Best day trip out of town. The Irish refer to it as their Stonehenge, but it is older, doncha know. Perfect for a misty Celtic day. Be sure to volunteer to be one of the few who gets to go inside and see the recreation of the solstice. If you only have one day to get out to the country, this is it.
Bus Éireann (www.buseireann.ie) run day trips that include a Celtic cemetery, a pub lunch in Slane, and admission and tour of Newgrange.
More than a museum, more a way of life for Mr Wolfson who travelled the globe collecting artifacts from 1895 to 1945 and then didn't have a place to put them. So he built a museum. Seeing it all together gives real insight into the most interesting 50-year period in the 20th century. Great stuff in the gift shop.
1001 Washington Avenue at the corner of 10th Street, right in the middle of South Beach.
San Francisco's modern art museum has a respectable and worthwhile collection. All the big names are there, it's close to Union Square, and the building is remarkable.
It also has a very good cafe, specialising in Italian-inspired California cuisine. It's not a bad way to spend a few hours if you're tired of the hustle and bustle outside.
Alternatively, if you've just had enough of the art, it's a short walk to the Metreon, where you can blast your senses with IMAX movies to neutralize those Clyfford Stills.
151 Third Street (between Mission and Howard Streets), San Francisco, CA 94103; tel: (415) 357-4000, or www.sfmoma.org
Groundbreaking architectural delight, it is located in a secluded part of Montjuic ideal for contemplating the colourful sculptures on the rooftop terrace with the Med in the background. The museum is basically a deconstruction of Miro’s creative DNA with temporary exhibitions by other artists.
Marques de Comillas, nearest metro: Paral.lel
The art scene’s new toy in town – a converted Modernista factory sponsored by the Catalan bank La Caixa, it hosts excellent temporary exhibitions and also features an auditorium.
Casaramona, Avinguda Marquès de Comillas; nearest metro: Paral.lel
White-hot contemporary art museum in the Raval. A landmark which proved the turning point for the infamous barrio – it is the focal point for a whole host of activities.
Plaça dels Angels 1; nearest metro: Universitat; Closed on Tuesdays
There are no words to describe this Modernist fantasy – Gaudi’s creative DNA deconstructed in front of your eyes and overlooking the Catalan capital. From the largest balcony-bench in the world to the adorned ceramic animals via the mosaic, don’t bother going to the Universal Studios down the Catalan coast, this is the theme park of the future.
Carrer Olot, Metro: Lesseps
The artwork in Moscow’s metro stations is stunning, and each one has a different theme. The Kievskaya station is especially interesting, as it depicts Ukrainian agriculture and pride. In light of last year's Orange Revolution and Ukraine's desire to join the EU, the station's murals and mosaics are particularly poignant.
You can explore the station and then head up the street to Yolki Polki, one of a chain of restaurants serving decent Russian food at cheap prices (not an easy thing to find in Moscow). Their generous portion of borsht is delicious.
Kievskaya metro station
This modern sculpture to the ship-loving Tsar provokes astonishment and horror in equal measure from locals and visitors alike. It’s huge and is situated on the tip of an island in the Moskva River, near the Sculptures Park. It’s best viewed from the southern embankment though you can go onto the island if you so wish.
It depicts Peter steering a sailing vessel and has all manner of strange adornments right down to its considerable base. It’s worth seeing just for its hugeness and at the very least for having your photo taken in front of. Possibly the largest piece of kitsch in the world.
Bolotnaya Nab; nearest Metro: Polyanka
It’s another of Gaudi's very different designs (an apartment block) and in my book more impressive than La Pedrera (Casa Mila) further up the Passage de Gracia. Although an extensive renovation rather than design and build, it wowed me on my second visit to Barcelona as much as La Pedrera did on my first. More expensive at 16 euros for a full tour but worth it. A work of art.
Beautiful curvy and colourful designs, light and airy rooms, crafted woodwork, ceramics, glass and light fittings ahead of their time age (1905-7). The view of the exterior from the street alone is amazing (lit at night) and free if you are in a hurry.
Nr 43 Passeig de Gracia, 08007 Barcelona; L'Eixample distrct nearest metro: Passeig de Gracia
It's fascinating to see where the old chap lived - not only do you get to see some of his personal artefacts, but this house does also give you a sense of what it was like living there at the time. Beds, for example, are in what look like cupboards in the walls - they only slept sitting up in those days. You also get to see the top floor studio and, if your imagination's up to it, the painter at work.
This inviting restaurant/art gallery is certainly a touch of class. Walking through the courtyard you are met with modern art, clean architectural lines and a warm welcome.
