An Unforgettable Helicopter Tour of London
Our office over in Hammersmith is up on the 10th floor so when it comes to views of the capital, we are pretty spoilt. Breath-taking London sunsets (every time the sun is out that is), riverside views of the curvaceous Hammersmith corner of The Thames (yes, we saw the Olympic torch when it passed by last year) and far reaching vistas all the way to Canary Wharf and even Wembley Stadium.
Yet, how impressed Tanielle, our website co-ordinator, was by the views of her home city from the comfy and compact seat of a helicopter when she went on an an aerial tour of London. "The quick glimpses you may get from the sky when you’re flying into London Heathrow Airport", she stresses, "do not even come close".
The two main aerodromes in London, Elstree and Redhill, are a few miles outside the main city limit in the midst of beautiful countryside, but they are not too difficult to reach. You can book exclusive flights for up to 4 passengers including yourself or share a flight with 5-7 other people. The prices start from about £119 per person and the ride usually lasts for about 25-30 minutes with about 5 minutes for the pre-flight safety briefing. It's important to note that the unpredictable British weather plays a big factor for helicopter rides because a foggy or terribly windy day, may result in a flight being cancelled.
In seconds you are airborne and on your way to the buzzing city centre, flying past quaint villages and commuter towns. The tour route starts from Barnes in West London and follows the River Thames up to Greenwichpassing all the notable attractions and landmarks of the capital, some easier to recognize than others. The pilot, enthusiastically takes on the role of a tour guide, commenting about the various sights along the way, which you can hear over the massive headphones you have to wear to block out the loud noise of spinning blades above.
The brand new Shard towers above the rest of the city, and on a sunny day (which was when these photos were taken) it gleams like a brilliant reflecting mirror. Buckingham Palace, Houses of Parliament, London Eye, Battersea Power Station, Tower Bridge, St. Paul's Cathedral, The Gherkin, Canary Wharf Tower and the O2 are easy to spot and some of our popular central London serviced apartment buildings like St George Wharf in Vauxhall, Dolphin House in Westminster, Empire West in London Bridge and Discovery Dock in Canary Wharf can also be identified (by someone who relatively knows where they are on the map)
The helicopter tour operator that Tanielle booked with was London Helicopters Centres which operates helicopter tours throughout the week from its base in Redhill Aerodrome, Surrey.