9 Places In London We'd Like To See A Zipwire

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 25 months ago
9 Places In London We'd Like To See A Zipwire

London needs more zipwires. Here's where they should go.

The gap between these two buildings is just asking to be filled with a zipwire. Photo: nicolas casana

Oxford Street

One way of solving the ongoing traffic/pedestrianisation debate on the frantic shopping street is to install a zipwire above it, right from the busy stretch at Marble Arch to Tottenham Court Road. It'd remove some of the pedestrians from the busy pavements, getting them to their destinations faster than if they had to dodge the shoppers, and giving the shoppers more space to, well, shop.

Of course, there would be the option to disembark at Bond Street and Oxford Circus — this is a serious mode of transport requiring sensible interchanges, you know — but passengers who wanted to go the full stretch would have a fast-track, non-stop option.

Potential problems: high demand, especially at Christmas. Shopping bags dropped willy-nilly onto unsuspecting shoppers below.

Picture a zipline running the length of Oxford Street. Photo: Jenny

Streatham High Road

It's the longest high street in the UK, apparently, so it'd be rude not to. Adrenaline junkies could whiz above the 1.8 mile stretch of the A23 while shoppers and vehicles went about their business below.

Potential problems: the stretch of road isn't exactly straight, so could involve some ricocheting off of various buildings.

Part of Streatham High Road. Photo: Captain Roger Fenton

Shard to Walkie-Talkie

The Shard and the Walkie-Talkie (or 20 Fenchurch Street, if you prefer); two behemoths which have risen on the banks of the Thames to face off against each other in recent years. Looking out of one and across the Thames, you can see directly into the other. If they're not going to build a bridge between them, at least let us install a zipwire.

Gravity dictates that it would have to be a south-north zipline, from the lofty heights of the Shard's 68th-72nd floor viewing gallery, to the slightly less lofty heights of floor 35 in the Walkie Talkie. We won't bore you with the mathematical details, but we reckon you'd pick up a fair bit of speed — not to mention skimming over the tempting waters of the Thames. At least there are several bars to choose from when you land in the Sky Garden.

Potential problems: ending up having a drink. In the Thames.

The view of The Shard from the Sky Garden. Photo: Londonist

One Canada Square to The Gherkin

It's only a matter of time before London's two main clusters of skyscrapers — Canary Wharf and the Square Mile — join up to become one sprawling metropolis.

In the meantime, city slickers can easily zip between the two via a zipwire from One Canada Square in the east to The Gherkin in the Square Mile. Who needs the Jubilee line, eh?

Potential problems: people. In suits. On zipwires. It just reminds us of this.

Alexandra Palace to Crystal Palace

This is a long one, but bear with us. The two pointy palaces, like the bookends of the capital, each sit on a hill on London's extremities, Ally Pally to the north and Crystal Palace to the south. In fact, joining them up as the crow flies forms a near-perfect north-south divide through London.

By our estimations, the rider would pass almost directly over such sites as Emirates Stadium, Angel Islington, St Paul's Cathedral and Elephant & Castle no-longer-a-roundabout. Perhaps the 'tricky' version should involve having to navigate through one of the wind turbine holes on Strata.

Potential problems: where do we start?

London Zoo lion enclosure

Photo: Londonist

You can now sleep next to the lion enclosure at London Zoo, so why not zipwire over it too? Like any zipwire, there's the fear of height, doubled up with the fear that if you suddenly lose height, you could end up as a lion's dinner.

Potential problems: public liability insurance would be a nightmare.

Ruislip Lido

Ruislip Lido. Photo: Matt Brown

Ruislip Lido is more of a lake than a lido. In fact, it reminds us a bit of an American kids' summer camp. Not only does that offer plenty of space for setting up a zipwire, you'd get cracking views of the nearby greenery as you zipped — like a mini escape to the country.

All well and good, but the main reason we like this idea is that we could call it the Ruislip Highzip. Just rolls off the tongue, doesn't it?

Potential problems: it's a bit of a pain to get to without a car.

Replace the Dangleway

Going from almost-nowhere to the middle-of-nowhere is so much more fun when it's done by zipwire. Part of the infrastructure of the cable cars could remain — the North Greenwich terminal for example, although it would have to be extended significantly upwards, to allow riders to get enough height to descend into the landing dock on the opposite side of the Thames.

Just kidding — we love the Cable Car really.

Potential problems: no-one would use it.

Please please please turn the cable car into a zipline. Photo: leica0000

Southern commuter routes

Let's be honest, a zipwire is more reliable than most Southern routes at the moment. Heck, let's replace the whole network with a web of wires — like a giant Go Ape course blanketing southern England.

Potential problems: the zipwire person will go on strike, and we'll be back to where we started again.

Last Updated 03 August 2016