The O2 Arena is a huge metal tent lying on a bend of the Thames near Greenwich. When it opened it was the largest single-roofed building in the world, tall enough to accommodate Nelson’s Column standing upright, or the Eiffel Tower on its side.
It was originally conceived as one of London’s millennium projects, alongside the London Eye and Jubilee Line extension.
Millennium Dome exhibition
The original idea was to turn the Millennium Dome into a 21st-century equivalent of the 1851 Great Exhibition in Hyde Park, but the plans were ill-conceived and poorly thought out, and suffered from massive public apathy. It didn’t help that the exhibits were rather less than enthralling.
The venue was split into 14 zones: Body, Work, Learning, Money, Play, Journey, Self Portrait, Living Island, Talk, Faith, Home Planet, Rest, Mind, and Shared Ground, but over-optimistic visitor numbers meant the government was called on to bail it out.
The Millennium Dome still managed to attract more than 6.5 million visitors in its first year of operation, so it was hardly a disaster, but it was clear that it wouldn’t last very long as a tourist attraction, and the government started looking for a buyer.
Many alternative plans were proposed for the Dome after its closure, and there was talk of turning it into a casino, a sports venue, and a music arena with shops and offices. The mobile communication company O2 eventually won out, and turned it into a spectacular entertainment complex called the O2 Arena.
Under the rim of the tent you’ll find lots of pubs and restaurants, a cinema, and a smaller music venue called the Indigo.
Guest – “Such an amazing landmark I wish 2 see it again wiv my family it will be the best ting ever .”
Guest – “Was supposed to be going to the guns n roses concert. The o2 unwilling to provide any indication of when the acts would be onstage. Clearly the plan is to have fans stood around drinking overpriced beer for as long as possible. The venue's reaction to long shows is for them to finish well after the tube has shut down, allowing them to hike the car parking price (£20 to park on an evening is disgusting), or try to fleece people for a boat trip. Will give the concert a miss, and never go anywhere near the place again. From previous visits the arena is ok, as long as you are not in the upper tier, but outside is a soulless corporate dump full of chain restaurants, and no hint of any character. My advice is that unless it is a band you are absolutely desperate to see, then avoid the place like the plague, and go to the brixton academy instead.”
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