When SuperBreak’s Maisie found out she had tickets to see Gary Barlow live at the O2 Arena in London, she decided to make a weekend of it. Find out what she got up to on her London break right here…
Unlike many I’m not an avid Gary Barlow fan, but when the opportunity arose to host at the SuperBreak suite at the O2 Arena in London for the night of his show, I thought why not! I know my mum was a big Take That fan back in the day, and it seemed the perfect opportunity to have some quality mother-daughter time together and enjoy a short break in London at the same time!
Up bright and early on the Saturday morning in order to make a weekend of it, we enjoyed a quick coffee at York train station before getting the 9am East Coast train to London. Despite the train being really busy with hoards of people from the North-East escaping to the capital for a weekend, the 2 hour journey was relatively hassle-free and we arrived in London late morning ready for the very busy weekend ahead of us!
We decided to head to the hotel first to drop our bags off and were pleasantly surprised to be told our room was already ready! As we’re saving for our big trip to New York this summer, we opted for the Imperial Hotel in Russell Square. This 3* hotel is perfect for the budget-conscious traveller, and its central location only 1 stop away from Kings Cross on the tube makes it the perfect base for a weekend in London.
After a quick pit-stop, we headed off to St Paul’s Cathedral for the afternoon. I’ve been a frequent visitor to the capital over the years, yet somehow I’ve never been to this spectacular building so this seemed like the perfect way to spend a few hours before the O2. Booking our entry tickets through SuperBreak meant not only did we receive a discount off the on-the-day prices, but we were able to bypass the long queue of people waiting for admission.
Once inside, I was blown away by the stunning architecture of this grand cathedral and spent most of my time here staring in amazement at the ornate ceilings and world-famous dome. A must-do while at St Paul’s is to climb the 250-odd steps up to the Whispering Gallery and hear the clear voices of people whispering to each other from opposite sides of the dome, you can even have a go yourself if you like!
The evening soon came round though – after freshening up we made our way to the O2 Arena to see Gary Barlow himself. Once again, we were able to skip the huge queues of people in the main part of the O2, and head straight into the VIP area of the arena where there is a bar and plenty of seating for people – another perk of the tickets in our SuperBreak suite! This was my first time at the O2 and in the suite, and I was pleasantly surprised by everything. Not only do you have a superb view of the stage, but there is also your own bar in the box and the option of ordering food to the suite should you wish!
After warm up act, Eliza Doolittle had been on stage performing a few songs to get the audience in the mood, including probably her most known song ‘Pack Up’, I wasn’t really sure what to expect from Gary Barlow. Let’s face it, he is a lot more well-known musically for his part in Take That and not so much for his solo songs. I told a friend about going and her response was “What is he going to sing though? I only know one song and that’s Rollercoaster” to which I replied, “I think you’re thinking of Ronan Keating!”. She then proceeded to say “Oh well they are quite similar, both of them are Irish at least” - Oh dear!
Despite my reservations though, I was rather amazed by the show Gary put on! He performed a selection of his own material including my personal favourite ‘Requiem’, along with some Take That classics such as ‘Greatest Day’, ‘Back for Good’, and with the help of Eliza Doolittle, ‘Shine’. Mixed in with this were some covers including Robbie Williams’ ‘Candy’ which really got the crowd, including me, up on their feet. The concert really did finish on a high too with the show-stopping grand finale being ‘Rule the World’, and by this point every one of the 40 people in the box were up on their feet having a good sing and dance!
The fun-filled weekend didn’t stop there for us though – after a full English breakfast at the hotel we were up and out by 10.30am on Sunday morning ready for a day of exploring another world-famous London landmark, The Tower of London. After my mum had got over her amazement of seeing real-life beefeaters and making me take numerous photos of her with them, we made our way towards the building which is home to the fabulous Crown Jewels – a must see for everyone when in London – followed by many of the other buildings and exhibitions. Of course, a trip to any attraction isn’t complete without a visit to the on-site café though, and I must say this is one of the best I have come across with a wide choice of delicious food on offer!
All in all, we had a brilliant time on our short break in London and can’t wait to go back again soon! Roll on Robbie Williams in July!
What amazing London sights have caught your eye recently? Have you seen also seen Gary Barlow perform live on stage? Share your experiences of music events at the O2 Arena London using the comments box below.