The first in a series of activities and adventures to get the most out of London on a budget, today we’re heading to East London to take a trip on the Emirates Cable Car and up the Thames on a clipper.
Which type of ‘tour’ to take, all present great value, we opted for the ‘Emirates Air Line and Thames Clippers’ which cost £27.50 per person at the time of writing which you can book from here. You can hop on the cable car for a fiver, and if you go ‘night’, which is after 7 pm over winter, they make the trip a little longer for you to enjoy the lights. Next time, we’d probably buy tickets at the ticket office or pier.
Emirates Cable Car – Royal Docks
We boarded at the Royal Victoria Docks, which is right next door to London Excel Centre, so you can double up if an exhibition is going on. This was our first time, so we pre-booked tickets which meant we had to start at Royal Docks, so we parked at The Exhibition Centre. Don’t do this; £ 20 for parking is way more than you need to pay for this trip. On a Sunday afternoon, we made the trip towards the end of March; the line was longish but not too bad, around 50-60 people with 15-20 minutes to get on. It seems you get a booth (or whatever they are called) to yourself, I thought you might have shared with others, but this doesn’t seem to be the case.
The actual ride is exhilarating and great fun; you get fantastic views to the east of the river and the city towards the west. You can get a feel for some of the opinions here, London south bank. It would be interesting to go at different times of the day to get different experiences, and if you are on your game, you’ll catch planes landing at City Airport. So, after 15 minutes, you are on the other side and alighting at Greenwich Peninsula, where there is a café and restroom if required. A short walk down the embankment, you are at the pier for the Uber Thames Clipper.
We boarded. It was a coolish day; we stayed inside and landed our seats at the front port side. We recorded the trip port side on the way up the river (towards London), which you can view here. The journey usually takes you down to Putney, I can’t remember if it was the time of year, but we only made it as far as Battersea Power Station – you might like to check this before you go and see where you’d like to get to. Although our ticket allowed us to get off at any pier and walk around, we decided to stay aboard (we did have good seats). If we went again, we’d jump on somewhere easier via public transport, probably Embankment, and then choose somewhere to jump off and grab an excellent coffee (feel free to comment below if you know somewhere good on this route). You can view Thames North Bank via a clipper here.
One of the more impressive things we’ve seen was the lady boat hoist (not sure what you call the person who throws the rope to the dock). Our girl was unbelievable, and you can see a quick excerpt of her in action here.
On our return to Greenwich Peninsula, we take advantage of the restrooms in the Emirates café before boarding the Cable Car and taking a wonderful trip back across the river near sunset. The cable car did stop for 5 minutes or so, reminding me of a scary show ride I had in Paris back in 2014!
After a delightful, relaxing, and extensive London sightseeing, we visited one of our favourite London Turkish restaurants.
What we’d do again:
We’d do both the cable car and clipper rides again.
What we’d do differently:
Not Park at the Excel centre.
Go on a warmer day and sit outside on the boat.
Start with the clipper journey at Embankment, jump off for our one ‘walk around’ at Greenwich Peninsula to take the Emirates cable car.
TfL information for the Emirates Cable Car
Where you can book