Ultimate luxury with Paris helicopter tour

Make your visit to Versailles truly special with a helicopter tour from Paris. See the most popular attractions in the Paris area from the air, including the Seine River, Bois de Boulogne and of course the Palace of Versailles. Land not far from Versailles for a drink (included) and pose for pictures in front of the helicopter. During the return trip to Paris, fly over sights such as Montparnasse, Trocadéro, La Défense and one of the most recognizable monuments on earth – the Eiffel Tower. Select either a morning, afternoon or evening departure for your helicopter flight. Highlights Helicopter tour from Paris to Versailles Soar over Paris on a 25-minute round-trip helicopter flight Admire the Seine River and Versailles Palace from above Enjoy a drink and photo opportunities during your 1-hour stopover near Versailles Catch aerial views of the Eiffel Tower, Montparnasse and La Défense on your return flight Choose a morning, afternoon or evening departure

 

What you can expect

Make your way to the heliport in the southwestern part of Paris to meet your pilot and begin your helicopter tour. Climb aboard the 6-person Ecureuil helicopter for a 1.5-hour tour over the city of Paris to Versailles. Soar over the Seine River to see the Parc des Princes Stadium, Parc de St-Cloud and Longchamp Racecourse along the perimeter of the Bois de Boulogne. It only takes a short 15 minutes of flying to reach the city of Versailles, at which point you’ll get a unique vantage point on one of the most famous sights in the entire country – the Palace of Versailles. Your pilot lands the helicopter not far from the town at an airfield, where you’ll have a chance to sip a complimentary drink, get some photographs of yourself in front of the helicopter and chat with your pilot about flying. The stopover outside Versailles lasts one hour – a mandatory duration under French law for all helicopter tours from Paris – and there is even a video you can watch about what it takes to fly helicopters while you relax. The return trip to Paris takes 10 minutes, and the views include Trocadéro, Montparnasse, La Défense and the beautiful Eiffel Tower itself. In the case of bad weather, the flight may need to be rescheduled for an alternative date. Please book your flight for one of the first days of your stay in Paris in order to allow for possible rescheduling.

 

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Go wild at Chessington!

Chessington World of Adventures is made up of ten themed lands, Chessington Zoo and SEA LIFE, here’s an overview of each area including the attractions that you’ll find in them. There’s more information and photos available for many of the best rides, just click on the red highlighted names. You can also rate those rides and read reviews.

 

Africa

Prepare to go wild with Penguins of Madagascar Live! Operation: Cheezy Dibbles and join your favourite characters as they sing and dance their way through a live show in jungle surroundings. There’s extra fun with the penguins nearby at Treetop Hoppers and classic ride Todie’s Crazy Cars.

 

Chessington SEA LIFE

With over 20 marine life displays housing species ranging from tiny shrimps and starfish to magnificent sharks and stingrays, this is an aquatic attraction, not to be missed! The 250,000 litre aquarium brings kids of all ages almost nose to nose with a wide range of sea creatures, creating the illusion that it is the visitor is on display while the fish swim freely around. There are also interactive touchpools and a walkthrough ocean tank that offers a final ‘wow-experience’ as the fish swim overhead.

 

Chessington Zoo

Lots of wild animals can be found here, and there are live shows to enjoy at Penguin Bay, Sealion Bay and Wild Wood. You can get up close to big cats and gorillas at Trail of the Kings, discover the Creepy Caves, play amongst monkeys at AMAZU Treetop Adventure and explore the Wanyama Village & Reserve with zebras and gazelles.

 

Forbidden Kingdom

An egyptian location sets the scene for some frightful rides. The interactive laser adventure Tomb Blaster will put a chill down your spine as you fight against evil forces while the thrilling Rameses Revenge will make everyone scream!

 

Land of the Dragons

This mystical world full of adventures is bursting with great attractions ideal for children 2 to 8 years old. There’s the spinning roller coaster Dragon’s Fury, a spinning boat ride called Sea Dragons, and a swinging and rocking ship named Griffin’s Galleon. Not to mention the Canopy Capers treehouses, Dragon’s Tale puppetry show and Dragon’s Playhouse!

 

Market Square

In the centre of the park you can find Hocus Pocus Hall, a magical 4-D attraction to explore, alongside two classic rides Tiny Truckers and the Carousel.

