Asha Cottages is a small hotel right on the glorious sandy beach an hour south of Mombasa. Run on eco-friendly lines and set among a veritable arboretum of native trees and shrubs, it offers a relaxing tropical seaside holiday with plenty of activities for those who prefer snorkelling, SCUBA-diving, sailing or fishing to sunbathing. There is also bird and animal life aplenty. We were well looked after and entertained and the facilities are excellent and family friendly. Strongly recommended!
Asha Cottages, Dinai Beach, Ukunda, Kenya
The City Park in Budapest is a marvellous green spot behind Heroes' Square (www.budapestinfo.org/herossquare.html). The most attractive building is the Vajdahunyad Castle (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vajdahunyad_Castle), a replica of a gothic castle in Transsylvania. It is really spectacular, especially when the small boating lake beside the castle is filled with water during summer time. In the City Park you can find the Széchenyi Spa, the biggest bath in Budapest. The building is very old and looks terrific from the inside. The Zoo, the Circus and the Budapest luna park are also located here making the park a popular amusement spot.
In the middle of the beautiful North Yorkshire countryside, the twin attractions of this world heritage site are the perfect day out. The beautiful ruins of the cistercian abbey are a lovely walk from the lake and gardens of Studley Royal with its rolling deer park. Indulge your inner Regency bourgeois.
Fountain's Abbey, Studley Royal, North Yorkshire. A few miles west of Ripon, or 10 miles north of Harrogate (30 from Leeds). Off the B6265 and close to the A61.
They say 'you haven't seen Seattle until you've seen it from a duck', and for once, the slogan rings true.
As the city surrounds a great lake, a boat tour is a great way to explore Seattle, with many of its most arresting sights reachable by water.
The 90 minute tour goes across land and water, and the 'duck' is a Second World War 'amphibious vehicle' - basically a truck that floats!
Popular with kids, the 'Captain' plays music and gets the passengers to join in with games and spotting sights - expect alot of quacking and duck noises to be made.
But the tour itself will please the more mature 'sailors'- the tour kicks off at the Space Needle, and rides past Pike Place Market, downtown, Pioneer Square and Fremont, until you hit Lake Union.
Across the lake, you get a fantastic view of the city skyline, and get to see the cute houseboats in the canals (made famous by 'Sleepless in Seattle'). Highlights of the trip also include a voyage past the GasWorks park - on a hill overlooking the lake, this is the first industrial site in the world to be made into a public park. The grassy hill (popular with kite-flyers)is dotted with groups of rusting machinary and pipes - almost like red sculptures against the blue sky.
The best part of the tour for big kids everywhere? You get to ride a truck into the water.
516 Broad Street
I've stayed at Tenface for the last two weeks. It's located on Sukhumvit Road. Nice touches like a iPod in my room, sim card for local calls, Bangkok travel tips with BTS card and more. Plus excellent staffs who can speak English very well.
This tour is a truly unique way to sightsee around Seattle, and provides a remarkable look at the historic Pioneer Square's underground history.
The tour kicks off in an old saloon bar, before heading beneath the city's oldest streets for an eerie tour around abandoned underground shops, cafes and homes. After a great fire, tidal patterns and poor sewage caused houses to sink, the residents of Seattle were forced to build homes above the old city streets and abandon the first floors of every building, leading to the bizzare subterranean world you'll find today.
The tour guides have a great sense of humour and have loads of interesting anecdotes about the city you won't find on your average bus tour. If you go in the summer you might get a Senator or Councilman on holiday taking you around, which only adds to the amusing stories!
608 1st Avenue
Just down the road from Pike Place Market, this is an American Burger chain and diner with a kitsch fifties spin.
For cheap eats in Seattle, you can't go better than this blast from the past - the mock up fifties diner is surprisingly well done, with bright red booths, a jukebox you can request rock-n'roll tunes from, and perky staff who break into jive routines in the middle of a shift.
Kooky touches include old Coca-Cola ads on the walls, ketchup splodged into a smiley face on your plate, and a long bar for sipping shakes and malts, and watching the behatted chefs flip burgers.
