Phew! The East End just gets better and better. When I started my London Walking Tours in 1982, to venture past the Tower of London was like venturing into a derelict wilderness that was, to say the least, post apocalyptic in appearance. Decaying dockside buildings lined the river, whilst vast swathes of the area had been laid waste and reduced to rubble by the bombs of the Blitz.
Nowadays the area, whilst still retaining pockets of decay and dereliction, has been well and truly transformed. Canary Wharf and the surrounding buildings dominate the skyline and can be quite ghost-like when glimpsed through an early morning mist as you make your way towards them, or catch sight of them from Tower Bridge.
The trains of the Docklands Light Railway scuttle back and forth through this futuristic landscape, linking the old City with the new, or else heading out East towards the Olympic Park at Stratford. The transformation is an incredible achievement and really has sealed London’s reputation as a world-class modern city.
The latest addition to London’s transport infrastructure is also located here. Called the Emirates Air Line, on account of the fact Emirates sponsored it, this modern cable car enables you to, literally, fly over the River Thames and enjoy some great views of the London skyline both old and new.
It connects the Royal Victoria Docks, location of the Excel Conference Centre, with the Greenwich Peninsula, site of the O2 arena and can carry over 2,000 passengers per hour who glide up to 90 metres over the Thames on a journey that takes between 5 and 10 minutes depending on the time of day.
The nearest underground, should you wish to make this amazing journey, is Royal Victoria DLR and it operates between 7am and 9m Monday to Friday, 8am to 9pm on Saturdays and 9am to 9m on Sundays. A single journey costs £4.30 for and adult and £2.20 for a child whereas with an oyster card the cost is reduced to £3.20 and £1.60 respectively.
So if you’re heading out East to take our tour, why not spend the afternoon before the tour in Docklands and avail yourself of London’s latest riverside crossing to enjoy some stunning views?