With the news that a cable car over the Thames will open in time for the Olympics, we decided to scope out some other sky rides around the world. Offering views slightly more impressive than tube station car parks, these trips are not for vertigo sufferers.
Sugarloaf Mountain, Brazil
The short and sweet ride overlooking Rio de Janeiro has 2 sections and gets you from beach to mountain top in just a few minutes. The system of giant people carriers has been running since 1912, but, thankfully, has been renewed a few times since then. Try to stay inside the carriage, unlike James Bond who fought Jaws on top of one of the cars here in Moonraker.
Napa Valley, USA
If you’d like your cable car trip to offer more of a reward than just the scenery, California is the place. At the top of this Napa Valley sky ride, visitors are greeted with a glass of local wine since the cables lead to Sterling Vineyards’ wine tasting tours. The only worry is that after the 5 glasses which come with general admission, the trip back down may not be as pleasurable.
Mount Faber, Singapore
The award for the most bizarre experience goes to Singapore. From now till December, the Mount Faber cable car will pay homage to addictive iPhone game Angry Birds. Forget tapping your touch screen; passengers can imagine they’re flying with the famous fowl as the game’s soundtrack is played into your pod. The trips even come with Angry Birds masks and, for some lucky riders, a cuddly toy.
For those who prefer their bird’s-eye view to belong to a tropical bird,Costa Rica’s aerial trams are a must. Choose between the Caribbean side where the open carts zip through the top layer of the rainforest canopy, or the Pacific coast where the journey scales the tops of waterfalls.
Table Mountain, South Africa
Enjoy views over Cape Town from the top of Table Mountain with a cable car that rotates 360°. If you don’t fancy taking the same mode of transport back down, sign up for the abseiling option.
The Rock, Gibraltar
On a British territory with better than British weather, the famous Rock of Gibraltar waits to be conquered. The highlight of the 6 minute ride to the top is that it’s very likely the native Barbary apes will be there to greet you. Be warned though; they are wild animals, and will beg, steal, borrow or bite if you’re carrying any food.
Tianmen Mountain, China
The perilously steep ascent up Tianmen Mountain will leave even the bravest riders wondering why the name loosely translates as ‘Heaven’s Gate’. Then, for anyone with nerves still intact, tourist attractions on the mountain include a transparent walkway circling the peak, and a suspension foot bridge that may as well be hovering over molten lava in an adventure movie.
Heights of Abraham, UK
Back at home, The Heights of Abraham in the Peak District is reached byBritain’s first system of its kind. The route proves that ‘England’s green and pleasant land’ isn’t just a song lyric. Once you cross the massive gorge below, the real adventure begins with rope challenges, woodland walks or underground caverns to explore.