Friday, 27 July 2012 3:34 PM
Fancy climbing an icon?
Today, a gloriously sunny day in London, seemed like the opportune time to try out one of the capital’s newest attractions – ‘Up at the O2’ – a new experience allowing visitors to scale the O2 Arena in Greenwich.
The experience lasts up to 90 minutes and promises a thrilling climb in which adventure-seekers are guided up a tensile, fabric walkway suspended 53m above ground level to an observation deck where you can enjoy the panoramic 360 degree views of East London and its many landmarks – including the Olympic Park, Historic Royal Greenwich and Canary Wharf – before descending.
Designed by the original architects of the iconic venue, the attraction adds a new dimension to the already popular entertainment venue.
The experience began at ‘base camp’ – a briefing centre where we watched an introductory safety video – acted out by a rather animated climber-type (who seemed as if he’d drunk one too many energy drinks!) – before getting suited up and buckled into our harnesses.
Under the supervision of Jeremy, our guide for the day, we began making our way up the walkway, which began at a steep 30 degrees. Clinging on to the rope as we ascended, I eventually got the hang of side-stepping up the steeper sections (knowing London’s usual climate, I imagine this could get very slippery in the rain!) before it flattened out as we got closer to the central observation deck. The walkway certainly bounced a bit underfoot, a bit like a trampoline, but with a sturdy harness which was clipped onto a safety wire running along the walkway, I could have done back-flips and still felt safe (not something I would advise though!).
From the observation deck at the centre of the O2 Arena, I could see for miles over a sea of skyscrapers, glinting in the sun, with the iconic Shard visible in the distance. Turning around, the new cable car, connecting the London Excel Centre with the O2 Arena, ferried people to and fro over the River Thames and I could even make out the Olympic Village with its eye-catching Stadium. A beautiful view it may not be, but it is an area of London which is regenerating and transforming at a great rate, especially with the London 2012 Olympic Games (beginning today!) being based in East London.
All in all it was a great experience and at only £22, a bit of a bargain for a fun afternoon’s activity in London.
By Sarah Gibbons
For more information visit the Up at the O2 website
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