 

Mexicana

At this mexican themed village, jump on the Rattlesnake roller coaster, where wild carts wind around sharp corners and steep drops. Set within Scorpion Valley, a land of sweeping sands and gold mines, adventurers must board the old train of the Scorpion Express as it’s the only way to cross the sands, ruins of the mines, and the abandoned town.

 

Mystic East

Step into an eastern land where you can sample delicious oriental food or take a trip down the river on Dragon Falls. Beware as what begins as a gentle cruise through the lakes and valley leads to a exciting plunge. For a fantastic view of the whole park hop on board the observation wheel, Peeking Heights, which towers over the land.

 

Pirates Cove

How about a massive pirate ship called the Black Buccaneer to get you in the swing of things, or what about the little ones getting caught up in a Sea Storm, well if that sounds good head for this swash buckling cove!

 

Transylvania

Themed on the spooky location of many stories and films, watch out for witches, ghosts and ghouls in this haunting land. The flying bats of the Vampire suspended family roller coaster and the the legendary foam-fizzing Bubbleworks can both be found here.

 

Wild Asia

An ancient and mythical kingdom where Kobra, an awesome spinning Disk’O Coaster ride, lurks in the jungle next to family favourites including the Monkey Swinger and the Tuk Tuk Turmoil dodgems, with the Lorikeet Lagoon walkthrough aviary and Maharaja’s Market just begging to be explored. Kids can go crazy the Temple of Mayhem indoor play area and take a bumpy ride on the colourful Jungle Bus.

 

Zufari

Deep in the heart of the African outback, off the beaten track, lies a world of wild adventure. A specialist conservation team have stumbled upon previously undiscovered land in Africa which they have named Zufari. Explore the land on Zufari – Ride into Africa. Family favourite Flying Jumbos is here.

 

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A Royal welcome at Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle is one of three official residences of The Queen and has been home to the Sovereign for over 900 years.

The Castle is the largest inhabited castle in the world and the oldest in continuous occupation. The imposing towers and battlements of the Castle loom large from every approach to the town, creating one of the world’s most spectacular skylines.

 

What strikes many people used to visiting historic ruins or attractions with a ‘preservation’ or museum like atmosphere is that Windsor Castle is in pristine condition and fully working. There around 150 people for whom Windsor Castle is their home, the Queen herself is in residence many weekends.

You are truly a guest when visiting, as a visitor you are not the sole reason for the place being open.

 

When To Visit Windsor Castle

The doors open to the public at 09:30 every day, including Sunday, (09:45 November to February). Closing is 17:30 and 16:15 respectively with last entrance 90 minutes prior to closing time.

 

Changing of the guard happens between 11:00 and 11:30 also adding to the morning rush. Many of the coach tours will commonly stay until around midday departing after the changing of the guard.

 

On Sundays St George’s is closed for religious services.

 

It follows that if you’re an independent visitor during the summer months, a good strategy is to visit the other attractions of Windsor & Eton during the morning and visit the castle after lunch. Visitor numbers are also much higher at weekends than during the week.

 

Lastly, the castle may close for state visits etc. Do consult the Windsor Castle official web site, (link at top of page). This also states the days during the winter when changing of the guard takes place and seasonable closing times.

How Long To Visit Windsor Castle & Logistics

During the winter months when there are no queues the average visitor will take 90 minutes to 2 hours in the Castle, although the official Windsor Castle web site suggest 3 hours or more.

 

An audio tour is part of the admission price, available in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Russian and Mandarin. You simply key in the number of the room or place you are in and a full commentary is given. There are many optional commentaries within some commentaries that go into great detail about individual items.

 

Inside Windsor Castle

There are also classic guided tours that leave regularly from near the entrance on a schedule.

 

No photography or video recording is allowed within the State Apartments or St George’s Chapel. Eating and drinking are not permitted in the State Apartments or St George’s Chapel. You will be asked to place drinks and food in closed bags before being admitted to the Castle. You can purchase bottled water at the Courtyard Shop at the beginning of your visit.

At peak times during the summer there are often long queues to the entrance of the State Apartments.

 

On paying your admission you pass through airline style security where bags are put through an x-ray machine and you empty your pockets and pass through a detector door.

Once through the security you pick up your audio phone at the kiosk opposite. There is an information desk, toilets and gift shop here too. By the audio kiosk is a sign that details the times of the guided tours that day. It is from here these tours start.

