I was intending to go to a conference at ExCeL in London Docklands, leaving via London City airport. It seems a very walkable distance between the two, but from Google Maps I can't see if it is practical. Many airports disallow or strongly discourage walking. Will I have to get a taxi, or fiddle around with two DLRs (Docklands Light Rail) (if it's running)? And if I can walk, what route should I take?

5 Answers 5


Be careful about trusting the Google Maps walking route, as it wants to send you over Connaught Bridge, which doesn't have pedestrian footpaths! If you use streetview, you can see the lack of footpaths, but also a handy bridge that Google neglects to show...

Instead I'd suggest using OpenRouteService to plan the route, which uses OpenStreetMap data which does include the bridge. That suggests a sub-2km, 20 minute walk,along the dock side, and over the pedestrian bridge:

Walking Route

Updated September 2021:

This route has now been greatly improved by Newham Council with a much nicer, wider asphalt path and lighting. It is now very easy to walk from Excel to LCY via this route and its very quick.

  • I don't know why I didn't tick this one three years ago (upvoted). Previously I've gone up to (down from) Hartmann Road instead of using Camel Road. I believe there's a suitable crossing outside the airport, though I've always gone under the DLR station to the south side. Aug 8, 2014 at 13:05
  • 2
    Many years later, Google Maps now knows about the footbridge. It suggests a pedestrian route that's largely what's described in the map above, though it does route the pedestrian along Hartmann Road rather than Camel Road. May 8, 2019 at 15:37

The two DLRs are typically very quick and easy - I have walked it, but in the winter, or at night you wouldn't want to.

Just get on a DLR to Canning Town, and the next one out to the airport shouldn't be more than 10 or 15 minutes later

  • 2
    Last year I did walk at night from the Airport to one of the hotels next to Excel and I wished I taken the DLR. Missing street lights and groups of youths loitering about doesn't make it a very appealing walk. Daylight may have been a better experience. Feb 25, 2015 at 15:50

The postcode for the ExCeL center is, funnily enough, E16 1XL (perhaps where it gets its name).

Plugging that into the Journey Planner, gives you a 32 min walk.

Google Maps suggests a slightly different route, taking 47 minutes.

enter image description here

So yes, it's walkable :) I'd take the longer Google Maps one, personally, as you get to see more of the Docklands.

  • 6
    That Google route neglects to include most of the footpaths - you can actually follow the dockside for much more of the way round than it suggests. There's also a pedestrian bridge over the middle of Royal Victoria Dock from just outside the ExCel that is missing from Google!
    – Gagravarr
    Nov 30, 2011 at 16:33
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    The name would have come first. Most postcodes in the UK correspond to sections of a street but organizations that receive a lot of mail get their own postcode. The E16 part is fixed by the location (essentially, postal district 16 of east London) but the second part of the postcode can be anything, and it's not unusual for a business to have a postcode that's somewhat mnemonic. May 8, 2019 at 15:27

I also was intending to go to the dev days, and bought the plane ticket and two nights at Premier Inn as a consequence.

Fortunately, CodeKen2011 filled that hole, and I wondered the same as you - looking at the map it wasn't completely clear whether I could walk it, and Google maps disclaimer didn't reassure me.

As Gagravarr points out in a comment on Joel's answer, there is a foot bridge which goes underneath the road bridge. It is actually quite pretty down there.


I do remember walking from a nearby overland train station to City Airport several years ago. But East London is rapidly changing these days, so I can not say whether it is still possible today.

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