I’ve checked out London in the Sky yesterday, after Ms B found a steep discount online for their Prosecco & Cake 11:00am 45-minute experience (£62.10 instead of £109.00, now expired, no complaints). It’s impossible to miss them, if you take the main exit of North Greenwich tube station and walk towards the main entrance of the O2 Arena. They’ll be right there, slightly to your left, literally when you walk out of the tube station.
There are two giant mobile cranes, each of which has a seating-arrangement (roughly 20 chairs around a table, covered with a roof, but with any floor missing) dangling on a chain from the respective end of the extended arm.
I’ve been doing so many activities involving heights lately, that it feels silly to mention it every time, but I feel it is important. Hopefully it will encourage some of you, who have similar issues, to overcome your fear: I’m severely afraid of heights. I very truly am, no kidding.
London in the Sky is part of the global Dinner in the Sky group, which was founded in Belgium in 2006 and has since expanded into 63 countries.
I had come across them on Instagram and was immediately fascinated by the idea. Everyone enjoys good food, and everyone enjoys good views. Why not combine the two in a spectacular way. Well, I thought, not everyone enjoys being tied to a leather seat that is connected to a steel frame in front of you by just a thin metal arm. With nothing else between you and 30 vertical metres of thin air. I could name one such person right off the top of my head!!
As requested, I arrived 30 minutes early. You show your online booking confirmation to security, then walk the 50 metres over to the reception and café tent, where you check in and can deposit stuff you don’t want to take with you in a box. Nearly everyone in our group went to the toilet before the experience, and it’s probably a good idea, considering that there are no toilet facilities once you’re up there.
15 minutes before lift-off the friendly, professional staff walked us over to one of the two flying tables sitting on the ground next to the tent. They offered to take pictures of the guests, explained the rules, then started seating us and tying our three-point seat belts around us. Everyone’s gear was double-checked at least once by another member of staff.
At 11:00am straight we took off gently. Less than a minute later we were at flying altitude, 30 metres above the ground. I’ll be frank. I was scared senseless for the first few minutes.. frozen stiff, my hands clinging to the table in front of me. Sitting, let’s say, in a small propeller airplane, feels much more removed or separated from the ground, with the floor of the airplane cabin between you and the ground. On this chair, you could see every bit of the ground right below you, when you looked down. And it felt like it’s in your hands, not the hands of an experienced pilot.
Every other person around our table seemed to have the best of times, no one felt even just one bit freaked out. The staff were funny, calming, and encouraging, so I started to relax a bit. They are quite generous on the bubbly, too, which helped. After a couple of glasses I managed to enjoy the views and was able to start taking pictures. I decided to pretend that there was a floor below the table and chair, which works surprisingly well, as long as you don’t look down.
I was not able to eat anything, as I was just too tense, but from what I could see, hear, and gather around me, everyone seemed to be enjoying the little savoury nibbles and the scones with jam and clotted cream. Volunteers to eat my (completely untouched) food were easily found.
(c) last photo above by Dinner in the Sky group, rest (c) BerkeleySqB
I won’t lie, when our table was lowered to the ground after 45 minutes, I was a very happy chappy. Would I recommend this experience? Absolutely. 5 out of 5, if you can find a significant discount. 4.5 out of 5, if you pay full-price.
For more adventures involving heights, check out our posts about rock-climbing near Porto, our helicopter flight around London, the ride on a jetlev, and our skydiving experience (both near Cambridge).