Emirates Skyline

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Greenwich, England

Emirates Skyline Greenwich Reviews

sarahelaine sarahela…
651 reviews
Emirates Skyline Sep 29, 2012
The Emirates Skyline opened up in the Olympic games this summer, and is presumably part of our much promised Olympic Legacy. The government slashed the more logical legacy of grass roots sports, but private sponsorship means that we now have a pretty much permanent cable car from Victoria Docks (the Excel Conference centre and a decent Caribbean restaurant) to the O2 arena (formerly the Millennium Dome, home of the British Music Experience, an arena, a cinema and every chain restaurant known to man). The cable car is comfortable, and modern, with huge windows. There isn’t a tour commentary so you’re on your own guessing the towers on the skyline.

Snark aside, the cable car is very cool. It towers over the Thames and there are great views of the city, and the whole way along the Estuary to Southend. The view West shows the size of London, from Greenwich and the financial centre of Canary Wharf inwards to the towers in the city and the Shard south of the river. Eastwards, you can see the industrial Thames Estuary, with its remaining factories, the garbage barges that keep the city clean and the river out to the container ports at Tilbury, with Southend the distant towers on the horizon. Slightly to the North West of the skyline is the Olympic Park, easily spotted because the Orbit must be about the maddest structure in England. This would have been more impressive on a clearer day, but even in drizzle and cloud it’s pretty impressive.

There is a slight problem with the service as, at the time of writing, people aren’t allowed on the cable cars when a ship goes under it. Given that it is very, very high in the air, this seems like an overkill precaution, but then I am not a cable car engineer. I presume this is more of a problem at peak times, when the intention is that the cars are speeded up and used as a commuter service. It is a complete mystery to me who would be commuting by cable car rather than by the DLR, especially as it runs from one windswept conference centre to another one, but perhaps one has more car parking than the other one. It makes a lot more sense as an attraction if you think of it in terms of a ride over the Thames to add to a trip to the O2.

It isn’t actually terribly expensive, at about £8 return, with a discount if you are using an Oyster card. With an Oyster, you can tap in like you are just getting on a tube, but otherwise there might be a bit of a queue. Disabled access actually looked OK, and you’d be fine taking kids.
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