White Cliffs of Dover, England
© LisaValder/Getty Image
Up, up and away!. Hot air ballooning into history
We all fly by the seat of our pants now and then, but hot air balloon pioneers Jean-Pierre Blanchard and John Jeffries took things to a whole new level. On 7 January, 1785, they made history over these chalk cliffs with the first aerial crossing of the English Channel. When their hydrogen-filled balloon lost altitude due to overloading, the two tossed all the cargo they could into the sea, trousers included, and reached France in their underpants - which must have been chilly at this time of year.
An iconic British landmark recognised worldwide, the White Cliffs of Dover rise more than 300ft (91m) in places out of the English Channel. The white chalk and grey-black streaks of flint are a geological match with shorter cliffs on the French side of “la Manche”, evidence of a land bridge that existed long before we primates got the notion to fly.