London’s beloved landmark, Big Ben, is set to fall into silence until 2021. The decommissioning period is set to begin next Monday. Big Ben has known 157 years of uninterrupted time keeping in London. Big Ben will, however, continue to chime for special events such as New Years and Remembrance Sunday.
Parliament’s heritage team began a renovation of Elizabeth Tower, which houses the bell, earlier this year. As part of the project, the tower’s iconic clock will be restored, and each of the dials will be cleaned and repaired, although one working clock face will remain visible at all times. The Ayrton Light, which shines when Parliament is in session, and the tower’s cast-iron roof will also be conserved.
The almost 14 ton bell chimed its first chime on July 11, 1859. It has continued to chime a well-pitched E note every hour since. Other silences from the clock include a period in 2007 and during the 1983-85 restoration.
“Big Ben falling silent is a significant milestone in this crucial conservation project,” Steve Jaggs, Keeper of the Great Clock, said in a statement. “As Keeper of the Great Clock, I have the great honor of ensuring this beautiful piece of Victorian engineering is in top condition on a daily basis. This essential program of works will safeguard the clock on a long-term basis, as well as protecting and preserving its home—the Elizabeth Tower.”
The renovation of the UNESCO World Heritage site will cost about $37 million and is intended to ensure that Big Ben will chime for at least another 157 years.
Find out more.
Sydney Helicopters, Hunter Valley Pub Tour
Approx. US $750
This helicopter pub crawl departs from Sydney, Australia — whirling above the city’s famous waterfront for a checklist-notching aerial view of the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge before soaring into the wild, bucolic yonder of outer New South Wales.
Rosehill Heliport-based Sydney Helicopters’ roster of full-day heli-pub tours includes excursions into the state’s rugged Blue Mountains and Southern Highlands, where multiple touchdowns at out-of-the-way bars and charming country inns factor in enough vintage Aussie drink stops to keep the propellers spinning even when they’re not.
Our top pick is the Hunter Valley Pub Tour, a seven-hour journey into one of the country’s prime, picturesque wine-producing regions.
Highlights along the way include stops at quirky rustic ale houses, boutique wineries and elegant vineyard estates for a wine-paired multi-course gourmet lunch — capped with a late afternoon visit to the historic Settlers Arms Inn in St. Albans for one last pint or two of counter fuel before the curiously blurry ride home.
Orbic Air, Mountain Top Landing Tour in Los Angeles
$349 per person
In sprawling, traffic-choked L.A., sitting pretty above all the tailpipes on Laurel and Coldwater Canyons, Sunset and Sepulveda Boulevards and the Freeway Interchange in a sleek whirlybird is a perch usually reserved for cops and car chase reporters.
Orbic Air’s standard 15 to 25-minute L.A. flyovers lift off from Burbank Airport and cover all the standards — from cool close-ups of the Hollywood Sign to vital views of celebrity home rooftops in Beverly Hills and Bel Air.
For the real California dreamin’ “Romance Package,” Orbic’s Mountain Top Landing Tour covers several Tinseltown landmarks en route to the city’s most natural charms along the coast — featuring a climactic landing on a secluded Malibu plateau with complimentary bubbly, dessert and a rose.
Diamond ring not included.
The London Helicopter, London MAX Tour
Approx. $2,000 (for up to six passengers)
Gazing down upon London’s spectacular cityscape from St Paul’s dome, the London Eye, The Shard, or (at a pinch) a double decker bus seat may be a jolly good start.
Upping the vantage point over 1,000 vertical feet over the River Thames via bright yellow G-ORKI helicopter takes urban sightseeing to an entirely different level.
Lifting off from southwest London’s Battersea Heliport (only recently opened to tourists), The London Helicopter’s London Buzz and London Sights tours cover a range of riverside essentials in and around the city center — from Big Ben and Buckingham Palace to St. Paul’s Cathedral and Canary Wharf. All crammed into 12 or 18 breathless minutes.
