#403: Fly London on the Emirates Air Line

Royal Victoria Docks Terminal, Emirates Air Line.

So many of these 1,000 London Things involve slowing down to look at the view. Sometimes there’s nothing you need more in a pulsing city like this than to stop in the middle of everything (no matter how much it annoys everyone who has to walk around you) and remember that you are part of this system.

You are this place, and this place is you.

#403: Dangle on the cable car.


The Emirates Air Line, more popularly known as the Thames cable car or the coolest way to get across the river, opened last year, just in time for the 2012 Olympics in London.

Gondola cabins that can hold about 8 people cross the river at a peak of 300 feet, leaving you hard pressed to decide whether to gaze at the gorgeous views of Canary Wharf and the O2 to the west or the Connaught Bridge and the new Docklands housing to the east.


This is one of my favourite parts of London, where old meets new and the result hasn’t fully been worked out yet. Crossing over the Thames in this part of the city shows you the sights, as well as its grit.

This area looks nothing like it did 20 years ago, let alone 50 or 100 years ago (the picture of hundreds of elephant tusks neatly stacked and sorted on the Ivory Floor still makes my jaw drop), so how much longer can we really think it will look like this? I’m sure if a lot of Londoners had their way, the Emirates Air Line wouldn’t exist anymore and would be doomed to the scrap heap of fantastic but uneconomical ideas.


I recently read this beautiful sentiment in the Kentish Towner about another London view, one I visited in my first post about Parliament Hill, and it still echoes true for other London views we cherish:

This is to be our view, but it will certainly not be the only view… the shape of the city laid out in front continues to shift. A living, breathing entity. When viewed collectively, the buildings display characteristics beyond the bold statements intended by their architects.

Who knows what this view, this system, this place will look like when we finally land.


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