Up at the O2! (Review)

In my last week in London, I decided to make the most of my time and do all of the things I'd been wanting to do. Up at the O2 was an activity I found out about while I was attending a concert at the arena. Given that, in my head, it was a strenuous activity and high up (I'm a little afraid of heights), I promised myself I would do it...one day. It was very early on in my medical school career so I promised myself I would go when I graduated. Well, as I failed first year and struggled through third, I changed that to when I graduate...or when I fail. Ultimately I failed so it was now or never.

I booked my time slot very easily on the website, the day before I was going. I went for both an off peak time and the regular time, then had an O2 priority discount code so the overall price ended up being a decent price. It's defintely worth looking around for discount codes before paying, because there is usually something around. 

When I arrived, there had been a massive delay on the London Underground. Not only was I not 15 minutes early, but I was also past my time. The reception staff were so kind and understanding. Graciously, they let me into the next group. 

From personal experience, I would defintely recommend setting off early to make sure you get there on time. Luckily, it was a quiet day when I went so I could get in easily but had it of been a busier day, that's not guaranteed and they have a no money back policy for latecomers. 

One of the reasons for being earlier is also the procedures before you can partake. There is a waiver form to read and sign, followed by a short video to watch. While I think it's important, it's also really interesting. It gives lots of interesting facts about the experience and the O2 as a whole. I was fascinated. Of course, they also show you how to put on your harness ect. 

When it's finished, they take you through to get equipment, shoes and the appropriate jacket, dependent on the weather. The trainers are literally the comfiest thing ever! I really wanted to take them home. Once you've handed in your belongings (which will meet you at the other side), the group heads up and you get a couple of pictures before heading up. 

The walk itself isn't bad at all. Looking up, it looks quite steep but you can take the whole thing at your own pace. There is no rush at all. Some people seemed to struggle with the equipment movement and got stuck every so often, allowing time to catch up as well. I am very unfit and didn't struggle at all. 

Once you are at the top, the guide gave us some little tips and tricks, providing a little information on the views and London. I really liked the openness of it and my favourite thing was the barrier image. It was a full 360 labelling and pictures of the buildings you were looking at, with added facts. I wasn't expecting it at all so it was the perfect addition for me. 

Personally, I was quite disappointed with the actual views. I think a few years ago they would have been amazing but there has been a lot of building work done recently. At the time, there was also new blocks of flats being built. With the machinery, it did somewhat block the sights. It's not as nice as the Sky Gardens however, it's still impressive and to be outside for the full 360 degree view is special. Also, it just gives a view of London from a different angle and side of the Thames. I really enjoyed being able to get closer to the other side and a new perspective, having grown used to the Sky Gardens. 

As it was a relatively quiet day and they had combined our small group with another couple, we had almost double the amount of time at the top which was perfect. Had it of been a colder day I might have requested not to because you definitely start to feel the colder weather after a while, especially being high up. 

Quite honestly, the staff are amazing. Coming down was a complete different story to getting up. I was scared of not only falling but because it was so steep, I thought my ankle would give in so I was going very slowly. Through my whole ordeal getting down, our guide was very patient and understanding, although I'm sure he was getting very annoyed. I know I was with myself...LOL! He was very easy to talk to and got on well with everyone in the group. He was a star and made the whole thing even better. 

It's very well organised, the staff go above and beyond and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, despite being absolutely terrified coming down. I would defintely recommend going if you are in London and if you are heading to the O2 for a concert or something else, head over an hour earlier and book yourself in for the chance to see London from a new height.