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Tuesday, 20 September 2011

A visit "south"

I've just returned from a visit "south". To London to be precise, as it was a friend's 50th birthday and for her "birthday weekend" (this girl knows how to party) we went up in a helicopter over London, followed by dinner in a lovely Portuguese restaurant. The next day we travelled down to Goodwood in Sussex to stay overnight in a beautiful luxury hotel with spa. We visited Goodwood House (a "stately home" (English country house of the landed gentry) still in private ownership) - photos weren't allowed so you will have to content yourself with this link. The guides who showed us around the various rooms were really knowledgeable and engaging. We had afternoon tea in the ballroom - pretending we were 18th Century ladies taking tea while looking out at the beautiful grounds! Finally we had a tour of the stables (which are still used for Goodwood races) and viewed an exhibition by Tim Flach of stunning photos of horses. I had to buy the book "Equus" !  It was a brilliant weekend and the sun shone brightly upon us.

Later in the week I spent time catching up with some friends and family.  I also met the latest edition to our family, baby Ruby, who at six months old is a real sweetie! But I forbade anyone to call me "Great Auntie"!

Here are some photos of the helicopter trip. The helicopter was a very smart "executive style" model, with leather seats and plush carpet. One or two of our party were a little worried about throwing up on the carpet! But fortunately we were too engaged in the view to think about that once we took off. I just loved the flight, the all round view, the way we banked left and right, the vertical take off and landing.....  Ooooh I want to go up again!

I got to sit next to the pilot and had a set of controls in front of me (obviously not allowed to play with them, though the red buttons were calling to be pressed!).

It was great being above the city as you could really see how the river Thames winds it's way.

Albert Bridge (named after Queen Victoria's consort) is the second bridge from the bottom.

From left to right - Westminster Abbey, Houses of Parliament/Palace of Westminster (seat of the UK government), Westminster Bridge, and the "London Eye" (the big wheel).

Above - from left to right - the green and white building that looks like a rocket is known locally as "The Gherkin" (it's an office block), and right of centre is a building nicknamed "The Shard" - it's still under construction but will be an office block too. Below another view of the Shard plus Tower Bridge

Below the circular building is the Olympic Stadium, getting ready for next year's Olympics in London. (But don't get me started on *that* topic!)

Above is Greenwich Park (I think), which is just South of London. A very famous park. And below the rolling hills of Surrey

I hope you enjoyed your "tour of London"!


  1. Louise from Seattle21 September 2011 at 03:55

    Sian, you really hang around with the right crowd! What a great opportunity to "see" London, one of my favorite cities.

  2. Wow. Utterly jealous of course........they do Orkney helicopter tours don't they? Mind you on a decent day the view from the plane can be amazing. What a lovely birthday treat!

  3. Seeing an aerial view must have been so exciting. You are lucky to have a friend who knows how to celebrate in style!!

  4. MaryZ - oh yes definitely!

    Louise - even though I'm very familiar with London it was brilliant to see if from a different angle!

    OrkneyFlowers - Yes we're lucky in Orkney when coming in to land as on a clear day we can see many of the beautiful islands below us. It was fun going up in the "chopper" over London though!!

    VioletSky - yes it was great and yes she knows how to celebrate :-)