Please note, the exit is from the main Windsor gateway, not the visitor entrance.

Changing of the Guard At Windsor Castle

 

Windsor Castle Changing Of The Guard

Many visitors like to time their visit so they can view the changing of the guard. This is very similar to that practiced in Central London at Buckingham Palace or Horseguards.

If you’re not visiting the castle you can still see the band marching through the town around 11:00. The barracks is about 500m from the castle, the band passes the Guildhall and Old Town before turning into the castle at Queen Victoria’s statue.

 

If you’re in the castle, congregate in the parade ground by the main exit in front of St George’s Chapel.

The whole thing takes around 30 minutes here.

State Apartments Windsor Castle

Most people after getting their introductions and briefings about the castle on their tour will make their way past the moat of the Round Tower (not open to the public) up to the north terrace. It is here that the entrance to the State Apartments is situated.

 

From the north terrace you gaze down to Windsor town below and get far reaching views of the surrounding countryside. Windsor town looks much smaller from up here.

 

The entrance is roped off into two options. One gives entrance direct into the State Apartments, one precedes this by giving you access to St Mary’s doll house. The dolls house is precisely what you’d expect, a single miniature dolls house suitable for royalty complete with miniature crown jewels. The viewing area is quite dark. On exiting there are display cabinets of costumes.

 

The State Apartments follow this. Much of the southern part was destroyed by fire in 1992 and has been restored. Arguably your experience is much the better for it, some of the rooms that were beginning to look faded and antique now really do bring alive what the original rooms would have looked like on completion

 

Such are the treasures that you can perhaps look at an obscure painting only to realise that your are inches from an original Rubens when looking at the information on it.

 

St George’s Chapel

St George’s Chapel is a working church with services every day. St. George’s Chapel is open daily but closed to visitors on Sundays as services are held throughout the day. Worshippers are welcome to attend the services. The church also closes earlier than the rest of the castle to prepare for the evening service.

If you’re entering the castle from early afternoon onwards its worth making St George’s your first port of call.

 

Within the chapel are the tombs of ten sovereigns, including Henry VIII and his third wife Jane Seymour, and Charles I. The Gothic architecture is particularly impressive, particularly the roof.

Perhaps most fascinating and differentiating the chapel from similar churches and abbeys is the order of the garter, an English order of chivalry with a history stretching back to medieval times. Membership of the Order is extremely limited and includes the monarch of the United Kingdom, the Prince of Wales and not more than twenty-five companion members.

Members are each assigned a stall in the chapel choir above which his or her heraldic devices are displayed.

 

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A fun-filled family adventure at Tower of London

Her Majesty’s Palace and Fortress, better known as the Tower of London, is a historical castle known for its grim history of famous executions. You can find it in the aptly-named Tower Hill area of London, by St Catherine’s Dock and opposite HMS Belfast. Age most suitable for is 5-7 year olds and 8-11 year olds

What’s on offer

Don’t just expect one tower, expect 20! The Tower of London is huge; bursting with a thousand years of British history. Expect to learn a lot about Britain’s medieval past and royal reign.

It’s home to the Crown Jewels, numerous historical exhibitions, the famous Yeoman Warders (the Beefeaters) and their popular walking tour, the six ravens and even an old zoo. You can also walk the wall around the Tower and witness amazing views of London.

There’s plenty of colourful history to discover, including the Fusiliers museum and an exhibit sponsored by the Royal Mint Museum.

There are also several activities for children to take part in. During school holidays, special events are usually available aimed at primary school level children, such as arts & crafts and costume-guided events. There’s also a multimedia guide for the Tower of London specifically designed for children and a free booklet, which will help to keep little minds occupied in any queues.

Make sure to check the official website to see what’s on while you’re there.

Highlights

One of the most popular parts of a trip to the Tower for parents and older children is the walking tour with the Beefeaters. It’s been described as “informative”, “entertaining” and “funny”. Of course, seeing the magnificent Crown Jewels is a highlight, if you can survive the long queues.

For younger children, seeing the ravens and using the interactive Royal Beasts displays should be a real delight – especially if your child is an animal lover. The Fortress reveals what it was like to be there in medieval times and there’s even a Knight school for budding 1390’s warriors.

What to watch out for

– It’s a very popular and busy tourist site. Expect to queue.

