Days Out In London – The O2 – a real family experience
One of the iconic images of modern London is the 02 arena, formerly – and not that very fondly remembered as – the Millennium Dome. Now famous for major music concerts and sporting contests, I was surprised to find out that there was something else you could do there – take a guided expedition over the top! This has got to be one of the most fun places to go with the family in London.
Known as ‘Up at the O2’ there is now a walkway that takes you right over the roof with a viewing platform halfway through, that gives great views over central London; the River Thames, Canary Wharf, the Thames Barrier and the Olympic Park.
Completing the walk
A few weeks ago an intrepid group of us decided to ‘do the walk’ on a bright sunny lunchtime. Although we were a party of adults, anyone from the age of 10 – and over 1.2m tall – can do it. Speaking to our expert ‘mountaineer’ guide (yes, it does feel like you are climbing a mountain) he told us that they regularly get families with children enjoying the experience as part of a day out in London.
The walkway stands 2 metres above the roof surface of the dome and measures 380 metres in length. At its highest point it is 52 metres above ground level and the steepest incline is 38o which is considerably more than a standard escalator on the London Underground.
I mention these facts to give you some idea of the brilliant experience that awaits you. And the real sense of achievement you feel when you have completed it. According to our guide, children really get a buzz out of it. Even using the special climbing equipment adds that extra sense of excitement. And the idea of a bit of danger (although it is perfectly safe).
Emirates Cable Car Another favourite fun places to go with the family
Making the 02 part of your family day out in London is highly recommended by AWTYK. For the less adventurous there is the Emirates cable car across the Thames. Which also has fantastic views up and down the river. But check operating times before you go. On the day we went it was closed for maintenance.
Thames Rib Experience
If your children enjoy the thrill of a high speed boat ride, this is one for them. Using the fastest and most powerful boats on the Thames, these adrenalin fuelled sightseeing trips give you fantastic views of London from the river. There are discounts for children under 15. And there is no actual age restriction just a minimum weight of 15kg (approx 2stone 4 lb).
Eating & Drinking
I was surprised by how many top family friendly chain restaurants there are in the 02. And these are open even if there is no actual event taking place. It is the perfect place to go for lunch or an early dinner. All of the restaurants are located around the outer walkway or just by the entrance. So you don’t have to trudge miles to find one you all like. And because it is all under cover it’s a great place to head for if the weather is a bit iffy. For more info on places to eat in central London take a look our blog post Best Family Restaurants In London
If you are looking for Fun Places To Go With The Family in London with children or teenagers, the 02 is really worth visiting. There is lots to do and see. And it’s easy to get to there by tube from all the main railway stations. Just don’t go in the rush hour as you have to go through the City.