I hadn’t been to the Greenwich Peninsula, as it’s now known, for some time and was excited to see what had changed. As I stepped out of the underground station at North Greenwich I couldn’t believe the difference to the area since I was last there. Of course the O2 Arena with it’s iconic white dome was still there as well as numerous bars, restaurants and a few shops but what surprised me most was the amount of building that had gone on. Huge new developments of offices and apartments had sprung up everywhere, the area finally felt like it was being loved again.
The purpose of my visit was to ride the Emirates Air Line, something that I’d wanted to do for a while. It was the U.K.’s first urban cable car and was opened in 2012. The boarding terminal – because of the Emirates Airline sponsorship everything has been given airline terminology – is only a five minute walk from the tube. If you have an Oyster Card then there’s no need to queue for tickets, you just join the line and tap in like you would on the tube or bus. You also get a discounted rate. For those that have to buy tickets the queue wasn’t very long and seemed to move quickly. There are various packages available and you can get more info at tfl.gov.uk/modes/emirates-air-line/
Once upstairs you enter the boarding area, cabins arrive every 30 seconds and each cabin holds 10 people. I thought ten seemed a bit of a tight squeeze but the staff seemed very relaxed and the cabin that I was in only had five people in it.
As the cabin left the boarding terminal and climbed gradually to it’s high of 90 meters you were given spectacular views of the whole area. Highlights for me included seeing the O2 Arena from a completely different view, the Thames Barrier, London City Airport and a unique view of London’s Olympic Park. I was also amazed at the amount of construction going on in this area of the city.
The flight, as they call it, was very smooth and lasted approximately 10 minutes. Now I’m not a fan of heights and in particular being dangled 90 meters above the River Thames on a rope, but I felt really safe up there and actually enjoyed the journey but I was relieved when we finally arrived at the Royal Docks Terminal.
The area around the Royal Docks has also been redeveloped and it’s actually not a bad area to walk around and explore. If you have time you could visit the Museum of London Docklands, Newham City Farm or maybe an exhibition at Excel. As my feet were firmly back on the ground I decided to get the DLR from Royal Docks and head off to another adventure elsewhere.
If you decide to “fly” the Emirates Air Line let me know what you think of it.