The London MAX Tour clocks a full half-hour of airtime, offering private groups of up to six an extended flight-seeing odyssey that includes nearly forty iconic London landmarks.
For an encore, book a package heli-trip from London to Highclere Castle (a.k.a. “Downton Abbey”) or Stonehenge.
Artist Carsten Höller is the main designer behind London’s newest attraction which will appeal to kids of all ages and thrill seekers alike.
Höller — developing on an initial proposal by Bblur Architecture — has designed the 178 m-long (584 ft) helter skelter, set to open on 24 June. The slide is the latest intervention to the 115 meter-tall (377 ft) Orbit, conceived by Anish Kapoor for the 2012 Olympics, following an abseiling attraction completed last year.
One of the most striking and enduring visual legacies of the Olympic and Paralympic Games that united London in 2012 the ArcelorMittal Orbit was designed by sculptor Sir Anish Kapoor and engineer Cecil Balmond. Its extraordinary looping structure has become a byword for design innovation and playful invention.
Made of 35,000 bolts and enough steel to make 265 double-decker buses, the ArcelorMittal Orbit offers extraordinary 20-mile views over Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the London skyline. Steel was partly chosen as a building material for its infinite recyclability – 60% of the ArcelorMittal Orbit is made from recycled steel, including washing machines and used cars.
The ArcelorMittal Orbit stands tall as Britain’s largest sculpture, part of the Olympic legacy that transformed East London, and a landmark in its own right, transfixing and delighting visitors with its offer of a unique view of a city.
The Orbit Tower slide will be made up of 30 sections — 12 of which are now complete — and feature 12 turns, including a tight corkscrew twist. It starts at a height of 74 meters and has a top speed of 15 miles per hour, taking 40 seconds to go down. Tickets for the attraction cost £15 ($22) and include access to the Orbit’s viewing platform.
This helter skelter slide is likely to become a must-see attraction for international adrenaline junkies and oddity seekers. London isn’t the only city expecting a helter skelter either, with plans afoot for a glass slide 1,000 ft up Downtown LA’s US Bank Tower.
Jody Victor’s crew found that there are trips you go on based on your personality. But don’t we do that already? If you’re not a beach person, you might not want to go Hawaii. If you’re not adventuresome, why would you go on a safari?
Let’s see what the article from Huffington Post says about the first 8 types:
The Classic Traveler:
This type likes organization and consistency. Traveling to a new place requires a plan. Maybe a guided tour of win country in Tuscan, Italy.
The Harmonious Traveler:
This traveler likes peace and harmony. It is suggested to retreat to Kasbah du Toubkal Ecolodge in Marrakech, Morocco. It is eco-friendly as well.
The Altruistic Traveler:
This traveling type is creative and nurturing. Helping others gives satisfaction. This traveler may make their time off a service trip. They suggest you check out National Geographic for top volunteer vacations. (This writer also suggest checking out local churches for mission trips, such as helping to rebuild homes in Haiti, New Orleans, or other places hit by disasters. Or even spend time with Habitat for Humanity.)
The Posh Traveler:
This traveler is logical and analytical. They have intellectual discussions and have high standards. London is a good destination as there is a lot of history, art, museums, campuses and rich literary history.
The Wild Traveler:
This type is independent and adapts easily. They love outdoors and seek thrills. Places might be backpacking in New Zealand where they can also bungee jump, canyon, and skydive.
The Chill Traveler:
A Chill Traveler is low key, cheerful and often are artistically talented. A laid back island vacation may be perfect – relaxing, snorkeling, sailing, volleyball. Check out Old San Juan.
The Offbeat Traveler:
Offbeat travelers are found to be artistic and idealistic. This type might like to go to India.
The Scholarly Traveler:
This traveler is a thinker, loves logic, innovation, philosophy, and art. A trip to Florence, Italy to visit the Duomo.
Next time, we will look at the other 8 types and their best vacation fit.