Of course the main draw here is the food - all of it highly calorific but delicious fare. Oreo milkshakes so thick you're straw will get stuck (use a spoon, and don't be ashamed to drain the last dregs from the metal 'shaker' that comes with your glass), mountainous BLT's and oozing chili dogs. The burgers are even better; thick and juicy and come in all shapes and sizes, from the gut-busting Bacon Cheddar Double, to the 'Route 66' - complete with mushrooms, grilled onions and mozzarella cheese.
These burger's separate the men from the boys - don't even think about ordering a salad. After eating here, you'll never be able to face a McDonalds again.
600 Pine Street
Seattle, WA 98101
A less well known but picturesque and interesting road trip is along the Mekhong in Thailand. Travel from Bangkok – by car, bus, plane to Loei which is worth a few days in itself with its many national parks. If you arrive in June you could go to Dan Sai village for the Ghost mask festival- Phi Ta Kon.
From Loei drive the 50 kms to Chiang Khan passing mountains and the many flower growers. It is a sleepy traditional town by the Mekhong.
It has wooden shop houses and guesthouses overlooking the misty Mekhong in winter. You could stay in a guesthouse on the banks of the river. Then drive 10kms to Kheng Khut Khu to take a boat trip along the Mekhong to see the two coloured rapids.
From there you can take a winding road all along the Mekhong river. You can get to Nong Khai in about four hours, or stop along the way at Sang Khom which has river islands of sand in the dry season and a few restaurants right next to the river with uninterrupted views of Laos on the other side.
There are also waterfalls, forest temples and other sights if you wish to take a few leisurely days exploring the region.
At Nong Khai you could take the road bridge to Ventienne, or in October go to see the famous fireballs that mysteriously appear every Buddhist lent. They are attributed to the Naga living in the river.
(If you wish to drive back to Bangkok you could travel via Udon Thani – famous for its prehistoric settlement – Ban Chiang- dating back 3,000-5,000 years depending which archaeologists you believe.
Then go to Khon Khaen and stay at the very comfortable and sleek Pullman Raja Orchid hotel which was managed by Sofitel till a couple of years ago. If you wish to stay a couple of days a visit to the dinosaur museum and quarries at Kalasin There you can see the dinosaurs still being excavated.
At Khon Khaen you could drop off the car and fly back to Bangkok, or drive back through Khorat and visit Khao Yai forest and Praast Hin Phi Mai – Khmer ruins as day trips from Khorat.)
Near to Matlock is the National Stone Centre. It's open all year round and there is no parking charge and admission to most of it is free, which is very refreshing these days! There's a Discovery Centre with a quiz for the kds (or adults) and also onsite trails. It's all fairly simple and basic but a great day out for the kids to do something different and not cost the earth. Lots more info on the website, including details of dry stone wall courses, educational trips etc.
Middleton by Wirksworth
Tel/Fax: 01629 824833 (NSC offices)
Tel: 01629 825403 (Discovery Centre and Shop)
Hotel Andreas on Agistri. This is a really friendly place for couples and families who don't want the usual hotel package with entertainment et al. The best recommedation for Agistri is that it's where the Greeks go for holidays! We love the place. Also known as the best-kept secret in the Saronic Islands, only an hour and a half by catamaran from Piraeus.
It's Canada's most beautiful journey: drive from Vancouver through the Rocky Mountains (the most spectacular mountain/driving experience) to Calgary, and stop off at the Icefields, Sulphur Mountain and Peyto Lake to soak in all the glories of the Canuck wilderness. There will most likely be bear and definitely deer and elk spottings too, which the kids will like.
Easter aside, another great time to be in Calgary is July, when the Stampede features six massive rodeo events and chuckwagon races. How can you refuse real cowboys in chaps, deep-fried Twinkies with Coke and generally calorific Western fun? Calgary is reknowned for not only its oil industry but the best beef in Canada, so steak all round.
Go to America. Then bear north.
Paros Heaven is set on the Greek island Paros in the Aegean Sea.
We stayed there for two weeks in June and felt really part of the Greek Nature and Culture. It has amazing views over Anti-Paros and Angeliki made us feel really at home.
If it seems like the whole town has turned out for the Santa Semana (Easter Week) parades, that's probably because they have. A wonderful place to view this spectacle and enjoy the Andalucian sunshine in Spring.
