Tuesday 17th July – 24th meeting of 2012
This week we went to 02 arena at Greenwich to try out the brand new Emirates Air Line, London’s first cable car across the Thames. This has been erected for ease of transport for the Olympics but is a permanent structure. We met at Costa coffee at 02 as some used trains and some buses. For some unknown reason it started with the spilling of milk, coffee and more coffee but after much hilarity and laugher we left ready for the exciting challenging of flying the cable car!
This has only been open for about two weeks so we were expecting a long queue but were pleasantly surprised. We got our tickets. For us it was £6.40 return ticket with discount, adult return is £8.60, child return is £4.40. We then walked up stairs to the boarding area. The whole process is very slick. Attendants showing you into the cars which do not stop. Each car can hold 10 people and are comfortable. It goes from Emirates Greenwich Peninsula next to 02 area to Emirate Royal Docks and the ExCel Centre convention centre.
The run was very smooth and it reached a height of 90 metres. The views of London are stunning. Thames Barrier, London City Airport, Excel Centre, Royal Naval College, London Eye, The Shard, The Gherkin, Olympic Stadium and Orbit Tower can all be clearly spotted. We all were impressed with the views.
We got off and took the glass lift to the ground. We had a lovely walk along the water’s edge passing the Excel Centre that had soldiers on security duty. This is being used for Boxing, Judo in the forthcoming Olympics. We then walked further on to Royal Victoria Bridge which is strange as you take glass lift to reach the bridge and then walk over the bridge and take another glass lift to ground level. From here we walked along the new develop Britannia Village. Very nice houses along the water front. The design is very good, the old waterside cranes have been left and add character. This whole area was Royal Victoria Docks and has been very well developed.
It was a nice sunny day and we took a slow walk back tracking our steps to the cable car. We took the glass lift to the boarding area. The ride back was really enjoyable. It was a bright clear sunny day which meant the views were spectacular. The time taken was about 7 minutes and the speed can be adjusted from 5 to 10 minutes at peak and off-peak times. We got the glass lift down to ground level and stopped to buy a sandwich and sit in the sun soaking up the atmosphere. There were many people and also lots of olympic personnel walking about. With only two weeks to the start of the games there was a buzz around!
The O2 arena is also being used for the Gymnastics in the Olympics and we were pleased to see another attraction at the 02. You can now walk up one side of the dome, on the top of which is a viewing platform, enjoy the view and then walk down the other side! Sounds and looks good fun and the people trying it out seemed to be enjoying it!
We said our goodbyes and made our way home after a fabulous day. We will not meet now until September as we will all be busy over the summer with holidays, looking after grandchildren and visiting family and friends. We had a really great day and I think the cable car is a real asset offering another way to cross the Thames. It should prove a success for travel for business and a great tourist attraction.