Thames Cable Car – Review for families

Are you ready to hop on the Emirates Air Line? Use our day out guide to help you decide

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What is it?

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The Emirates Air Line is a cable car ride that goes over the river Thames. Cross the water from either Greenwich Peninsula in North Greenwich or the Royal Docks.

Best for:

The cable car is fine for all ages. Please check the official websites of any nearby attraction you wish to visit for age limits and restrictions.

What’s on offer

The exciting 10-minute cable car journey above the river, not to mention the views from the carriage, is not the only part of the attraction. There are plenty of neighbouring attractions available for families to visit – some are related to the Emirates Air Line and others are not.

If you’re travelling from Greenwich to the Royal Docks, things to do in the area include taking a trip to the Museum of London Docklands or the Thames Barrier Park – a 22 acre park with a children’s play area which has excellent views of the flood barriers. You could also check out Newham City Farm, which is the oldest of its kind in London.

If you’re travelling from the Royal Docks to Greenwich, there are plenty of experiences suitable for family visits. Whilst you won’t have access to the park, you can visit the Thames Barrier, watch a 10-minute video and view a working model, followed by a nice drink in the café whilst the children play in the play area.   You could also visit Cutty Sark, the Royal Observatory or the National Maritime Museum. If you’re feeling active, you could even try and do all three on a discounted ticket.

Finally, those who are Greenwich bound can enjoy the Emirates Aviation Experience. It’s very cheap at £3.50 for an adult and £1 for a child (that’s without the Full Experience Package ticket you can purchase at the terminal, which makes this attraction free). It allows families to explore the technology behind commercial air travel. There are interactive displays, a life-size airplane model, you can sit in a cockpit and for serious flight fans, you can purchase a 30-minute flight simulator session at £45 for a family of up to five people.

The Emirates Air Line Cable Cars welcome buggies and pushchairs on board.

Highlights

The cable car ride itself doesn’t go too quickly, provides great views and has cards explaining the big landmarks you can see from the windows. If you manage to get a car to yourself, enjoy it!

The Emirates Aviation Experience is fairly basic, but you get what you pay for in London and the experience is incredibly cheap.  It’s pleasant and engaging for children for a short period of time, so if you visit please remember to take the experience for what it is. That being said, the much more expensive flight simulator is totally worth the money and is a lot of fun for kids – especially for any aspiring little pilots.  The café is nice and the staff are really friendly.

Read our Cutty Sark, National Maritime Museum, Royal Observatory and Museum of London Docklands guides for more on the specific highlights.

What to watch out for

– Please be aware that the flight simulator is on a big screen and does not move around. It is not a professional simulator.

– Please also be aware that aviation experts and enthusiasts may find the Aviation Experience to be extremely basic. It’s obviously geared more towards younger children and is not designed for experts.

– The Aviation aspect of the cable car gets really mixed reviews on TripAdvisor, though most reviewers with young families left favourable reviews.

What the owners say

“Enjoy great views of London and a unique ride across the Thames on Emirates Air Line. Running between North Greenwich and the Royal Docks, Emirates Air Line provides easy access to the O2 Arena and Excel London. The terminals are also close to the Tube, DLR, buses and riverboat services.”

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Visit the official Emirates Air Line website

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