Seventeen years ago the “Millennium Dome” appeared on our London skyline. Waaay back then, Dad said “wouldn’t it be great if we could walk over this”. One James Bond film later (still my favourite Bond opening), a rebrand by the giant O2 and it’s now a successful events space and now you can walk over the dome. The experience has been around for unbelievably 5 years but it’s taken that long for me to face my fears and agree to take Dad on the experience. Happy Father’s Day!
Some things I learnt about the O2 that I didn’t realise before (but probably should have)…. The 12 yellow posts sticking out of the Dome represent the 12 months of the year. It is 52m high which are the weeks in a year, and the diameter is 365m representing the days of the year *mind blown*.
You don’t have to be experienced in climbing, but you do need to be physically and medically fit – check with your doctor first if you’re not sure. Saying that, I have one arthritic hip, dodgy knees, a split disc in my back and an illogical fear of bridges – and I still managed to accomplish it! We easily booked online, the climbs are every day and every 15 minutes from 10am. The experience starts with a safety briefing, then you get your equipment – climbing shoes, a harness and a gilet to wear (a jumpsuit in colder weather). Once you’re dressed it’s time to go!
To say I was nervous was an understatement but once I was all harnessed up I was good to go. The beginning of the climb is fairly steep, the floor is spongy, like a trampoline and it took every single bit of me to try not to bounce up and down. From the start you’re still getting to grips with the harness and how to feed it through the catches every couple of metres or so. But that means it’s a slow climb and you quickly get to grips with it all and can start taking in your surroundings. Once at the top you’re released from the wires and have a good amount of time up on the viewing platform taking in the 360 views of London. On a clear day you can see out to Greenwich Observatory, the Excel Centre, across to the Isle of Dogs and even over to “The Big Tower” at Crystal Palace. Unfortunately, you can’t see the Thames Barrier anymore as new flats? offices? hotels? are being built and now block the view. Also, whilst you can see the Isle of Dogs and Canary Wharf, that is also partly blocked with the uprise of two new hotels. But it’s all about the experience of climbing the dome, innit?
Then you’re on your way back down again. The last bit of the walkway is quite steep. There’s one point where you stop and wait for the rest of the group to catch up before proceeding and it looks like the pathway just stops ha.
After 90 minutes you’re back on solid ground. Despite my legs being a bit wobbly, it was most certainly an experience that I would want to repeat. Next time at twilight I reckon!
If you haven’t had enough exhilaration for one day then pop over to the Emirates Air Line and take the cable car over the Thames. Look back and see the dome you just climbed!
You could make a return trip or do what we did and get the DLR. The DLR (Docklands Light Railway) is a automated train so is driver-less. If you’re really lucky, like we were, you can get a seat at the front and pretend you’re driving ……. 39 going on 3 😉