London by air and by water: check out the Emirates Air Line & Thames Clipper

It’s bizarrely warm for the end of February – especially given that I was making snowmen this time last year.

Even if the climate change alarm bells are chiming in the back of your mind, London truly becomes a much less scary place when the sun is shining.

I decided to take this opportunity to try out the Emirates Air Line; the cable car which takes you over the murky (but glorious) Thames to the Greenwich Peninsular.

I am very pleased to report that it’s darn cheap.

And Instagram-worthy.

Step 1: Take the DLR to Royal Docks

I have a bit of a soft spot for the Docklands Light Railway. It makes me feel like I’m back in Disneyland, getting a monorail between the parks.

The view may not be the Magic Kingdom, but the DLR really is an enjoyable ride to start the day.

You can get there easily from Bank station.

Step 2: Use your Oyster card to board the Emirates Air Line

It’s just a short walk from the DLR to the boarding point which is very well signed.

There are also some lovely brunch spots if you fancy a light bite beforehand.

We had to queue for about 15 minutes before boarding so allow extra time for that if you are going at the weekend.

Boarding Point at Royal Docks

One of the beauties of this adventure is that you don’t even need to buy a specific ticket (although I did because it looked nice for the picture below).

It costs just £3.50 for a single trip across. It’s basically your daily commute, with actual views.

I think it also helped that it was the hottest February day on record. Not sure if I would’ve recommend it during the ‘Beast from the East’.

It was quite something though to float over the Thames getting a good look at Canary Wharf and The O2.

The view as you glide across the Thames

Just hedge your bets that you won’t get screaming kids in your cable car because it’s definitely more than £20 to secure one for yourselves.

Thankfully we had very respectful adults accompanying us.

Step 3: Crack out the Pimms and head for the Thames Clipper

There is a strict policy that you can’t b.y.o.b on the Air Line, but there was no such policy aboard the Thames Clipper (we think).

We planned ahead with a trip to Tesco and stocked up on cans of Pimms and pork pies for the journey.

Obviously, vegan options are available.

Optional (cheap) snacks to enjoy on your adventure

You can see the ferry departure port as you glide into Greenwich so just make the short walk across when you disembark.

There are departures every 20 minutes which will take you all the way to Westminster for £7 each.

The Hurricane Clipper that takes you from Greenwich to Westminster

Step 4: Sit back and enjoy the ride

I have to say, the Thames Clipper is now my favourite way to see London.

It takes about an hour to get to Westminster but along the way you realise how much more London has to offer than the stops on the tube.

I spotted the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich Pier which I intend to go and visit very soon.

It was surreal to emerge from Tower Bridge to see the Traitors Entrance to the Tower of London from the water.

I won’t be breaking the law any time soon!

Tower Bridge from the Thames Clipper

Step 5: Disembark at Westminster

Leave the Thames Clipper in the heart of London, and maybe even add on a tour of the Houses of Parliament.

OR go and stare out across the river like they do in Made in Chelsea…

The choice is yours.

Arrival into Westminster on the Thames Clipper

Conclusion: a great way to see London from a nautical perspective which won’t break the bank

I had the loveliest time on this little adventure and it’s made me start a list of places I spotted that are worthy of a future visit.

It’s also great to get outdoors for once and have the satisfaction of making it across the capital without using the underground.

My Rating: ****


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