Fly from Almeria or Murcia
Route 1 takes you on a breathtaking road trip right around the coast of Iceland. Driving along the coast you witness a wilderness so baron and beautiful it feels as though you are driving into a post card. A landscape crafted by volcanic eruptions and glacial slides, unspoilt by civilization.
Along the south coast the road reaches round remarkable waterfalls, geysers and sleeping volcanoes. Snow capped mountains share the horizon with frozen lakes and black sand beaches.
Driving at night is no less spectacular, with the northern lights baffling and amazing you as they flicker in the sky above between a blanket of stars, unspoilt by light pollution.
Places to stay along the way range from 4 star resorts to rustic farmhouses though for the most authentic roadtrip, camp and live out of the car!
Rent a car at the airport (Keflavík), skip Reykjavik and just start driving!
This is the National Aboriginal Cultural Institute, housing the world's largest collection of Aboriginal antiquities, and it blows other fusty museums out of the water.
The plains of Adelaide were once owned by the Kaurna (pronounced Garn-na) Aborigines, and Tandanya is their name for the city. Really learn about Adelaide's heritage by watching visual and performing arts, from the yidaki (didgeridoo) to storytelling, and dancing from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
Entry to the Centre is $5, but there is a free cultural tour every Thursday around the exhibits. It's a joy to discover Aboriginal culture, relatively unknown outside of Australia.
Haigh's is the Cadbury's of Australia, and Easter Time is the perfect excuse to drop into their factory and visitor centre for a guided tour.
This family-run company has been making hand-crafted chocolates for years, has won numerous awards and is famous with kids across its native land for making yummy Chocolate Frogs and Apricot Fruits.
A short drive or bus trip from the city centre, the tours are free and incredibly popular (call to book in advance) and last about 20 minutes.
After 'educating' yourself in the art of chocolate, visitors are rewarded with a special chocolate tasting and a free cup of tea or coffee, before picking from a factory fresh selection of chocolates and boxes of reduced 'seconds'.
The Gift Shop alone is worth the trip for a delicious souvenir - best buys include the 'Sparkling Shiraz Truffles' from South Australia's winelands and the 'Australia Collection', with chocolates using homegrown ingredients like macadamia nut and wattle seed. It's enough to convert even the most die-hard Dairy Milk fans.
Cuddle up and make some Aussie furry friends at Australia's biggest Koala Sanctuary.
There are over 130 Koalas and a host of other marsupials in this beautiful natural park, all roaming free in their natural habitat. Get snapped with one of the furry beasts in 'Koala Hug' photos and hand feed the kangaroos, or wander round the peaceful grounds and watch them hang from the trees.
There's a souvenir shop with all the usual stuffed toys and Koala paraphenalia, but the Koala Enclosure cafe boasts 360 degree views over the sanctuary while you sip your coffee.
One of the most scenic ways to get to the sanctuary is by boat, and a cruise departs from Brisbane's cultural center, sailing past the city's historic buildings and lush islands.
708 Jesmond Rd, Fig Tree Pocket, QLD 4069, Australia
Google map: tinyurl.com/m3gjyq
Fantastic custard tart available from most pastelarias around the city, although the original ones come from one shop in Belem (Antiga Fabrica dos Pasteis de Belem - you can spot it by the queues outside) where they call them Pasteis de Belem. Custard tart really doesn't do it justice, they are truly stunning and one is never enough.
At pastelerias across the city, or at Antiga Fabrica dos Pasteis de Belem, Rua de Belem 84-88, Belem
Best place to book your accommodation in Lisbon. Their website allows you to search and book from their vast array of apartments all situated around the city centre. They suit all budgets and needs and also have lots of photos of each apartment so you can choose the perfect one for you.
They will also send someone to meet you on arrival who will give you the lowdown on what to do, where to go and how to get there. A truly excellent service.
They go out of their way to please, from beginning to end. Highly recommended.
Excellent, friendly restaurant serving traditional, delicious Portuguese fare.
Reasonably priced food and an excellent wine list to boot.
The fish is particularly good and the customary cheeses and meats to start are the best I've tasted in Lisbon (especially the Queijo de Azetao).
Travessa de Queimada, Bairro Alto
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