The Handbook
The Handbook

Tipsy, I once accosted Sadiq Khan at a party and lectured him for about fifteen minutes about how his administration really needs to look into the merits of ziplines for commuters. Thomas Heatherwick was hovering and wanted to grab the London mayor to talk about his Garden Bridge, so Khan naturally was happy to indulge me in the hope that bridge boy would eventually wander off…

The scheme was foolproof, running a continuous zipline from Clapham South to Bank. It would involve two steel ropes attached to a very tall Eiffel-like tower which we’ll have to build on the common and perhaps The Heron Tower in The City. I’d budgeted the scheme to the closest fifty-million and calculated that he could only expect between one and three deaths a week. Best of all, the journey time was just six minutes. I suspect Sadiq Khan thought I was a nutter, but who’s got the last laugh now? Because they’re only going to go and install the UK’s longest zipline, just outside of London, and it’s totally going to prove my point.

The zipline is coming to the Bluewater shopping centre and is slated to open in February 2021 (can you believe that’s actually only just over three months away?). Planning consent was initially requested in April 2018 and finally it’s all signed off and the first work has begun in the building process.

Dubbed the longest zipline in the UK, the shopping centre has partnered with Hangloose Adventure, who will operate the zipline, along with other attractions including Europe’s largest swing and Europe’s largest outdoor climbing wall as well as an outdoor skydiving machine.

It's unclear if Bluewater have found the country's shortest builder or just ordered the wrong size spade...

The UK’s longest (and fastest) zipline will cross 50 acres of parkland, though it seems that nobody knows exactly how long the wire will actually stretch, we can be sure that it’ll be longer than ‘Velocity 2’, near Bethesda in North Wales, which runs to a few feet shy of a mile long.

Planned to launch in the spring half term, if the shopping complex’s 300 stores aren’t enough of a draw now there’s real reason to head to the out-of-town mall.

And Sadiq needs to take note, it’s the future of commuting. And the way TfL funding’s going, it might well be the only option left…

Want to receive more great articles like this every day: sign up here