|Address||Peninsula Square, London, UK|
|Build Date||31 December 1999 as The Millennium Dome
24 June 2007 as The O2 Arena
|Record Attendance||22,221 (2017 Metallica concert)|
|Stadium Cost||£789 million (£1.25 billion in 2019 pounds)|
|Who is the owner of The O2 Arena?||Homes and Communities Agency|
|Where is The O2 Arena located?||51.5029°N 0.0032°E|
Former name from 1999 to 2007 – the Millennium Dome
Former name during the 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics – North Greenwich Arena
The history of the ultramodern venue which is today known as The O2 Arena dates back to 1999. That’s when the Millennium Dome opened the exhibition celebrating the beginning of the third millennium. The original exhibition was open to the public for 366 days. It had 14 zones displaying the attractions and exhibits split into aspects of human life such as “Who we are”, “What we do”, and “Where we live”. Each of them was further categorized into areas such as “Body”, “Mind”, “Learning”, “Home Planet”, etc. In the centre of the complex, there was a performance area where the Millennium Dome Show with acrobatic cast and music was taking place 999 times until the exhibition elements were sold on or dismantled.
In 2003-2007 the interior of the Dome was under reconstruction and the roof had been assembled on the ground inside of the venue and then lifted. The complex was named after its primary sponsor, the mobile phone company, O2.
This recognizable dome-shaped structure is situated in South-East London. It is often used as a music concert venue, basketball court, ice rink, exhibition space, conference hall, and so on. The seat categories include:
- Floor level – in general, those are the best seats at The O2 Arena but the seats can be transformed into the standing area during some concerts, etc;
- Lower tier – the second best choice with some great seats located in front of the stage and the screens;
- Upper tier – the seating view highly depends on the particular block;
- Seats behind the stage – those seats are only available in rare cases during the most popular music concerts, providing the odd artist’s back-of-the-head view.
The incredible O2 Arena is the busiest music arena in the world in terms of ticket sales. For example, in 2017, over 1.4 million tickets have been sold for various shows, concerts, and events. The venue also boasts with the number of other records, e.g. over 600 artists have played there from 2007 till 2017.
The O2 Arena tickets can be really hard to buy because of the anticipation level of the events that usually take place there. StubHub is the platform where you can find tickets even when they are already sold out. Another great thing about this convenient website is that you can get your tickets delivered anywhere in the world.
Here are the alternative ways to buy tickets for the upcoming events:
- The event page of The O2 Arena’s official website from where you can proceed to a ticket sales page;
- The O2 Box Office which can be found on Peninsula Square, on the left-hand side of the O2 main entrance;
- Over the phone 0844 856 0202 (for the UK phone calls) or +44 (0)203 481 55 03 (for the international phone calls).
The prices vary a lot because Muse, Bon Jovi, or Take That concert tickets are naturally more expensive comparing to the tickets for Indian Idol Re-Loaded or Svetlana Loboda concert. In any case, you can expect the prices starting from £100 per ticket for the average show.
Booking.com is a perfect platform to book travel accommodations almost anywhere in the world. London has a lot of hotels to meet your every need. You can either use the search bar at Booking.com yourself or choose among the hotels that I personally can recommend in London.
- Top Night Hotel – provides one of the best prices for the accommodations of this level in London. You can get a great room with a comfy double bed, reliable WIFI, and a small kettle for £68. Expect to pay 10 pounds more if you want to have a private bathroom. The O2 Arena is 4 miles away from it.
- CN Apartments – located near Canary Wharf, this pleasant, clean, and peaceful place is just 3 miles away from the O2 venue. The whole apartment with a kitchen can be yours for £100 but only if you have up to two travellers. If you have the company of eight people, you’ll have to pay £170 per night which is still an excellent deal in London comparing to the alternative to rent four standard hotel rooms.
- Docklands Lodge London – provides very fine rooms starting at £100. The location is nice but you’ll still have to travel about 2.5 miles before you get to the O2 arena. No worries though: it will only cost you about £7 on Uber. The continental breakfast is served in a wonderful on-site restaurant and it’s already included in the price.
