UP AT THE O2 ULTIMATE GUIDE
Sun - Thurs: 6:00AM to 12:30AM
Time Needed: 2 hours
Fri - Sat: 6:00AM to 1:00AM
From music concerts, sports competitions and music exhibitions, to even a guided climb up to the top of the dome, it’s easy to see why The O2 is one of the most popular venues to visit in London.
Located in the Greenwich peninsula in southeast London, The O2 (also coined The Millennium Dome or The Dome) is more than just a state-of-the-art indoor arena; it’s actually a massive entertainment district which boasts an 11-screen cinema, bowling alley, and nightclub, as well as 26 different bars, cafes and restaurants.
The O2 Arena itself is hailed as being the best music venue in the country, and perhaps even the world. It has the second largest seating capacity of any indoor venue in the UK, and is also the busiest music venue in the world with over two million tickets being sold every year.
The O2 Arena has been voted as the Best International Arena Of The Year at the Pollstar Concert Industry Awards every year since its opening in 2000, and has hosted some of the most high-profile events and concerts in the world. It also contains a two-storey, bubble-shaped exhibition space (titled The O2 Bubble), which has hosted various exhibitions since 2007 on Muhammad Ali, Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, and many more.
Throughout the year, The O2 Arena hosts a variety of concerts by some of the biggest artists in the world. To find out which artists are slated to perform at The O2 Arena, or what exhibits will be taking place at The O2 Bubble, check out the “Events” page on The O2’s official website, or sign-up for their newsletter to receive the latest news and updates via e-mail.
Besides watching a once-in-a-lifetime gig or attending a fascinating exhibition, visitors can now scale to the roof of the dome with a climbing instructor for 90 minutes, and enjoy stunning views of the London skyline from 52 metres above ground level.
Taking a stroll up and down The Entertainment Avenue (the wide pedestrian street inside The O2 Centre) is also a must, as here you can find a ton of different cafes and restaurants, as well as some shops as well. If you happen to be in London over the Christmas holidays, the arena is transformed into a wintry wonderland with a skating rink, fun fair, and a German-style Christmas market.
If you plan on going climbing to the top of the dome with friends, you can always pay a little more to book your own private tour, and have your own group photo included in the cost.
If you are travelling to The O2 by car, try to reserve your parking space online as early as possible to save more money.
If you are travelling by tube, be aware that there may be a large queue after an event or concert, so it might be worth it to have a quick snack or drink at a restaurant or cafe before heading to the station.
If you plan on eating at a restaurant on an event night, make sure you come extra early as the majority of restaurants don't take reservations.
London EC3N 4AB, United Kingdom (See map).
The nearest station is North Greenwich station, which is a three-minute walk away.
You can reach the arena via routes 108, 129, 132, 161, 188, 422, 472 or 486, all of which stop at North Greenwich station.
You can park your car at The O2 Arena, and pre-book your space on their official website beforehand. Be aware that parking can be expensive, so you may want to use public transportation instead.
Anyone can enter The O2 Centre for free to dine at its restaurants or shop at its many stores, however, only ticket-holders will be allowed to enter The O2 Arena during a concert or event.
If you are attending a concert at The O2 Arena, make sure you give yourself plenty of time before each performance to go through security and find your seat. The doors open at the time shown on your ticket, however the performance start time may not be stated, and varies for each performance.
Children under the ages of 15 must be accompanied by an adult at all times, and children under the ages of 16 will not be allowed in the standing area.
You are allowed to use small personal cameras or phones during a performance, however the use of flash is strictly prohibited.
Please note that if you are attending a concert at The O2 Arena, you will undergo a search by security personnel, who may take some items off of you before you enter the building; (such as any large or dangerous items, food or drink, professional cameras and recording equipment). Your items will be held at the entrance until the end of the show, and you will be given a ticket so you can collect your items at the end of the night.
There are ATMs located near the main entrance (next to the merchandise area), and toilet facilities located downstairs near the cinema. There are also a ton of cafes and restaurants in and around The O2 Centre to choose from, such as Starbucks, Costa, Pizza Express, Harvester pub, Subway, T.G.I. Fridays and many, many more.
For the Up At The O2 experience, all visitors will be given a climb suit, shoes and safety harness, and a climbing instructor will give specific instructions on how to stay safe during your climb. The Up At The O2 climbs are available by booking specific times on specific dates off their official website; but be aware that if the weather is poor your climb may be postponed.
Tickets for concerts at The O2 Arena cost anywhere from £40 to as high as £200, while exhibition event costs’ range from £9 to £18. Because ticket costs for each and every event at The O2 vary, you check the official website for more information on tickets, as well as event times.
The O2 Centre is open from:
Events in The O2 Arena tend to finish no later than 11 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and no later than 10:30 p.m. on Sundays; however every show has different starting and finishing times, and the exact times may not be posted until closer to the event.
The O2 box office is open from mid-day to 7 p.m., and until 9 p.m. on arena event days.
Parking at The O2 costs:
Up At The O2 tickets can cost anywhere from £28 to £40 depending on which day, time or package you choose.
If you are checking out Up at the O2 you might also want to join any of the free tours that are available on offer.