Leg 177 EGOS - Shawbury (England) to EGLC - London (England)
EGOS - Airport Info
ICAO code: EGOS
Airport name: Shawbury Airport
Maximum runway lenght:
Instrument approach (ILS, LOC, LDA, and SDF):
Shawbury is a large village in North Shropshire, England and home to RAF Shawbury, a helicopter base for the Royal Air Force of the United Kingdom. The village lies on the A53 and is 5 miles North East of Shrewsbury, county town of Shropshire.
The River Roden flows through the village.
EGLC - Airport Info
ICAO code: EGLC
Airport name: London City Airport
Maximum runway lenght:
Instrument approach (ILS, LOC, LDA, and SDF):
What can be said about London that hasn't been said so many times before? That the grand resonance of its very name suggests history and might? That it is the premier city in Europe in terms of size, population and per-capita wealth? That its opportunities for entertainment by day and night go on and on and on? London is a cosmopolitan mixture of the Third and First Worlds, of chauffeurs and beggars, of the establishment, the avowedly working class and the avant-garde. Unlike comparable European cities, much of London looks unplanned and grubby, but it is precisely this 'organic' feel that provides much of the appeal.
Appealing, too, is the endless list of fantastic world-class museums, monuments, buildings, churches and historical sites. Visiting London is like being let loose on a giant-sized Monopoly board clogged with traffic. Even though you probably won't know where you are exactly, the names will at least look reassuringly familiar. The city is so enormous and so jam-packed with attractions, visitors will need to make maximum use of the efficient underground train system: unfortunately, this dislocates the city's geography and makes it hard to get your bearings. Doing some travelling by bus helps fit the city together. Travelling above ground is also a great way to soak up the sights and sounds of this diverse, multicultural city; and maybe soak up some of the falling rain in the process.
The main geographical feature of the city is the River Thames, which meanders through central London, dividing it into northern and southern halves. The central area and the most important sights, theatres and restaurants are within the Underground's Circle Line on the north bank of the river. The trendy and tourist-ridden West End lies within the western portion of the loop, and includes Soho, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square and Regent St. The East End, so beloved of Ealing comedies, lies east of the Circle Line; it used to be the exclusive preserve of the Cockney but is now a cultural melting pot. There are interesting inner-city suburbs in North London, including Islington and Camden Town. South London includes a mess of poor, dirty, graffiti-ridden suburbs, like Brixton, which have vibrant subcultures of their own.
Accommodation in London is ridiculously expensive and in short supply in July and August. There's the usual mix of hostels, university colleges, B&Bs and hotels. Earl's Court is a major centre for cheap hostels and hotels, but there are other good centres in Bloomsbury and Notting Hill. Less-cheap alternatives are Paddington, Bayswater and Pimlico. Eating out is also expensive, though Indian, Chinese and Italian restaurants are less threatening to your wallet. Culinary hunting grounds are Covent Garden, Soho and north of Leicester Square.
It's the heart of visitors' London, beating with tour buses, cameras and flocks of persistent pigeons. On the square's northern edge is the cash-strapped National Gallery, which has one of the world's most impressive art collections. Famous paintings include CÚzanne's The Bathers and van Eyck's Arnolfini Wedding. Entry to the gallery is free, which means if you feel like dropping in and looking at just one or two pictures, you can do so at your leisure without feeling obliged to cover extensive territory.
Also in the vicinity are the National Portrait Gallery, a place to see lots of faces from the Middle Ages to modern times, and St Martin in the Fields, with an adjoining craft market and a brass-rubbing centre in the crypt.
The resting place of the royals, Westminster Abbey is one of the most visited churches in the Christian world. It's a beautiful building, full of morose tombs and monuments, with an acoustic field that will send shivers down your spine when the choirboys clear their throats. The roll call of the dead and honoured is guaranteed to humble the greatest egoist, despite the weighty and ornate memorabilia. In September 1997, millions of people round the world saw the inside of the Abbey when TV crews covered Princess Di's funeral service. Since then the number of visitors has increased by 300%, and the visit is now more restricted, with some areas cordoned off. One of the best ways to visit the abbey is to attend a service; the atmosphere and acoustics at evensong are awesome and inspiring.
Houses of Parliament
The awesome neo-Gothic brilliance of the Houses of Parliament has been restored thanks to a spring clean of the facade. The building includes the House of Commons and the House of Lords, so the grandeur of the exterior is let down only by the level of debate in the interior ('hear, hear'). There's restricted access to the chambers when they're in session, but a visit around 6pm will avoid the worst of the crowds. Check the time on the most recognisable face in the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben.
Nearby, Downing St, the official residence of the prime minister (no 10) and the chancellor of the exchequer (no 11), has been guarded by an imposing iron gate since the security forces realised that the lone iconic bobby outside Maggie's door was not sufficient to stop the IRA mortar bomb attack in 1989.
The Queen opened Buckingham Palace to the public for the first time in 1993 to raise money for repairs to Windsor Castle. The interiors range from kitsch to tasteless opulence and reveal nothing of the domestic life of the Royal Family apart from a gammy eye when it comes to interior decor. The changing of the guard is a London 'must see' - though you'll probably go away wondering what all the fuss was about.
Not far off and definitely worth a stroll is St James's Park, which is the neatest and most royal of London's royal parks. St James's Palace is the only surviving part of a building initiated by the palace-mad Henry VIII in 1530. Just near the park's northern edge is the Institute for Contemporary Art, a great place to relax, hang out and see some cutting-edge film, dance, photography, theatre and art.
Humongous Hyde Park used to be a royal hunting ground, was once a venue for duels, executions and horse racing, and even became a giant potato field during WWII. It is now a place of fresh air, spring colour, lazy sunbathers and boaters on the Serpentine. Features of the park include sculptures by Jacob Epstein and Henry Moore and the Serpentine Gallery, which holds temporary exhibitions of contemporary art.
Near Marble Arch, Speaker's Corner started life in 1872 as a response to serious riots. Every Sunday anyone with a soapbox - or anything else to stand on - can rant or ramble on about anything at all.