What?: Wankily named cable-car link ferrying a maximum of 2,500 passengers an hour between two fairly obscure riverside locations. Waterloo & City Line this ain’t, though this rather precarious mode of transport hardly lends itself to rush-hour hordes (despite offering a sped-up service during peak commuter times). I can’t say I ever found myself pre-2012 standing on Greenwich Peninsula thinking “if only there was a fast and scenic way to get to the Royal Docks from here”, but it’s a novelty and an activity in itself if you stay aboard for the round-trip.
We did a single, starting in North Greenwich and alighting at the Royal Docks after a potentially anticlimactic but actually quite thrilling 10-minute ride. Provided you don’t rock up when it’s mega busy you’re pretty much guaranteed your own car, with one swinging onto the boarding platform every 15 seconds. Buggies are welcomed and the whole thing is a much more low-key, DIY affair than one would expect given the way they wank on about ‘flights’ and ‘experiences’ like it’s bloody space tourism. We pretty much just tapped in as normal then hopped on and off. I mean it’s only a ruddy cable car at the end of the day.
The views are obviously amazing and neither me nor Babu freaked out anything like I was expecting us to given my fear of flying and her fear of motion. It’s a little bit bumpy but definitely not scary, unless you have acrophobia in which case obviously don’t do this. You will also probably need an additional activity near your boarding or alighting point (or both). We walked from Royal Docks to the Thames Barrier Park, which I wouldn’t really recommend as it involved a grim trudge along a dual carriageway that totally wasn’t worth it and made us all cross. Instead try checking out NOW! Gallery‘s latest immersive installation; The Line sculpture trail, which runs around the O2, the Royal Docks and along the River Lea and canals; or – in the summer months – the Urban Beach on the Royal Docks side.
Where and When?: The Emirates Air Line is open seven days a week from 7am on weekdays, 8am Saturdays and 9am Sundays. Closing times vary from 10 and 11pm, depending on the season and day of the week.
Best Bits: The view, obviously.
Worst Bits: It’s a pretty short ride, but still one of those things you should probably do.
Facilities: Step-free access.
Cost: A single boarding pass costs £4.50 for an adult and £2.30 for a child, while pay-as-you-go Oyster/contactless rates are £3.50 for an adult and £1.70 for a child (under-5s go free).
Would We Come Back?: Sure, why not?
Bab enjoys the view on board the Emirates Air Line, North Greenwich.