A stylish all purpose cafe-bar with good bar food, lovely cakes and pastries, excellent local brewed Beagle Ales, and low key jazz and other live entertainment.
It's all in a 100 year-old corrugated tin house on the dockfront crammed with prints and paraphernalia which tells the compelling history of the settlement.
Visit the Aillwee Caves where bear remains dating back thousands of years were found. Fantastic up close stalactites and stalagmites that are continuously being formed and almost touch each other! The children will love the spookiness, the adults will be amazed by the timescales. Great coffee shop too.
You want drama? You got it. Dunnottar Castle in Aberdeenshire is about as dramatic as it gets. An ancient ruined castle sitting precariously on the edge of a cliff, overlooking the ragged North Sea - it has been home to some of Scotland's best history, from William Wallace to the siege of Cromwell's army.
You can explore both inside and out, and then take a run along the coastal path and a peek among the rockpools down on the little beach. A perfect day out for both boys and girls! Also a good spot for budding photographers too - you can't fail to take a great pic here.
www.dunnottarcastle.co.uk/ nearest town is Stonehaven.
Face it - you might think you're going to visit every far-flung corner of the Middle Kingdom but if you're only in Beijing for the 2008 Olympics, forget it. Instead head for this Tibetan Lamasery. The largest of its kind outside the real deal, with its aroma of incense and yak butter, it’s a brief taste of the roof of the world.
Yonghe Gong Dajie 12
Yonghe Gong Metro Station
Bratislava Castle is a must see. Great views over Bratislava, a cool museum to have a look about in (it costs though) and, if you walk back into the city, there's some cool little bars to keep you occupied on the way down.
Warning - if you get a tram, make sure to buy a ticket. They're very, very inexpensive and you don't want to be caught without one. Two of the lads I was travelling with got stopped by plain clothes inspectors who wanted £35 from them (known as a tourist fine).
My mates kicked up a fuss until a policewoman came on, told my mates to pay up or else they'd be taken to the police station, and then left. Not very pleasant.
Also, stay away from the train station area, a very dodgy area. I've never been propositioned as many times in my life!
The Ski resorts of Sassotetto, Maddalena and Bolognola are small scale but a great place to learn or get a long weekend fix and give visitors the opportunity to combine skiing or boarding with a bit of culture and touring the beautiful area of Le Marche.
Prices are also very reasonable; passes and ski/boot hire are both about £12 a day. The resorts have just invested in four new lifts, artificial snow canons and a new trattoria.
The town of Sarnano is a top base for a white week in the Sibillini mountains, it has over 20 restaurants, a late music bar and even has a funky nightclub.
There's plenty to see and do locally, the area is full of wonderful medieval villages and fantastic for walking below the snowline.
There are many hotels locally or maybe you would prefer a cosy apartment with woodburning stove and free wood, in the old Sarnano Farm Villa San Raffaello.
The resort is easily reached on cheap flights into Ancona, Pescara, Perugia and even Rome and Bologna.
Ski resort piste map: www.scuolasci-montisibillini.it/pagine/cartina.htm
This section of the city is amazing. It has a real Middle Eastern feel combined with far east. There is one main street next to the ancient city wall which you can turn off to reach the Great Mosque. The street is alive with people and the perfect place to sit and enjoy the unique Chinese Muslim culture and food of spiced meats, noodles with a type of bread dough and delicious spicy flatbreads. I enjoyed many a beer here watching the world go by.
In the early morning, there are groups of people practicing all types of kung fu and tai chi chuan. Many people contentedly entertain each other with music, songs or quietly playing cards. You can also practice with them if you are so inclined. This is another good activity for the jetlagged.
What makes the temple unique is the century-old trees - line upon line of Chinese cypress, Chinese juniper and scholar trees. Some of the cypresses are more than 600 years old. Dr Henry Kissinger, when he visited the temple, stated that while the USA could recreate the Temple of Heaven if it desired, it could not create the trees!
The old town is a beautiful reminder of the 2000 year history of Lagos. Although most of it was destroyed in the tsunami and earthquake of 1755, there are still old buildings from the 16th century and the governor's castle.
There is a marina for boats from all over the world, dolphin watching by experts, coastal cave exploring in small boats with guides, and some of the best golf courses in Portugal nearby.
Shopping is a delight, with leather goods on every street corner and craft stalls, manned by the friendliest people anywhere.
For jazz lovers, the grave of Adolphe Sax (November 6, 1814 – February 4, 1894), a Belgian musical instrument designer and musician (clarinetist), best known for inventing the saxophone is in Cimetière de Montmartre.
Montmartre cemetery, 37 Avenue Samson.
