Emirates Airline

O2 Arena from Emirates Airline

It’s half term week, which means getting to spend a few days with at least one of my nephews if I’m lucky. Today was super lucky: a nephew and a clear sunny winter morning, perfect for sightseeing over great distances and from great heights. Perfect, in fact, to try out the Thames cable car, otherwise known as the Emirates Airline.

It’s really good. We were lucky enough to get there slightly earlier than the crowds, so it wasn’t going at full speed. We were also lucky to be carrying Oyster PAYG cards; not only does this mean cheaper travel on the cable car, it also means skipping the long queue of people buying tickets.

It’s definitely worth travelling from north of the river: there’s lots of car parks at the Millennium Dome, so lots of people seem to park there and then do a round trip. Coming from the north (from Royal Victoria DLR stop) meant far fewer people queuing to embark.

This is branding in the modern age, of course: taking the Serco DLR to the Emirates Airline to travel to the O2, followed perhaps by the NatWest clipper down to the BA EDF Energy London Eye (or hiring a Barclays bike if the boat is not your thing). 

Grumbling about branding aside, the cable car offers great views across east London. It’s especially fun if you live there and can recognise lots of familiar places.

The cable car also surprisingly quiet: most of the noise today came from the wind (it was a very windy day but that didn’t make the cars rock, so it was still comfortable). In hindsight that makes sense – there’s no noisy engines, you’re just drifting along pulled by the cable. If I’d been on more cable cars, I’d have remembered that.

 If you’re in London on a sunny day and have some time to spare, I definitely recommend it. It’s better value than the London Eye (although the views are slightly less iconic).

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