A Head for Heights

 

 

 

 

 
(co-written / curated with Alex Dalzell)

Scale the world’s most vertiginous icons.

With New York’s One World Trade Centre observation deck opening on Friday 29 May and our local team in NYC already sourcing tickets for members, our attraction specialists have chosen seven iconic structures and natural wonders that should be climbed. Call us to book all tickets and to arrange travel, accommodation – such as Global Hotel Collection – and local knowledge on what to eat, drink and do.

The Orbit, London
Anish Kapoor’s twisted steel installation divided opinion when it was erected for the London Olympic Games; but love it or loathe it there’s no denying that the views from the top are some of the capital’s best. Offering a new perspective looking west past Canary Wharf to the city centre, it’s a must-do if you’re visiting the Olympic Park for any of the summer events. Once you’ve taken in the view you can bypass the stairs on the way down by booking an abseiling session – call us for full details and reservations.

Eiffel Tower, Paris
This iron latticework icon of the Parisian skyline was constructed as the entrance to the 1889 World Fair and over 120 years later, it continues to welcome millions of visitors every year. Dusk is a popular – and very romantic – time to visit, as the changing light across the city is beautiful. Be sure to take a stroll past at night to see the tower sparkle in its coat of golden lights. Tickets sell out weeks in advance but we can source tickets even during peak holiday season and at weekends.

Empire State Building, New York
Immortalised by films including An Affair to Remember and Sleepless in Seattle, this 102-storey skyscraper is a must for visitors to the Big Apple. Some argue that the Rockefeller Center is better, as it offers the chance to have the Empire State in your souvenir photos, but we feel that you can’t beat the original. To avoid the longer queues, we recommend visiting when it opens at 8am or making a late-night trip to see the city lights sparkle – the last elevator ride is at 1.15am.

CN Tower, Toronto
For far-reaching views of the city, head to the lookout level 346 metres above ground. One storey down, test your nerve by standing on the 2.5-inch-thick glass floor to peer down on the streets below. If you’re feeling brave, the Edge Walk allows you to hang over the tower’s edge 356 metres above the city, or for something easier on the stomach, we recommend dinner at the 360 revolving restaurant. It’s one of Toronto’s finest and the seasonal dishes can be paired with any of the 550 wines housed in the world’s most vertiginous wine cellar.

The Grand Canyon, Nevada
No matter how many pictures you’ve seen of it, nothing can prepare you for the sheer scale of this natural wonder. The facts alone defy superlatives – it’s 600 feet deep, has existed for more than two billion years and is 277 miles long. There are, however, two activities that’ll help you get to grips with its enormity – taking a helicopter ride through the gorge or edging your way onto the U-shaped glass walkway that teeters over the edge. It’s heart in the mouth stuff, but an experience that’ll stay with you forever.

Lion’s Head, Cape Town
Paragliding is an exhilarating experience wherever you do it, but Cape Town provides a stunning backdrop. As you stand atop Lion’s Head, running down the side of the hill seems like a scary prospect, but when the Atlantic breeze carries you high above the city the views take in Sea Point and the ocean to the west and the imposing Table Mountain to the east. With the city laid out beneath you, look out for the enormous Cape Town Stadium, V&A Waterfront and the colourful houses of the Bo-Kaap area.

Burj Khalifa, Dubai
Towering 830 metres into the sky, the world’s tallest building is a feat of modern architecture and it’ll be in your eye line no matter where you are in the city. Admiring it from afar is one thing, but anyone visiting Dubai should call us to book tickets to the observation decks on the 124th and 148th floors. If you’d like to linger, we can also reserve you a table at the world’s highest restaurant on level 122 and if you want to wake up to the views we can arrange a stay at the Armani hotel.

Pictured: Edgewalk at the CN Tower