THE TRANSATLANTIC MAGAZINE
Nine Ways to Nine Elms
The new US Embassy in London opened January 16, 2018 in Nine Elms. How on earth do you get there?
Turns out there are plenty of ways!
The MBNA Thames Clipper service, which operates river bus routes along the Thames from North Greenwich and Canary Wharf to Westminster and onwards to Chelsea and Putney, recently announced a new pier at Battersea Power Station. The new pier sees morning peak services both ways from Battersea Power Station to Canary Wharf (the RB1 route), and off peak weekday and weekend services from Battersea Power Station to London Bridge in the City (the RB2 route). If you’re tensing up ahead of an important Embassy meeting, this is possibly the calmest way to travel – there’s even a licensed onboard bar! The Battersea Power Station pier will get you to many of the residential and corporate developments in Nine Elms - for easy access to the new US Embassy, the St George's Wharf Pier at Vauxhall is a short 5 minute walk away.
The Northern Line of the London Underground is being extended with two new stations in Nine Elms scheduled for completion by 2021. The Northern Line extension will see track laid from Kennington, offering stops at ‘Nine Elms’ and ‘Battersea Power Station’ underground stations. Vauxhall station, on the Victoria line, offers straightforward access to Nine Elms and the new Embassy in the meantime.
Depending on where in London you’re starting from on your journey to Nine Elms, you may find that the London Overground, or overground suburban services from South Western Railway, are more convenient. Wandsworth Road is the nearest London Overground station, and although around 1.4miles from the new US Embassy, could provide a better alternative if you’re not a fan of Underground changeovers. Just outside Wandsworth Road Station there are buses (route 77, 87, 452 and N87) which can take you back towards Vauxhall to avoid some of the walk to the Embassy. South Western Railway offer suburban services on a loop from London Waterloo to tricky to reach parts of South West London – the nearest suburban station is Vauxhall.
Proposals have been put forward to redevelop the road systems surrounding the new US Embassy site to give greater prominence to cycling and buses. The main proposal would see a 2.5km cycleway integrated into roads including Nine Elms Lane, which runs alongside the new Embassy. Transport for London say that the proposed changes would improve conditions for ‘pedestrians, cyclists and bus passengers, as well as creating a more pleasant and characterful street environment and a sense of destination to the area’ - potentially paving the way for Nine Elms to be as green as Grosvenor Square. Santander Cycles (although you probably know them as Boris Bikes) are available to hire, with the nearest docking stations to the new Embassy titled Riverlight North and Riverlight South.
The proposed changes to the road layout on Nine Elms Lane would also give greater prominence to Bus services, which will likely be expanded as demand to reach the area increases. As of November 2017, several bus services stop on Nine Elms Lane, very close to the new Embassy, including route 156 between Vauxhall and Wimbledon, route 436 between Battersea Park and Lewisham, and the 24 hour daily route 344 between Clapham Junction and Liverpool Street in the City. You can use your Oyster cards on London buses – most UK contactless credit and debit cards will also work, but some VISA and Maestro/Mastercard contactless payment cards issued in the USA or Canada may not work. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to know that TfL advise all AMEX contactless cards are accepted!
Car parking in the Nine Elms area of London isn’t particularly easy, and is likely to become less as it gets busier, although if it’s the most convenient form of transport for you, there are limited spaces in car parks at St George Wharf, Chelsea Bridge Wharf and Battersea Park. Please note that although New Covent Garden Market, next to the Embassy, has a large car park it is reserved for those who business at the market and non market parking is not allowed. On street parking is available in Pimlico, just north of the river.
Nine Elms is currently accessible from North of the river via two bridges, Chelsea Bridge to the West and Vauxhall Bridge to the East. For those living or parking in Pimlico, there’s a new proposed pedestrian bridge which will connect Pimlico to Nine Elms. The proposed bridge will sit between Chelsea and Vauxhall bridges, offering easy access on foot or bicycle to the new US Embassy.
One of the perks of being alongside the river is that the new US Embassy will quickly benefit from the opening up of the Thames river path. In a few years time, you’ll be able to walk all the way from Battersea Park to Southbank and Waterloo. The Thames river path project is being supported by Wandsworth Council, so will likely lead to new cultural spaces for the public, new riverside restaurants, bars and retreats.
Not for everyone, but an overlooked asset of the new Embassy is its proximity to the London Heliport. A short taxi ride away, the Heliport links Battersea to a number of airports around London, including airports specializing in private charter services such as Biggin Hill and London Oxford airport, as well as the big hubs of Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted. The Heliport even offers pleasure trips across the capital, so if you fancy combining a key meeting at the Embassy with a spot of sightseeing, the capital’s airspace is your oyster!
Public transport details for Nine Elms were collected in November 2017. If you notice any changes, please let us know by e-mailing email@example.com