Lounge whose white space zone overlooks a plethora of lower level shops, eateries and entertainment and head down to over 30 bars and restaurants.

Amusements galore appear in the form of indoor trampolining and ten-pin bowling to London’s biggest cinema, Cineworld at The O2, boasting 19 screens. Recent addition Mamma Mia!The Party show brings Abba to the table and dance floor alongside O2 Arena that hosts a variety of spectacular events throughout the year.

As daytime draws in we head outdoors to Up at The O2 Base Camp where we prepare to climb 52 metres high on the roof. An early check in gives us time for a brief introduction that covers safety, sights and climbing gear. Our guide explains the drill of harness, climb suit and boots, which raises the excitement bar as we prepare for a magical twilight 90-minute experience in moonlight. Great team spirit stirs amongst an adventurous group of punters ages 10 – 50 + years with the aid of Charlie, our welcoming leader who deserves a mention.

We begin our ascent on the south side where stairs and a glass elevator lead us seven metres up to a starting platform equipped with climbing clothing and harnesses. From here we venture onto the fabric walkway, which held in place by cables takes us on a journey of exhilarating London sights and lights. At the summit we take a break to capture the capital’s panoramic skyline that includes the likes of ArcelorMittal Orbit, Olympic Stadium, Shard and Old Royal Naval College. While some sip a glass of Lanson champagne, others indulge a selfie amidst the twinkling stars and feel proud to have completed an extraordinary challenge that makes you want to do it all over again!

A 360 degree account of the area’s history and revival by Charlie adds the finishing touches to a unique and memorable experience before we make our descent down the northern side of the building.

We head home with an Emirates Air Line night flight, which celebrates modern aviation with The Aviation Experience exhibition. An interactive Airbus simulator experience and insight to jet engines and science of flight prepares us for a return celestial trip to Royal Docks terminal where we gaze upon the stars and admire The O2 by night. Heavenly!

Further information:

The O2
Up at The O2
Icon Outlet Shopping
Transport For London – Emirates Air Line

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