Top things to do near London City Airport
Climb up the roof of the O2
The 'Up at The O2' experience allows you to climb over the roof of the building once known as the Millennium Dome. Starting at basecamp, you meet your guide who takes you through everything you need to know for a safe and fun climb.
You traverse the 28-degree walkway with the wind blowing you to and fro and the safety equipment keeping you safe and sound. The wind is especially strong (sometimes as high as 40mph/64km) as the walkway starts to flatten just before you reach the top.
When you get to the summit, you’ll stand on the observation platform to see London from a unique perspective. There are three different expeditions on offer: Original, Sunset and Twilight. If you’re lucky that good weather coincides with your chosen timeslot, you’ll come away with pictures to boast about when you get home.
It takes just 17 minutes to drive the 4.7 miles (7.6 kilometres) from LCY to the O2 via the A1020.
Walk along the centre of the Earth… and the Galaxy
The Line is billed as the contemporary art walk that came before all others in the big city. Its route follows the Prime Meridian Line, which is the point from which every place on Earth and in the sky is measured. During your unguided walk or cycling tour, you travel from Greenwich (the O2), to Queen Elizabeth Park (Stratford).
You’ll see temporary sculptures and artwork by famous artists like Damien Hirst and Abigail Fallis (they get replaced every two years) and permanent hidden gems including the Grade I listed House Mill and Cody Dock along the route.
To join The Line from London City Airport, you need to find your way to Royal Victoria Dock. It only takes eight minutes to drive there on the A1020.
Take a glimpse back in time
The Museum of London Docklands is a 200-year-old former warehouse. Inside, you discover the long history of London’s Docklands in the East End and their role as major ports for trade and migration. Victorian London is recreated in the immersive Sailortown display, whilst London’s absorbingly shameful role in the sugar and slavery trades is laid bare in the exhibition by the same name, The Sugar and Slavery exhibition.
The museum is chock-full of charming galleries and weird and wonderful objects, so it provides a great day out for the whole family.
You can get there via the A1020 in just 11 minutes, since it’s only 3.7 miles (6 kilometres) away from LCY.
Hang out in the Queen's Yard
Despite its regal name, Queen’s Yard is in the heart of the East End (between Hackney and the Olympic Park) in Hackney Wick. Here, you’ll find The White Building, which serves as a space for events and art exhibitions.
It’s also home to the Crate Brewery, which is a ground-floor bar-cum-pizzeria, and a collection of artists’ workspaces known as Mother Studios.
The Yard overlooks the Hertford Union Canal, so it’s a wonderful place for summer parties, relaxing with a meal by the canal or taking in the local art and culture scene. It‘s only 17 minutes by car to Queen’s Yard from LCY on Blackwall Tunnel Northern Approach/A12.
Explore the Tower of London
The Tower of London provides a fascinating (if a little bloody) slice of London’s history. As a home to Beefeaters (also known as Yeomen Warders) and ravens, it’s easy to see why the iconic tower attracts over 2.5 million visitors each year.
Visit the Crown Jewels on permanent display and see some of the world’s most spectacular and coveted diamonds up close. Go on a Yeoman Warder guided tour to discover the many tales of intrigue, execution and imprisonment that occurred within the walls of the tower.
The Tower of London is 26 minutes’ drive from London City Airport via the A1203.
Prepare for a zombie apocalypse
Apocalypse Events offers Zombie SWAT Training in Bunker 51, which is chillingly a decommissioned nuclear bunker from the Cold War. You get the chance to take part in zombie-themed paintball and laser tag and you’ll also get locked in a room with a zombie and be forced to solve Crystal Maze-style puzzles to get out alive.
Get there – if you dare – in 21 minutes from LCY along the A102.
Go from the airline to the Air Line
The Emirates Air Line lets you see London by cable car so you can see a host of the city's iconic buildings from above. These include the O2 (the Dome), Greenwich Peninsula, Thames Barrier, Cutty Sark, Olympic Park and more.
If you have an Oyster Card, you can get a discount on the price of tickets for the Emirates Aviation Experience - a 360-degree round-trip of the all of the sites on its list.
It takes 12 minutes to drive to the Royal Docks terminal from the airport via Sandstone Lane.
Be at one with the Earth, the universe and everything
The Royal Observatory is a must-visit if you have enough time to spare in or near London City Airport. As the home of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), the observatory is home to unique navigational gems, including its collection of Harrington chronographs.
Come to the Royal Observatory to stand in two hemispheres at once on the Prime Meridian Line and get a unique insight into not only your place on Earth, but also in the universe, thanks to the only planetarium in the capital.
It takes 26 minutes to drive the 7.7 miles (12.3 kilometres) from LCY to the Royal Observatory via the A102.
Explore the space shuttle of the 19th century
Built in 1869, the Cutty Sark is the world’s last-remaining tea clipper ship and now one of London’s major tourist attractions. Her job was to transport goods such as wool, tea and even buffalo horns to and from various places across the globe, including Britain, Brazil, the United States, Angola, China and Mozambique. The ship criss-crossed the oceans and sailed into every major shipping port in the world.
Built for speed, the Cutty Sark could exceed 17 knots at full throttle and was the fastest vessel around at the time. At the height of technology when she was first built, the ship was in many ways the space shuttle of her day.
Take a tour of the beautifully restored Cutty Sark to see this rare piece of nautical history up close. As she’s now docked 9.8 feet (three metres) above the ground, you can actually walk under the ship and touch the original iron framework and hull planks. You’ll also discover what it was like for the crew as they made their way through storms and high seas on the Cutty at the peak of her powers.
The Cutty Sark is open every day between 10am and 5pm.