Sailing high over the River Thames between North Greenwich in the river’s southern bank and the Royal Docks on the river’s northern bank is the cable car formally known as the Emirates Air Line. Opened in late June and running every day, the cable car – the UK’s first in an urban area – is operated by Transport for London and links into the Underground and Docklands Light Rail network. Travelling at about 90 metres above the ground along a course of more than half a mile, passengers can take in the City, Docklands, Greenwich and as far eastward down the river as the Thames Barrier. This image, which shows the 02 Arena in the background, was taken just after the Closing Ceremony of the Olympic Games in August. For more, see www.emiratesairline.co.uk. PICTURE: © Transport for London
• Queen Elizabeth II this week unveiled the final plaque marking the end of the 37 mile/60 kilometre Jubilee Greenway in front of Buckingham Palace. The circular Greenway – marked by 542 glass plaques – has been created to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. It can be walked or cycled and takes in key sites around London, including Kensington Palace, Regent’s Park, the Thames Barrier and Olympic sites including Greenwich Park (equestrian events), the O2 Arena (hosting gymnastics, trampoline and basketball events) as well as the main stadium at Olympic Park. The Greenway is divided into 10 sections and you can download either the entire walk or brochures for one of the sections only here.
• This weekend sees the Barbican Centre play host to the event known as ‘Barbican Weekender’ – two days of free art, dance, music, theatre and film at the Barbican Foyers. Part of London 2012 Festival, the event’s ‘Freestage’ programme features Roxxxan,Dizralie and the Small Gods, young drummers from East London and performance poetry by the Barbican Young Poets. There’s also street dance classes with Boy Blue Entertainment, the chance to make an Opera in a Day with the Hip Hop Shakespeare Company, a Digital Graffiti wall, street food stalls, the Wah Nails Pop-Up boutique and free running by Streets United. For more, see www.barbican.org.uk/weekender.
• On Now – Measuring the Universe: from the Transit of Venus to the edge of the cosmos. Marking the 2012 transit of Venus, this exhibition at the Greenwich Observatory follows the story of man’s ongoing quest to understand the vastness of space, looking at the people and technologies involved in seeing farther than ever before – from the Astronomer Royal, Edmond Halley, to Captain James Cook and Edwin Hubble and through to the possibilities offered by the Cosmic Microwave Background Explorer. It’s accompanied by a series of talks, observing events – including this month’s Daytime Sky Watch sessions – and a planetarium show. Runs until 2nd September. Admission is free. For more information, see www.rmg.co.uk.
Laid like an iron necklace across the Thames, as of May this year, the Thames Barrier has protected central London from flooding 119 times since it went operational in 1982. The barrier spans 520 metres of the river near Woolwich, east of the City, and is one of the largest moveable flood barriers in the world. It features 10 steel gates, each of which weighs 3,000 tonnes, which can be raised or lowered. They stand as high as a five-storey building when up and, while you may not think they look it, the piers, which are covered with a protective ‘skin’ of stainless steel, are wide enough apart to accommodate the largest of ships. There are regular boat trips to the barrier from central London and there is an information centre about the barriers which includes a cafe (boats don’t stop at the Thames Barrier Pier, so this can’t be accessed from the river itself). For more on the barrier and the information centre, see www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/floods/38353.aspx.