- Travel across the River Thames from Greenwich to the Royal Docks from 300ft in the air.
- Check out some of the best views in London, and see if you can spot all the famous landmarks.
- Complete a full loop of the cable car ride with the unique Discovery Experience.
- Board a simulated plane and sit in the pilot's seat at the Emirates Aviation Experience.
Whether you're on a visit to the capital or are a Londoner through and through, the Emirates Air Line is a truly unique way to see the city from a whole new perspective. Not to be confused with the Emirates airline, where you might catch a plane, the Air Line is a genius component of London's TfL system that provides a cable car over the Thames. The 30-minute journey between Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Docks, to the north of the river, allows you to take in some of the most spectacular views of London, and can be boarded using your contactless or Oyster card.
Having opened in 2012, the Emirates Air Line has proved a popular attraction for tourists and London residents alike. Costing only £1.70 for a child's fare, or £3.50 for an adult, a ride on the cable car is comparable to the price of a standard Tube ticket at rush hour, except with fantastic views of London, and of course, the novelty of being in the sky! The Air Line starts near North Greenwich Tube station, on the Greenwich Peninsula, and drops you off at the Royal Docks, near the Royal Victoria DLR station. As you travel over the River Thames you'll be able to see some of the most famous landmarks in London and indeed, the whole of the United Kingdom. The ride begins right next to the famous and distinctive O2 Arena, which is hard to miss. To the south you'll be able to see the Cutty Sark, a historical ship from the 19th century, that is permanently moored in Greenwich. A little further, you'll also be able to spy the Royal Observatory, also in Greenwich, which has been around for nearly 400 years. To the left, check out the buildings of Canary Wharf, and in the distance you might also be able to spot some famous central London landmarks.
While the journey on the cable car is short, it is definitely worth trying out if you are a fan of the London skyline. If you happen to be around near sunset, try and see if you can get on the Emirates Air Line then, as this is the time the sky looks the most impressive, and the River Thames reflects beautifully. Once you have come off the cable car, you can either explore the rest of London or head back down to Greenwich. To head into London, you can hop on the DLR at the Royal Docks and head to Canning Town, where you can catch the tube into the city centre. Alternatively, there is plenty to explore at the Royal Docks including the Siemens Crystal, a sustainable design venue, or The Line, a sculpture trail that features work by Martin Creed, Damien Hirst and more.
If you choose to head back to Greenwich, there is also plenty to do, not least visit the Emirates Airline Experience. Located at the base of the Emirates Air Line itself, this attraction includes simulated flights, and is perfect for anyone with an interest in aviation, especially kids! If you want to make the most of your Emirates Air Line experience, you can also take it a step further and invest in the Discovery Experience. Here, for an extra charge, you can travel all the way round on the cable car to Greenwich, and you'll also get free entry to the Emirates Aviation Experience. The infamous O2 building, formerly known as the Millennium Dome, has become a fixture of the London skyline. Here, there are often events, concerts and more in the O2 Arena, with shops, restaurants and more circling the outside. You can also head down into Greenwich, where you'll find free galleries at the National Maritime Museum, and the beautiful Greenwich Park which is complete with a Deer Park and the Royal Observatory. Or, as you wander towards Cutty Sark and Greenwich station, you'll find a selection of great local shops, stalls and places to get souvenirs. If you want to grab some food on your day out, the Emirates Aviation Experience Cafe is a great place to enjoy some locally baked cakes, as well as snacks, drinks, sandwiches and paninis. Alternatively, you'll find a wide array of places to eat nearby, including chain restaurants such as Wagamama, local eateries, and places to eat inside the O2 building.
What to know before you go
- Emirates Air Line opening times are from 7am - 9pm from Monday - Thursday, 7am - 10pm on Fridays, 8am - 10pm on Sundays and bank holidays, and 9am - 9pm on Sundays.
- Emirates Air Line has level access and is accessible for wheelchairs, motor scooters, and buggies, with a maximum weight limit of 300kg.
- You can pay using contactless or an Oyster card. A discount is automatically applied if you use Oyster pay as you go.
- Children under the age of 5 go free, and children under 12 need to be accompanied by an adult.
- There are not toilets or baby-changing facilities available at the Emirates Air Line terminals, but there are toilets and accessible toilets at the Emirates Aviation Experience.
- A maximum of 10 people can fit in a cabin at any one time, and you can hire cabins privately for £90.
- It is advised that you take public transport to get to Emirates Air Line, but if you do choose to drive you can get there via the M25, taking the Edmund Halley Way or Millennium Way junctions and following the signs for the O2. The Emirates Air Line is located outside the congestion zone.
- Pay-and-display parking is available nearby at the O2, but prices vary.
- Emirates Air Line is located a short five-minute walk from North Greenwich tube station, which is a 20-minute ride on the Jubilee line from central London.
- There are many buses that pass by North Greenwich station, including the 188 from central London.
- You can also get to the Emirates Air Line by boat, by travelling to the North Greenwich Pier from central London with the MBNA Thames Clippers.
- If travelling by bike, you can head along the Thames Cultural Route and extend your ride to Greenwich. Or, if hiring a bike, there are 500 bike racks outside North Greenwich Station.