– A lot of the surfaces around the Tower of London are cobbled and therefore, not buggy-friendly. There are designated areas to leave buggies in a few places, but it’s ‘at your own risk’. Some areas may charge £1. The White Tower does not allow pushchair access at all.

– Be prepared for lots of walking – and lots of little steps, steep stairs and uneven surfaces. With so much to see, little feet could easily become tired here, so take lots of sit-down breaks. Fortunately, there are lots of benches around the Tower.

– It’s also very much an outdoor attraction, so don’t forget to pack the umbrellas. When packing raincoats etc, keep in mind that The Tower of London doesn’t have luggage or cloakroom facilities.

– There is a baby-changing facility, and a female-only changing facility, but that’s it. So prepare for it to be busy.

– The kids’ menus at the Tower’s café are not extensive. Save money by bringing a picnic.

– While the Tower of London is relatively child-friendly, it’s also a landmark famous for beheadings. Therefore, some areas of the Tower, like the Torture Exhibition at the bottom of the Wakefield Tower, are obviously not suitable for some young children.

– Finally, be warned – there are some parts of the Yeoman Warder tour that could also potentially be frightening. Make sure to ask a member of staff what’s included in the tour before using your own judgement.

– The Crown Jewels is usually one of the busiest exhibits. To avoid the long queues, arrive when the Tower opens and visit the Jewels first.

– If your child has a short attention span, The Tower of London website recommends buying a special ‘family member’ ticket, which allows you and the kids to take in the historic sights at your own pace, perhaps over several days. Either that, or select a few exhibits to visit and cut down your visiting time.

What the owners say

“Families have always lived and worked in this famous fortress, from royal families to guards and servants, even prisoners! Now you can join them for an exciting day of discovery. However old your children are, there is plenty to see both inside and out that will entertain them, whatever the weather.”

 

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The ultimate view from the famous London Eye

The London Eye dominates the skyline on the south bank of the Thames at Westminster. When it was built, it was the world’s largest observation wheel – it was intended as a temporary attraction but, like the Eifel tower before it, was so popular they kept it going. The wheel offers some of the most astonishing views out over London, which is a surprisingly low rise city in the centre, out towards Greenwich and Olympic park in the East and the rest of the city to the West. It’s probably the best place to get an impression of the sheer size of London, rather than the few square miles of history in the centre which is what most people think of as London. The views are particularly good at sunset. There are some interpretation boards to tell you what you are looking at, but you might be better off bringing a guide book as well, as these are at one end of the capsule. The capsules don’t dangle like normal pods, but rotate in their casing very slowly, so you keep a good view without being obstructed by the structure of the wheel all the way round.

I’ve seen some reviews complaining you have to share your capsule. This is true. The capsules are very large, and there is plenty of space for everyone to walk by each other and take their own photos. I can’t guarantee you won’t have a view-hog in your capsule but that could happen at any observation deck. Anyway, I’ve never been rich enough to get private viewings in the Eifel Tower, CN Tower or Empire State Building either – I don’t see why people think the London Eye should be different! I’ve also seen complaints that you just see “the top of some buildings.” This is the point of all observation decks everywhere. If you don’t like seeing the tops of buildings, this would be a very bad use of your money.

It’s expensive, at about £20 a ticket by the time you factor in booking fees if you book online. But the view from St Pauls doesn’t give you as good a view over Westminster, and although you can now see the view from the observation deck at the Shard, that’s more expensive and doesn’t have all the fun of being in a giant ferris wheel. Disabled access is good, especially if you phone ahead – if someone with you can’t manage queues easily, even if they aren’t registered disabled, the staff will let them sit down until the rest of the group get to the front of the queue, and I think in some cases wheelchair users can even skip the line. They will slow the wheel right down to help you on and off if needed, and there’s a seat to rest on in each capsule. The ride takes about half an hour. The queues used to be astonishingly long, and probably still are at peak times like Easter Weekends, but on the February Sunday when I went it was only about 5 minutes. Tickets can be pre-booked online, although that only skips one of the queues.

All in all, this is good attraction for your first trip to London and for any fans of observation decks and impressive engineering. It’s not cheap, and you should skip it if you don’t like heights, or aren’t impressed with views. It is, of course, a great big tourist trap, but it never pretended not to be and sometimes that’s OK.

 

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