We visited the iconic O2 Arena, London, for a major sporting event and were bowled over by what a great venue it is and how much there is to do there!
Things to do at the O2 Arena: For concerts, sporting events and exhibitions in London, the O2 has a huge range on offer in the arena itself and exhibitions, shopping, bars and restaurants and a cinema onsite. Climb on top of the venue with the Up at the O2 experience and catch a cable car over the river with Emirates Airlines.
We attended the World Cup of Gymnastics. A capacity crowd of gymnastic fans enjoyed world class competition from 8 countries, as well as entertainment from supporting acts and guest appearances from some of Britain’s best gymnasts. Three hours of international women’s gymnastics sped by in this fantastic venue. This was a fantastic event to take my children to and really brought home the power of sporting inspiration to kids. My mini gymnasts loved it, especially when they spotted themselves waving their flags on the big screen!
The arena itself certainly has the wow factor, even though it only fills part of the dome. With capacity for 20,000 yet feeling surprisingly intimate, we were close to the action but if you wanted to nip out for a moment it was easy, thanks to the clever design of the arena with its many entrances.
2020 sports events at the O2 Arena in London include basketball, boxing, tennis and darts.
As well as the main arena there is a smaller venue for more intimate concerts. I’ll be heading to the O2 Arena, London in 2020 to see Queen featuring Adam Lambert, in concert. I’m again taking my kids aged 12 to what will be their first rock concert!
2020 sees an eclectic mix of Sterophonics, Justin Bieber, The Script, Barry Manilow and Diana Ross performing at the O2.
Peter Kay famously became the first comedian ever to sell out 15 nights at the O2. Jimmy Carr, Mrs Brown and John Bishop have all filled this iconic stadium.
2020 sees Jimmy Carr returning to the O2
Yes you can walk on top of the O2 – with the appropriate safety gear and a climb guide of course! It takes 90 minutes to cross over the O2, stopping at the observation platform for stunning views of London on the way. If you love views and don’t mind heights, this is a unique way to visit the O2 and see London from above. There are age restrictions (no under 10s) as well as height and weight restrictions, so check out the details on the website to book. You can also now do a Climb and Dine restaurant and climbing combination.
There’s a multiplex inside the O2. Normally multiplexes are huge venues on their own, but this massive 11 screen cinema just slots into a small part of the dome.
There are 26 restaurants and bars at the O2. Advance warning – they get extremely busy, with long queues, when shows or sporting events end and most don’t take bookings. There are also other restaurants and bars just outside the venue.
There are food and drink counters arena-side as well. My dd made a beeline for the candy stand.
One small thing that I wasn’t a fan of at the O2 was that on entry to the arena itself you cannot take any water through security, like an airport. That would be fine but they charge £4 for small bottle of water on the other side! Top Tip: You can ask for tap water at any drinks outlet in the Arena
Exhibitions vary throughout the year but are usually crowd-pullers. For 2020, the Abba Super Troupers Exhibition is the big draw taking visitors on an immersive journey through the music and fashion of one of the greatest pop groups in history. The exhibition alone takes up 14,000 square feet.
Tying in with the Abba theme, in 2020 the O2 hosts Mamma Mia the Party. I heard TV Chef and Bake Off judge Prue Leith saying on the radio this was the best Greek food she’d ever had!
Sky Studios is a small area when you enter the arena where you can pose for pictures with TV superheroes or pretend to read the news. You wouldn’t head for the O2 just for this free activity but whilst you are there it’s fun to drop by for a few minutes.
Icon Outlet is a new addition to the O2 and has 60 outlet stores all under one roof, mainly fashion and lifestyle brands. There’s always time to squeeze in a little shopping, right?
Not at the O2 but right next door is the Emirates Airline Cable Car that goes from the O2 over the River Thames. Spectacular views of London and if you don’t fancy the Up@O2 experience or have people in your group whom it wouldn’t suit, this is a good alternative. My children also enjoyed the small exhibition you can visit at the end and pretend to fly a plane.
As entertainment centres go, the O2 pretty much has something for all tastes. I’d love to know what you’ve seen at the O2!
My Top Tips for visiting the O2 Arena, London:
- If you’ve got tickets for an event at the O2 make a day of it by adding on the Emirates Airline, Up at the O2, an exhibition, cinema or meal.
- Get there early it can take time to get through security in the arena.
- Restaurants and bars get very busy but there are other restaurants outside the O2 as well if it is just too busy inside.
- You can get free tap water at the bar in the arena.
- Read the FAQs on the O2 Arena website before you go. That’s also the place to buy tickets and get travel information.
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