I was reading a book to my 5 year old son – we came across a picture of a cable car. I did try to explain but the concept remained a little vague to him. It wasn’t a train, nor a boat or a plane. It was hybrid. Oh but wait – London has its own cable car, less known by tourists as a little away from the centre, but so easy to get to on the Jubilee Line.
How does it work? There are two stations, one at North Greenwich (near the O2), the other at Royal Victoria. You can choose the starting point, whether to go one way or both.
Why did we love it? Because it was such a nice family time. We left from North Greenwich to try the Aviation Experience beside the ticket office (ideal – O2 for concerts, lots of restaurants around, a cinema, an exhibition space. You can now climb on the dome). Inside we learned the little secrets of the A380 – what the engine looks like, how such a heavy machine can fly… Kids can even sit in the cockpit, press the buttons, manoeuvre the handles and pretend they’re piloting it. It only costs a few pounds and you can upgrade your ticket to jump on a flight simulator.
Time for the cable car. While waiting for it to arrive, we took a quick glimpse at the garage on the side where the capsule sometimes are stationed. You can even get a few maintenance tips from the staff! Time to go in, time to go up but no worry: this is a really smooth, stable ride. It goes high enough to wow you, just the right height to still see lots of details. At first, it feels rather familiar – O2, Canary Wharf, the Thames Barrier. The other bank is more intriguing – the Excel, a basin where you notice sporty Londoners kayaking and water skiing. The white boat over there is the Sunborn, a yacht-hotel, pure luxury. I think we left quite a few fingerprints on the windows – we were under the spel. It’s a very different side of the city.
At Royal Victoria, we took a stroll along the water. On summer afternoons, you can have a drink on boat/bar there. Or you could picnic in the little garden in front of the Crystal, said to be one of the world’s most sustainable buildings. It is indeed quite beautiful with its angular, mirror sided structure… Inside? A clever exhibition presenting the future of our cities through interactive games – great with children. The DLR is just across the road.
All in all? You can make a whole day of it. And you have flown above the Thames!
Even more magical? Try at sunset…