- Intercontinental London – if you are looking for a world-class 5-star hotel with spa located almost onsite of the O2, this is the best choice. Gorgeous places like this one are not cheap though, especially in London. The night costs £195.
- Radisson Blu Edwardian – is a luxurious boutique-style hotel with the rooms costing £391 per night. Most of the best things you can imagine are available at this place. Its location is also great – the O2 Arena is just across the Thames River from it.
- The Pilot Inn – located 10-minutes’ walk from the amazing O2 venue, this hotel provides excellent rooms and amenities. It’s hard to call this place other than fabulous and even at the price of £193 per night many people still say it’s the best value in the British capital.
- ibis London Docklands Canary Wharf – is a modern and smart, cosy and wonderfully located hotel. The O2 Arena is just across the river and it will take you 15 minutes to get there by tube. The price is £185 and up.
How to get to
London is a very convenient city in all aspects. Transportation in the English capital is never a problem as well. There are many ways how you can get to the O2 venue.
By Tube – North Greenwich station’s entrance is located just in front of the arena. Use the Jubilee Line in Zones 2 and 3 to get there in about 20 minutes from Downtown London.
By River Bus – the MBNA Thames Clippers River Bus Express is a stylish way to get from many centric places like London Eye, Westminster, or London Bridge to the O2. They sell single and return tickets. Hop on hop off all-day-long service is also available. You can check the route map and schedule on MBNA Thames Clippers website.
By Bus – among the numerous buses that can bring you to the O2 Arena are the lines 129, 132, 161, 422, and 486. Some of the buses in London even work at night. After the event, get on the 108 to get from the O2 to Lewisham or Stratford; 188 to get to Russell Square; 472 to get to Thamesmead. All three lines function 24/7.
By Cable Car – Emirates Greenwich Peninsula cable car stop is located just a few steps away from the arena. The flight from Emirates Air Line lasts about 12 minutes and the experience is incredible. You’ll see London and fly over the Thames at the height of almost 300 feet. Opening times may vary depending on the season and the day of the week. Check out the schedule here.
By Car – you can use zip SE10 0DX for the road planner. Alternatively, search for the O2 Arena. Make sure you pre-book car parking at the O2 because the spots are scarce. With the parking prices starting at £24, the O2 definitely encourages the visitors to use public transport.
By National Rail – upon arriving at Charlton station, take a 161, 472 or 486 bus. The bus ride to North Greenwich station should take under 20 minutes.
By International Rail – upon arriving at St Pancras International station, where Eurostar would stop, catch the underground train at King’s Cross St. Pancras to North Greenwich station. Expect to spend 30-35 minutes in this mini-trip.
By Plane – all London major airports including Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, and Luton are well connected to The O2 Arena via underground and railway services. The governmental TFL website can help you to plan your journey.
Since the O2 Arena is an epic construction hosting some of the brightest shows in the world, parking near it before the event can be hard. However, there is always a solution. The approximate eventday paid parking price near the venue in London is £5.
Eating out nearby
London is famous for its classic old-fashioned restaurants, Michelin-starred places, vivid street food, and hangout spots with cuisine from nearly every country in the world. TripAdvisor, for example, features over 19,000 cafes and restaurants in London, which is truly impressive. The area of the O2 Arena is no exception. You’ll find many dining out options on the Greenwich Peninsula and nearby. Some of the restaurants and bars are located directly inside the O2 complex. However, the nearby eateries tend to be less expensive and more customer-oriented.
Pubs, bars & cafes
- Poplar Cafe – in spite of the fact this café is a cheap and tasty place to eat – a rare combination in London because it’s mostly very expensive – they also serve food super-fast. A quick tube ride will easily get you from the O2 to this genuine English diner.
- Heroica Lounge – is not the healthiest food choice. They mostly have pizzas and alcohol on their menu. In fact, this café is very unusual. It’s simply a double-decker bus with just four tables inside. The pizza is always fresh and a 15-minute cable car ride can bring you to the O2 Arena from there.
