Connecting the Greenwich peninsular with the London Docklands is a cable car. When Boris Johnson first announced that a cable car would be crossing the river Thames, I thought it was an April fool. But no, the Emirates Air Line does exist, although I have to admit that even now, spotting these tiny little cars move across the water while I’m on a train still sparks surprise.
It is not the most useful transport link by any means, unless you have been visiting the ExCel centre and then want to visit the O2, but that doesn’t really matter because it worth much more as a destination in its own right. I took the kiddos down here and we had so much fun. The ride itself is only about ten minutes, but as you approach the Air Line seeing those cars move slowly through the sky is rather exciting, especially for little ones.
You have a few options in terms of tickets to ride. The easiest and the cheapest way to travel is to use a pay as you go Oyster card. At time of writing that costs £3.50 for adults and £1.50 for 5-15 year olds. Under fives are free. The fees don’t count towards your daily Oyster card cap though. There is also a more expensive ticket were you get a return ticket and entry to the Aviation Experience which is next door to the Greenwich terminal , but we haven’t tried that.
When I took Betsy and Arthur onto the Air Line, we arrived after travelling on the DLR to Royal Victoria station. It’s about a five-minute walk from the DLR to the cable car (it could be rather quicker if you don’t have small children with you!) and well signposted. As you approach the terminal, it is less obvious that if you have an Oyster card that you just walk though until you get to the usual ticket barriers, but the place is small and it doesn’t really matter, especially as the staff here are quite possibly the friendliest people you’d hope to meet.
Back during the 2012 Paralympic Games, I travelled on the cable car with a nine month old Betsy in a sling (we’d seen some table tennis, but that’s another story). The Air Line was seriously rammed, with long queues to get on and people being packed into the cars. It is a very different story now. It is so quiet. I can imagine it being busier during the summer holidays, but we visited during the Christmas break and while there were a handful of other tourists and even a couple of commuters, we pretty much had the place to ourselves, which is brilliant because now you get a cable car all to yourself. This makes me excited. When you get to the cars they slowly move along a platform, hop on an empty one, the doors will automatically close and enjoy the ride.
The views are pretty incredible. There are the famous sights like Canary Warf, the O2 and the skyscrapers in the City to look out for, but there is so much happening around the area there are tons of things to spot, including the Crystal Palace transmitter to the golden syrup factory which pleased Betsy very much!
The journey feels short and it definitely not long enough, and the kids (oh, and me) were very reluctant to leave at the end of the journey. It has been something that has been remembered by both Arthur and Betsy and hopefully soon, we’ll have a ride on the Air Line again.
The Air Line is open seven days a week and is totally step free. No loos though! More information here.