For a glimpse of the Paris of Toulouse Lautrec visit Chartier, a restaurant which looks as if it hasn't changed in a hundred years. It's cheap, cheerful and full of Parisians. Find it in the Rue du Faubourg de Montmartre
One of the most charming small museums in Birmingham with a recently added visitor centre and tea room. A real Brummy gem. The house itself is very small, but taken together this is a real treat.
Open from 31st March to 28th October
Tuesday to Sunday 11.30am - 4pm
Closed Mondays except Bank Holidays
Tel: +44 121 464 2193
This historic Grade 2-listed building is Birmingham's finest example of Victorian pub architecture, resplendent in decorative tiles and stained glass.
The pub serves Oakham's award-winning real ales, guest ales from the region and across the country and imported bottled beers from around the world. Authentic freshly cooked Thai food is served from 12 noon-2.30pm and 5.30-10pm Tuesday to Sunday.
One of Birmingham's true gems.
144 High Street
0121 333 5988
We took a day trip from Istanbul to Ephesus, the most famous ancient city in Turkey, by flying down in the morning and returning the same day in the evening.
It was a very convenient way of doing it for us as we only had a few days in Istanbul but this is somewhere we really wanted to visit as well.
Ephesus itself is only about 1 hours' drive away from Izmir airport and the flights take about an hour each way. We arranged it through a local tour company and found it very convenient as everything was included from the tour to flights and transfers. It was all very well organized so that we didn't find it too rushed or tiring, just as a very interesting day out.
You can see the day trip we did with them and some others here: www.toursistanbul.com/day-trips.htm
Even though it was just for a day, we found it very worthwhile and the city beautifully preserved.
A much-appreciated break from the busy streets of Hanoi, the Temple of Literature, Vietnam's first university, is one of the best examples of traditional architecture left in Vietnam.
Founded in 1070 and dedicated to Confucius, the temple is a great place to while away a couple of hours strolling through beautiful courtyards and grand halls.
Who knows, you might catch a traditional music recital and get inexplicably involved in a silly hat wearing photo opportunity as I was.
Pho Quoc Tu Giam, about 2km west of Hoan Kiem Lake.
Fascinating tombs have been found, belonging to lords of important pre-Inca cultures. The royal tomb of the Lord of Sipan was only discovered in 1987. The lord was buried with his companions, dog and treasure. The finds of gold, turquoise and lapis lazuli from the Moche culture rival those of Tutankhamum in Egypt.
Two excellent museums have been built to house these beautiful artifacts. The best at Lambayeque - 10 minutes drive from Chiclayo - holds the Lord Sipan collection and the nearby town of Ferrenafe has a smaller museum with finds from the Sican Culture.
Internal flights from Lima to Chiclayo take about an hour.
Quite simply the most evocative industrial heritage site ever. Understand the privations and hardships endured by Cornishmen mining for tin through the centuries and decide whether this kind of work was better than the no-work that Cornishmen now suffer.
Many of the guides at Geevor were miners and engineers when the mine closed, they are always knowledgeable and keen to impart that knowledge. There is a museum, and a walk through the ore separating plant. There is also a trip down an 18th century mine adit.
Utterly fascinating and an immensely important project. Oh, also very good pasties in the cafe!
For the fit, you can walk to Pendeen lighthouse which has spectacular views and is very atmospheric, especially when there's a sea fret and all the long-dead-drowned-sailors come up out of the sea!
Geevor Tin Mine is located in the village of Pendeen, 7 miles west of Penzance. The mine is easily reached from Penzance, St Ives or Lands End by car or bus. There is a 10% discount for visitors who travel to Geevor by bus.
Visit Edinburgh in the middle of winter - at Christmas or at New Year...?
Yes, and I recommend it!
The locals are full of bonhomie; every pub or eatery with a fireplace is welcoming; and the locals, who act as tourist guides at the castle and other touristy places, are happy to see you and have a chat.
Crowds? No ... have have the castle and the whisky tours all to yourself.
You can even venture out of town and maybe have a hit at St Andrews ('cos there is noone else there playing).
There is also the added bonus of Scottish New Year celebrations. Something everyone should do at least once in a lifetime: Hogmanay.
Downside? It's cold - very cold; sleeting and snowing, but hey, nothing a couple of jackets, coats, mufflers, gloves and hats can't fix.
Seriously: go and visit in winter;
it is a different place.
Nestling between legendary Slieve Foy and spectacular Carlingford Lough, the picturesque village of Carlingford is cherished for its medieval charm and cordon bleu cuisine.
A few miles east of Dundalk, on the coast.
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