- The Oiler Bar – the bar is located just near Heroica Lounge mentioned above. If you want to spend a lazy afternoon in a cosy waterfront location and get a few drinks, this should be an idyllic place for you. However, it’s mostly about the drinks and they only serve food on Saturdays.
- Pepenero – they mostly serve Italian food including pizza, pasta, grilled fish, and seafood. The salads are also very good and they certainly have some nice vegetarian dishes. In general, it’s a lovely place to eat at a reasonable price within a few steps from the O2.
- Clipper Bar – its location is also perfect for every person who comes to attend the magnificent O2 Arena. The restaurant looks luxurious but the prices are still affordable. It’s impossible not to fall in love with the amazing views of the Canary Wharf area. Their food is also brilliant.
- Peninsula Restaurant – prepare yourself for the world-quality restaurant situated right next to the O2 Arena. The fantastic city views, exclusive and delicious meals, and professional warm attitude from the staff will make your dinner exceptional. The only drawback is a high price.
Things to see at the stadium
‘The innovation’ is the second name of the arena and there are quite a few unique things you can experience there. Among them are Up at the O2 climbing, an exclusive movie theatre Cineworld, VIP Hollywood Bowl, and an adrenaline-fueled Oxygen Freejumping. Also, an immersive theatrical and dining experience, Mamma Mia! The Party is launching in spring 2019.
If you want to experience something really breath-taking, climb over the O2 Arena’s roof and enjoy the 360-degree view on the landmarks up to 15 miles away during the day, soak up the sunset during a special Sunset Climb, or experience a thrilling Twilight Climb and see the stars. Celebration Climbs are also available for special events. The prices vary from £30 to £46.50 and you can check the schedule and read more about the O2 Arena climb options here.
As I’ve mentioned above, The O2 Arena has plenty of surprising activities to offer. For example, check out Cineworld. It has recently installed ScreenX the first multi-projection cinema technology in the world. It creates an unbelievable 270-degree film viewing experience which can cause a true revolution in the film industry. You will also love Hollywood Bowl with a great range of fun-filled amusements for every age and the Hollywood Diner. Lastly, don’t forget about Oxygen Freejumping with two floors of pure fun for all visitors. Try their new trampoline park, high ropes course, thrilling obstacle course, and much more.
Things to do in London
The capital of Great Britain is one of the most iconic cities in the world. There are tons of obvious and hidden attractions, wonderful landmarks, super cool activities, and unique events to experience in London all year round. Among the best free London attractions are the British Museum, Natural History Museum, National Gallery, William Morris Gallery, Houses of Parliament and historic palaces, East London street art, amazing parks like the Greenwich Park located not far from the O2 Arena, and much more.
The number of great London tours is countless. The original double-decker bus tour costs about £30 and it has a lot of variations. It clearly can become an essential introduction to the British capital. The fun way to discover more hidden gems is to take one of “free” walking tours in London. They are normally based on a pay-what-you-feel basis so the tour itself is free but you are expected to give tips. In any case, the value of such tour is often terrific. Some of the guides are specialized in British history, modern culture, Harry Potter theme, food, pubs, and even ghosts and spirits of this wonderful city.
- GetYourGuide – book the tours.
Top 3 places to visit
Museum of London – although this spot usually stays off touristic radars, it’s really worth visiting. The museum provides a thrilling walk through epochs from hoary antiquity to the modern information age. As a bonus, they have a wonderful café onsite.
Kensington Gardens – is a magnificent trove of treasures that won’t leave you indifferent. Among them are the Albert Memorial, the Serpentine Gallery, the Peter Pan Statue, the Diana Memorial Playground, and the Round Pond. All of these places are free to visit and enjoy.
The View from The Shard – if you haven’t heard about the tallest building in Western Europe since 2012, now you know it. The Shard is a 95-story supertall skyscraper. A spectacular 360-degree city viewing platform is another must see in London.