The World Cycling Revival Festival is thrilled to bring you a rare opportunity in the modern day – a chance to take a ride in a hot air balloon right in the middle of London. Patrons to the Festival will be able to ride the Exodus Travels Tethered Hot Air Balloon and see the London skyline from an exquisite vantage point.
In the 70 years since the 1948 Olympics, the date our festival celebrates, the views across London have changed dramatically. In 1948 much of London was still in ruin following the Blitz of 1940-41, but the end of the decade marked a turning point and as Britain began to rebuild, and architects envisioned a city built into the sky.
From the early 1950’s, high-rise, residential tower blocks such as Trellick and Balfron Tower began to appear. By the 1980’s high-rise social housing had fallen out of favour and commercial buildings such as the NatWest Tower and Millbank Tower started to dominate London’s skyline. In the most recent decades this trend has continued, and the buildings most recognisable from our hot air balloon will no doubt be the Shard, the Gherkin and 122 Leadenhall Street, otherwise known as the Cheese-grater.
We have selected for you some stunning images of London from the period between the end of the Second World War and the present day. We wish we could take you back in time to see these views from the lofty heights of our balloon, but a little imagination will have to suffice!
The City of London skyline at night, taken from Union House, Threadneedle Street, 1st December 1970. (Photo by Peter King/Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)