Prior to polishing off exquisite oysters with chilli dip, stylish leather sofas on the second floor terrace beckoned; aperitif bliss. The grilled fish main and chocolate mousse desert went down well to boot.
Friendly service and an impressive wine list sold this backstreet gem. Not a place to rush or be rushed.
Three courses with wine for two: approx £30-50.
1/6 Soi Pipat 2, off Convent Road
Skytrain Stn: Sala Daeng
+66 02 238 0931
Located in the suburb of Bangkapi, this private museum is a better introduction to Thai art, architecture and history than any of the more famous sights in Rattanakosin.
Privately owned by a retired property tycoon who has made it his life's mission to buy back Thai antiquities from abroad, it's in a beautifully landscaped compound featuring painstakingly reconstructed small temples and palaces populated by Khun Prasart's exquisite collection of objets d'art.
Though the admission price is rather steep compared to other local museums at 300 baht per head, it includes the services of a personal guide and refreshments. You will be invited to browse in the gift shop, but there is absolutely no pressure to buy.
Not to be missed.
The museum is open only on weekends and you'll have to call ahead: Tel 3793601, 3793607, or 2539772. In good traffic, it's a twenty to thirty minute journey by taxi from Siam Square.
9 Krungthep Kritha Road Soi 4, Bang Kapi
In the heart of the little streets that criss-cross the old town is a small museum to Picasso and contains much of his early work, donated by the artist himself in 1970. It’s fascinating to see the sketches and paintings he made in conventional styles, before he discovered cubism, and indeed how accomplished some of them are. The painting in particular of his sister’s first communion is quite superb.
Carrer Montcada 15 - 23; www.museupicasso.bcn.es
A palace with pictures crammed onto every inch of wallspace: founder of D-P family fortunes Innocent X (Velasquez' greatest portrait) has a room to himself while Caravaggio and Titian compete for attention elsewhere with Bernini and Raphael. Sumptuously decorated salons and a glittering mirrored gallery: space to wander and gaze without queueing or jostling crowds. Price of entrance (€8) includes excellent personal audioguide by Jonathan Pamphilj: art history interspersed with family anecdotes.
Piazza dei Collegio Romano no.2Tel: 066797323www.doriapamphilj.it
You always have to queue so get there one hour early and walk through all the rooms directly to the Sistine Chapel, ignore the rest or do another time; then you arrive ahead of the crowds able to glory in it without the noise and hub-bub. Many people take mirrors to look down into to save their necks.
Two hours by train, north of Barcelona, is the town of Figueres. In Figueres is the Salvador Dali Theatre-Museum. No trip to Catalonia is complete without a visit to Dali’s self-constructed museum which is a work of art in itself. His idea was to give the visitor an experience of the truly surreal (the word seems to be often misused these days) and the visitor is not disappointed.
The building itself is wonderfully outrageous, and the exhibits give a good insight into Dali’s way of working and sense of humour and you can even see the crypt where the man is now buried. This museum has nearly a million visitors a year, so join the queue and be entertained by the exterior and its adornments while you wait.
Less a museum in the British sense and more an art gallery, with a range or erotic work, from Japanese scrolls to pieces by Georg Grosz and Weimar-era pornographic cartoons that were used as political satire. Far more interesting than the Sex Museum in Amsterdam.
Joachimstaler Straße 4, Charlottenburg; S3, S5, S7, S9/U2, U9 Zoologisher Garten. 10623 (886 0666)
On the north bank of the river, sitting on the southside of the Strand, Somerset House is well worth a visit either summer or winter. As well as housing the Courtauld Institute art collection the refurbishments at Somerset House have made much more sense of the outdoor space.
In summer there is a terrace cafe, and a beautiful modern fountain feature and in winter - from the end of November to the end of January - the courtyard becomes an ice rink (with an ice wall for lunatic climbers added for 2005). If you are prompt you canbook a skating session if not, you can watch the skating from the comfort of the cafe - it's rapidly becoming London's answer to the Rockerfeller Centre's skating rink in New York, but in some ways is prettier.
If you're low on cash and keen on jazz, this family-run community arts space - located in a converted railway arch under Herne Hill station - hosts a free jazz night every Thursday. The musicians - of quite a decent calibre - usually play from around 9.30pm to midnight. The studio also hosts poetry nights, like Penned in the Margins, which include open mic sessions. There's a little bar, local art and lounges.
Milkwood Road, Herne Hill
Train: Herne Hill station
Nearest tube: Brixton
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