WHAT TO DO ON A FAMILY DAY OUT AT THE O2, LONDON
The O2 is well known as the home of great music and events but how does it fare as a destination in its own right?
What can families do if they want to spend a day there?
We were invited to spend the day at the venue and create an itinerary to suit even the most discerning (we mean fussiest) child.
Make the journey part of the adventure and travel by the Thames Clipper even if the weather is terrible (and it was a little cloudy when we went) the fact you’re on a boat as opposed to a train or car gets the day off to a great start. Kids go free with a Family River Roamer ticket leaving you free to explore all London has to offer with this all-day hop-on, hop-off ticket for 2 adults and up to 3 children. The services run to and from most of London’s major piers including Westminster, London Eye, Bankside, Tower, Greenwich and North Greenwich - a five-minute walk to The O2. Tickets from £32.60 when you book online
Kids have to be aged 9 and at least 1.2m tall and accompanied an adult (at a 1:1 ratio) and it’s not overly challenging so the kids shouldn’t find it too hard. Wear comfy clothes and thick socks and after a safety briefing they’ll provide you a climb suit, boots and harness for what we like to call urban mountaineering. You climb to the top of The O2 via a walkway 52m above ground level and on a clear day you can see up to 15 miles away.
The kids gave this five out of five and we were in there for 90 minutes. It’s all very techy and kids can enjoy colouring in, personality tests, driving simulations, virtual reality driving on the latest Nissan models, PS3 based driving games (the game lasts 4 minutes and thankfully the queues aren’t super long – we waited for around 10 minutes).
Parents get to sit in new cars and learn about innovations in clean driving and the latest models from Nissan. If you’re aged 25 or over and have a UK driving licence, you can take a Nissan for a test drive right outside The O2. Some experiences are for kids age 14+ but there’s more than enough to keep younger kids entertained. Did we mention it’s all free?
Another free activity which takes around 30 – 45 minutes, what’s happening at Sky Studios changes seasonally, we’ve enjoyed mini golf and a Disney Frozen extravaganza in the past. This time it was very Sky focused with the chance to read the news in the Sky Studio (so much fun) and dive into the world of sport upstairs.
We played being the commentator, the umpire, the pundit and the F1 driver and if your phone has a QR reader, everything you do can be recorded/photographed and all your pictures and videos will be saved and can be watched again when you’re at the home on the Sky Live website.
All this activity makes you hungry and our favourite place to eat at The O2 is Cabana Brasil for some good old fashion Brazilian BBQ. The food is flavourful, generously portioned and the staff aren’t freaked out by boisterous children.
A colourful kid’s menu with a word search, colouring in and quizzes keeps them occupied while you enjoy a well-deserved drink from the bar for being such an awesome parent and taking them out for the day! Check the Cabana website for ‘Kids Eat Free’ (and 2 for 1 on cocktails) and other money saving deals. Price wise you’re looking at around £20 a head including drinks for the adults.
Check before you go, but if you can take the Thames Clipper home, do. There’s zero traffic and you can’t beat the splendour that is London at night.
We’ve barely touched the surface of what’s available for families to do at The O2 in London, There’s the cinema, bowling, regular events and exhibitions and we saw friends from school there on birthday days out – adults might think of The O2 purely as a music or events venue but kids will enjoy the place as a destination for a fun family day out in London.