Address: Peninsula Square, London SE10 0DX


Phone: 0208 463 2000

Entry Price: Free, but cost for shows

3200m from Westcombe Park

150m from North Greenwich

Opened on January 1st 2000 and originally called the Millennium Dome, the O2 Arena was built as part of the celebrations to mark the year 2000 and is located on the Greenwich peninsula by the Thames.

It was the idea of the government’s Millennium Committee in 1994 and the project was implemented by Tony Blair when coming to power in 1997. It originally held the ‘Millennium Experience’, an exhibition of 14 zones which portrayed Body, Faith, Work, Money, Talk, Rest, Play, Mind, Learning, Journey, Home Planet, Living Island, Shared Ground and Self Portrait.

The building cost £750m, which was largely funded by the National Lottery, and is the largest single-roofed structure in the world. Its tent-like design, supported by twelve metal support towers was designed by Richard Rogers and built by McAlpine/Laing. It is made of plastic coated glass fibre. The 12 towers represent the months of the year or the hours on a clock face in recognition of Greenwich’s historic importance to time, with the world’s Prime Meridian line actually running through the site. The structure is 52m high (weeks in a year) and has a diameter of 365m (days in a year) and has a life until 2018 when developers can redevelop the site.

After the first twelve months visitor expectations hadn’t materialised and it was closed. What followed were many years of debate as to its best use. A sports arena or casino were suggested, but it was renamed the O2 Arena in 2005 and opened as an entertainment venue. It has 20,000 seats and is used for a host of events that have included music, sports events, comedy, ice shows, X Factor, church and scout events and New Year celebrations.

The first performance in the O2 Arena was a private function in June 2007 that included Tom Jones and Peter Kay. Music band Bon Jovi starred in the first public performance the next day.

Due to its recognisable design, the Dome has become one of the most famous landmarks in London.

Click on the pics below for an enlarged view and use the arrow towards the right edge of each pic to go on to the next.