2012 really is the year to put England on top of the world. Last week saw the opening of the Weymouth SEA LIFE Tower and Up at the O2 and from late July visitors will be able to get a very unique view of the London skyline with the opening of ArcelorMittal Orbit, designed by Turner Prize -winning artist Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond.
England has quite a history in thinking big. In celebration of all things great and not so small, VisitEngland looks at some of the nation’s highest works that are putting England on top of the world.
ArcelorMittal Orbit, Olympic Park, London (115 meters tall)
Opening 28 July
The ArcelorMittal Orbit rises over the Olympic site giving a brand new perspective of London from its freshly redeveloped home in the East End. The UK’s tallest sculpture to date, Kapoor’s swirling red took 18 months to construct and required 560 metres of tubular red steel to form the sculpture’s lattice superstructure. The result is a bold statement of public art that is both permanent and sustainable. Sitting between the Stadium and the Aquatics Centre, the ArcelorMittal Orbit will be a beacon of the Olympic Park during the Games. The structure is set to quite literally light up East London following the 250 coloured spot lights. Each can be individually controlled to produce a stunning digital combination of static and animated effects, including a 15 minute moving light show every evening after the Games.
Tickets cost £15 full price; £7 for young people aged 16 or under and seniors aged 60 or over.
Weymouth SEA LIFE Tower, Dorset (53 meters tall)
Weymouth Bay is part of England’s most scenic coastland. It’s also home to some of the country’s best sailing waters, and will host the Olympic and Paralympic sailing competitions this summer. Soaring high above the resort, the new Weymouth SEA LIFE Tower will provide stunning panoramic views of the Jurassic coastline – England’s first natural World Heritage Site – and out over Weymouth Bay, Chesil Beach and Portland. Turning through a full 360 degrees and climbing to over 170 feet above sea level, this is an experience not to be missed!
Tickets from £13 per person. Open Mon – Sun, 10am – 5pm (last admissions 4pm).
Up at the O2, London (53 meters tall)
The summer, Londoners are being given the opportunity to climb an icon. This breath-taking new attraction combines an exhilarating active outdoor challenge with a completely unique perspective on the capital. The unforgettable 90-minute experience will take visitors on an uplifting guided expedition across the roof of The O2 via a tensile fabric walkway suspended 53 meters above ground level. An observation platform at the summit will enable climbers to take in spectacular 360 degree views of the city and its many landmarks, including the Olympic Park, Thames Barrier, The Shard, Historic Royal Greenwich and Canary Wharf, before descending back to base.
Tickets cost just £22 for adults and children.
Emirates Air Line, London (over 50 meters tall)
Opening 28 June
The Mayor of London will fulfil his pledge to build the UK’s first urban cable car when the Emirates Air Line opens to the public on Thursday 28 June 2012, providing a new river crossing for East London. The 1.1km long river crossing, stretching between Greenwich and the Royal Docks, will have the capacity to carry up to 2,500 people per hour in each direction – the equivalent of 30 buses. For those who want to have an extended journey and enjoy the fantastic views of the City, there will be the option to take a non-stop return journey. This ‘360 degree tour’ will cost just £6.40 with Oyster.
Open seven days a week, from 7am to 9pm Mondays to Fridays, 8am to 9pm on Saturdays and 9am to 9pm on Sundays.
Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth (170 meters tall)
Soaring 170 metres above Portsmouth Harbour and the Solent, the Spinnaker Tower is taller than the London Eye and Big Ben and has already established itself as a national icon. The elegant viewing tower stands proud over one of the most fascinating seascapes in the world. Situated on the waterfront at Gunwharf Quays, it offers panoramic views of Portsmouth Harbour, the south coast and out to the Isle of Wight, with views stretching out for up to 23 miles – breathtaking by day and a glittering sea of lights by night. View Deck 1 boasts a glass floor, where visitors of all ages can dare to ‘walk on air’, View Deck 2 is home to a Café in the Clouds, while View Deck 3 – The Crow’s Nest – is open to the elements, enabling visitors to feel the wind in their hair.
Scafell Pike, Lake District (978 meters tall)
Did you know that this country has over 200 mountains? Of all the peaks of England, the majority can be found in the Lake District. These include Scafell Pike (England’s highest mountain), which sits majestically just waiting to be tackled. Legendary guidebook author Alfred Wainwright described it as “every inch a mountain”. Characterised by crags and jaw-dropping views, as part of the National Three Peaks Challenge, Scafell Pike is no walk in the park. Pack a picnic and climb to the summit for an exhilarating sense of achievement. After all that hard work why not relax at the Cuckoo Brow Inn, Ambleside. To receive 20.12% off your Bed and Breakfast stay, visit www.great2012offers.com or call; 015934 43425 and quote ‘2012’ to receive your discount.
Angel of the North, Newcastle (20 meters tall)
Up in Gateshead, Anthony Gormley’s The Angel of the North spreads its iron wings to 54 meters wide. After a controversial start in 1998, ‘The Angel of the North’ is now almost universally loved, and it seems the feeling is mutual; the sculpture’s wings are angled forward 3.5 degrees to create, in Gormley’s words, “a sense of embrace”. The English trend for creating highly visible works of art is set to continue – The Angel of the South, as it has been dubbed, is a proposed sculpture to be built at Ebbsfleet in Kent. Mark Wallinger’s sculpture will faithfully resemble a thoroughbred white horse. Only, at 160ft tall, it will be 33 times the size of your average steed. And those clothes-shy giants down south will soon be joined by a 34 meters high, 400 meters long, naked woman up north in Northumberland. When Charles Jenck’s Northumberlandia, or the Goddess of the North, is officially revealed to the public in 2013, is thought that she will be the largest human form ever sculpted into the land.
The View from The Shard, London
Opening February 2013
An icon for London in 2013, The View from the Shard is destined to be one of the capitals sort after visitor attractions when it opens early next year. High-speed lifts will transport the public to the viewing platform, where views will extend for an amazing 40 miles across the city. At 1,016 feet high, The Shard is regarded as one of the most ambitious architectural endeavours in the UK. Also in 2013, luxury hotel group Shangri-La will reach an even higher level of attainment when it launches a new luxury hotel inside The Shard. In addition to the views, a spa and business facilities, there’s the location and their reputation for hospitality and style. Now that’s what I call a room with a view.
For a range of fantastic offers on accommodation, transport, attractions and restaurants this summer, visit www.great2012offers.com