barry shaverin | zip now london

Zip Now London, the world’s longest and fastest city zip line is back at Southbank, and this year its a triple line that starts on a tower 35m above the ground, has a 225m descent where you can hit speeds of up to 50kph and a mega drop freefall at the end. BLIMEY. And who decided that this was a good idea? Zip Now founder Barry Shaverin that’s who.

Where do you live in London and what do you like about the area?

I’ve lived in London all my life, other than when I went to university. There’s no other city like it. I grew up in Southgate and lived for periods in West Hampstead, Marylebone, Stockwell, Kentish Town and Sutton. Now I’m in Palmers Green… not far from where I started! We’ve put down roots here – it’s very good for getting into town, but you can find open spaces just as quickly – we love Hampstead Heath of course, and also Trent Park. Our street is wonderfully diverse, and very neighbourly.

What gave you the idea for the London zip wire?

I’d always been impressed by some of the giant zip wires that are dotted around the country – I just couldn’t understand why we didn’t have one in London. It started off as a few rough calculations on Excel, graduated to hours on Google Earth… and before long it became a bit of an obsession. I mentioned it to someone and they offered investment – and it kind of went from there. Now we employ sixty people and entertain many tens of thousands of people out our events.

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How much work goes into installing such a big zip wire in the middle of a major city?

A huge amount. Much more than I could ever have imagined. Huge engineering calculations and issues, planning permission, massive fabrications, transport, logistics, recruitment, insurance, health and safety… it’s really complex and of course with no room for error. As this was something that had never been undertaken before,we had to pull together a team of experts to help make the dream a reality – world leaders in design, construction and zip wire operation. We also had to find the perfect location, and we couldn’t have done better than Archbishop’s Park, Lambeth – it’s just beautiful, with incredible views and is perfectly positioned by the South Bank.

Where will you be taking the zip wire next?

We currently don’t have any plans to return to Archbishop’s Park next year and are focused on this season, meaning this is the public’s last chance to ride the wire. However, we’ve got big plans to take city centre zip lining worldwide. You’ll have to watch this space to find out more.

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Describe your perfect day in London.

Mine is a seven day a week job, so it’s really about spending time with my wife and two sons. Our favourite activities at the moment are dog walking in Highgate Woods, eating crepes at the Hampstead crepe stand, visiting London Zoo and eating dinner at Fairuz in Marylebone. I reckon if you were up early enough you could fit all of them into one day!

Archbishop’s Park, Lambeth, London SE1 7LF