A fun and cheap family day out at The O2

We recently visited one of London's landmarks for a family day out. The O2 invited us to experience the range of family activities offered and it turned out there were surprisingly many family activities to do! We got ourselves filmed at Sky Studio, drove a race car at the Nissan Innovation Centre, grabbed a bite, searched for Pokemon and saw a film at the Cineworld. Turns out, The O2 is actually a great place to have a fun family day out. 

father and child walking toward the o2 entrance

the o2 from the river

mother kissing daughter in front of the o2

A fun (and cheap) family day out in London - at The O2. A great place to spend a rainy day in London is The O2. There are several cheap and free activities for children, such as film studios and virtual car driving, and several inexpensive restaurants to choose from. Check my top tips on what to do on a rainy day in London, or when you want to have a cheap family day out in London, UK.

Living in London I've known The O2 for ages. They host big concerts, and there are restaurants too. And that's about it what I knew about it! I've been there twice before. Once to see Peter Gabriel concert, and the second time when we popped by for lunch after visiting the Emirates Airline (review of that experience coming up soon!). This was the third time I visited The O2 and I was quite surprised that you could do so many things over there. 

You can arrive to The O2 by car, tube, or my favourite way, the boat. MBNA Thames Clippers do easy hop-on, hop-off services you can pay with an Oyster card. I always recommend people to take the boat when travelling in London - it feels like a much more fun way to travel, and you get to enjoy all the views too. Depending where you catch the boat from you could get to see Westminster, St Paul's, The Tower, Canary Wharf and Greenwich, all in one big swoop. 

the sky studios entrance at the o2

a wall with congratulations and drawings for chris foome for winning tour de france

mother and daughter taking a picture in front of green screen at the sky studios at the o2

toddler looking at an image of themselves with cartoons at sky studios

a picture of a toddler superimposed with paw patrol

the sky studios at the o2 news desk

toddler wearing headphones at the sky studios at the o2 news desk

We visited Sky Studios first. The theme of Sky Studios changes every few months, summer 2016 the theme is sports. My daughter especially loved getting her picture taken with various cartoon characters, such as Paw Patrol. These were done in a photo booth type setting. She also loved the football game that had been set up.  Other activities included racing bicycles, being a news anchor (this was great fun!), and getting your picture taken on a green screen with footballers. 

Midday we stopped by for lunch at ASK Italian. There are lots of chain restaurants to choose from which was great - you can find anything from sushi to steak - and I would say most were very family friendly. 

ask italian restaurant at the o2

Second activity we did was the Nissan Innovation Station. Our daughter loved sitting in the car and pretending to drive it. In fact, there were lots of toddlers and pre-schoolers climbing in and out of the cars and it was quite hyper over there. 

You could test drive virtual reality cars, race cars and Paralympic racing wheelchairs, which was great fun. My favourite part of the Nissan Innovation Station was doing the race car stimulation, which is the same equipment Formula One drivers use to practice - it was great fun and I wasn't too bad considering I don't actually drive! We also both (virtual) road tested the Nissan electric car. 

nissan innovation station at the o2

toddler looking at a car at nissan innovation station at the o2

red nissan qashqai at nissan innovation station at the o2

race car simulation at nissan innovation station at the o2

driving the race car simulation experience at nissan innovation station at the o2

Our final activity of the day was the cinema. We went to see Finding Dory at the huge Cineworld they have at The O2. We were still stuffed from our lunch at the ASK Italian, so tummy's full of pizza we didn't indulge on any pop corn this time. If you liked Finding Nemo, you have to see Finding Dory too - it was such a wonderful film.  

cineworld escalators at the o2

walking inside the corridor at cineworld theatres at the o2

Doing all these activities kept us busy from 11AM to 5PM so that was a full day out. This kind of a day would be a perfect rainy day outing - or alternatively if you just want a pretty cheap and fuss-free day out. 

Top tips:

  • Age range - there are fun things for all ages, although I think it is best for school aged and pre-teens - especially the driving experiences!
  • Sky Studios is busiest 1-5PM. Visit early or late!
  • Nissan Innovation Centre gets busy too, so if possible try time your visit early or late.
  • Arrive in style - you can take the tube but it is so much more fun to take the boat, especially on a beautiful sunny day. You get to see all the major London sight too in less than an hour! 
  • Don't forget - The Emirates Airline is just outside The O2 and on a beautiful day well worth a visit for the views. 

father and child walking at the mbna thames clippers pier at the o2

the o2 from a boat on the river

mbna thames clippers on the river going towards the o2

father and daughter riding on the mbna thames clipper boat service

the tower bridge from the river boat

the tower entry to the traitor's gate from the riverside from a boat

the london tower from the boat on the riverside

Have you ever been to The O2? What did you think?

You might also like: 11 fun things to do with toddlers in summer London, and London with toddlers: Tower Bridge Exhibition


  1. Paw patrol!! My boys would LOVE the Sky Studios just for that. Arriving by boat sounds fab! #CityTripping

    1. My daughter absolutely loved that part - she is a huge fan too! :)

  2. I've visited the O2 a couple of times and agree that the boat is the best way to arrive. The cable car is fun too. One day I want to do Up the O2 (the climb to the top)...., #citytripping

    1. Yeah the climb looked like it would be fun to do too - not suitable for families with young kids though as you need to be a bit older. The views are gorgeous from up there!

  3. Really interesting to hear about your experience Sanna. The O2 doesn't immediately spring to mind as a place to take the kids but clearly there's loads to do. My daughter liked the pic of yours with the Paw Patrol characters! I really need to take a boat ride and do the cable car too. Thanks for linking to #citytripping

    1. It doesn't really sounds like a family friendly place, and I was really surprised how much you can do over there. Before I went I had no idea they even had a cinema there! Cable car ride is fab too, that was something I have wanted to do for ages!

      Thanks for hosting!

  4. I don't think I realised quite how much there is to do at the O2 with kids (although I quite fancy the climb for myself, neither that nor the concerts spring to mind with my daughter). Next time I want an excuse for a boat ride on the Thames, which I love, I shall have to head here. Thanks for linking up with #citytripping

    1. It is pretty interesting, and I was pleasantly surprised at what you can do over there. The boat ride is fab too as you get to see all the important landmarks in London, killing a few birds with one boat ride :D

      Thanks for hosting!

  5. What a full day out. I bet you were exhausted. I agree that a boat ride on the river is the best way to see London - less crowd and great views! Thanks for linking up with the new #MondayEscapes and hope to see you again next time! X

    1. The boat rides are fab, and I was a bit of a latecomer on those, and I only really started using them two years back. But once I first ventured on a boat, I totally think it is the best way to see London. Thanks for hosting :)

  6. It looks like there's so much to do, I'd forgotten how much there is. We've been a few times many years ago but before we had children. We definitely need to go back!

    1. It was surprising how much stuff you can do there with kids. Not just eating food and a cinema... And of course, there is the cable car too close by which is worth visiting on a pretty day.

  7. Been there in year 2000 when it was called Millenium Dome. Would be cool to visit again!

    1. You should, next time you come back to London! :)


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