This review is part of a trip report:
On my trip to Germany, I had a one-day layover in London. I used my Systemwide Upgrade from American Airlines to book my flight. My final destination was Munich for that trip but actually flying from Seattle to Munich would make the ticket almost a $1000 more expensive than to London. So I googled some prices for flights from London to Munich, which is a quick two-hour flight. I found a flight on Lufthansa and including baggage costs and hotel, this extra leg would still be cheaper than flying direct. Either way, I had to spend the night in London, as there were no more outbound flights to Munich, no matter on what airline. The earliest one would leave the next morning. So I decided to fly a day later instead of the next morning, which would give me a full day in Lonon. I love London! On my free day, I slept in and went to Heathrow Airport to take some pictures. After that my plan was to buy a subway ticket to travel to London. As I had no real idea where to go, I checked the London Underground map and found the Emirates Greenwich Peninsula on the map. After a quick check on the internet, I found that this is London’s newest attraction. A cable car line between the Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Docks.
I decided to head that way. Unfortunately, it was already late in the afternoon and I was worried to run out of daylight until I get there and I did. I went to the Information Counter for the Tube and purchased an off-peak daily travel card (£12.30). I asked if they would sell the ticket for the Emirates Air Line as well, but told me the cheapest way is to go there and buy it at the counter. I found out after I returned, that there is a cheaper option to buy your Emirates Air Line Ticket. Buy it online! This would have saved me £2.30 for the Discovery Experience Ticket, for which I paid £10.70 instead of £8.40. If you plan only to go to Emirates Air Line and back from London Heathrow, it’s also cheaper to buy single fare tickets. This would save you an additional £0.30. But I planned to make some more stops on the way.
You would get an additional discount for the Emirates Air Line if you are an Oyster Card user. However, if you are only there for one day, it’s not worth it, because the card itself costs you as well and you don’t save that much. If you stay longer, it might be an option as you get discounts at various places with the Oyster Card.
At the Emirates Air Line, you can buy different packages (for example combined with a river cruise) or single ride tickets. You can find all of them on the website. I decided to buy the Discovery Experience Ticket which gives me a round-trip in one of the gondolas and access to the Emirates Aviation Experience. This ticket was £1.70 more expensive than just a regular round-trip ticket without the Aviation Experience. A single adult entry ticket just for the Aviation Experience costs £5.00. This makes the discovery experience package a real deal. According to the sign, the discovery experience comes with a “non-stop” round-trip ticket on the air line. This means you are not getting off on the other side, instead you will sit in the gondola and get back off at the same station you boarded the gondola. I don’t know if this is heavily enforced. It would make more sense to give the people the chance to get off and explore the other side of the Thames and then come back.
With the purchase of your ticket, you get a small flier which shows important landmarks you can see from the cable car.
Take your favorite route of transportation to the Greenwich Peninsula. I used the Underground and took the Picadilly Line from London Heathrow Terminals 2&3 station to Green Park Station. There I changed to Jubilee Line and this one took me all the way to North Greenwich Station. From here it is a short walk across the plaza to the Emirates Air Line and Aviation Experience. You won’t see the cable car from here because they are behind the tall buildings but just walk straight across the plaza and there are even signs pointing you the way.
|Café & Shop||Exhibition & Simulators||Last entry|
The Aviation Experience is a small museum which will give you more information about Emirates Airline. The actual airline with the planes, not the gondolas. They have a pretty cool video of the journey of your luggage if you fly to Dubai. Its a huge room with a long curved projection area and you are standing on a “force feedback plate”. So you can feel the journey of your luggage a little bit as it shakes very lightly.
Besides that, you can find out more about Emirates most prestigious aircraft the Airbus A380. You can get in a replica cockpit and have your photo taken as a souvenir and you can even fly one by using one of their simulators. The Aviation Experience is connected to a small cafe and that’s also your way to exit the building. I didn’t have much time as it was already dark and I still had to ride the air line. The simulators are an additional charge and you can find the prices here.
Emirates Air Line
Follow the signs and get up to the boarding platform either via the elevator or the stairs. From there the crew will guide you to your cabin. As there was not much going on and there was just a small group behind me, they gave me my own “private” gondola and the group got theirs.
The journey takes you to the other side of the river Thames and the highest point is 90m up in the air. The 34 cabins carry up to 10 people each and move between 2.2m (night time) and 4m (daytime) per second along the 1.1 km long cable.
The cable car opened on Thursday 28 June 2012, just in time for the London 2012 Games with a construction period of under one year.
Greenwich Prime Meridian
You might not know it but the Greenwich Prime Meridan is very close to the Emirates cable car. The Prime Meridian divides the world between east and west.You only have to walk a few feet to the east and you are there. I marked the location of it on the image below, taken in Google Earth. You can pull out your smartphone and install any app which shows your GPS location. For example, on Android, I use GPS Status. From the North Greenwich station walk towards the Intercontinental and on your way there, you will cross the Prime Meridian.
Tips and Links
- Cheapest fare to get to the Emirates Air LIne is either single ticket+return or day travel pass on the London tube. Depends on your point of origin, day and time of day. If you are not sure, ask at the kiosk.
- Buy your Tickets for the Discovery Experience or cable car online, which gives you additional savings.
- To ride the cable car and visit the Aviation experience, it’s cheaper to buy the Discovery Experience.
- Single entrance tickets for the Aviation Experience can also be bought as well as time in one of the simulators.
- Visit the Prime Meridian which runs close by to the Underground station and the Intercontinental