Where to begin? One of the most beautiful buildings in London is also home to one of the richest natural history collections in the world. This is also one of the few museums that pulls off the trick of being immediate and exciting enough for children while providing the kind of depth that keeps adults coming back time and again. Unbelievably, it's also free.
Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD; Nearest tube: South Kensington; www.nhm.ac.uk/
It's a huge open space in the city to relax in and it's free. If you're into plants, there are organised walks (check out the leaflets at the gates); if you're not, it's still a lovely place to hang out and picnic, with nice views of the harbour. Don't forget to say hi to the flying fox colony...
Just next to Darling Harbour and the opera house
Not usually a fan of zoos but this is definitely the nicest one I have seen. The 2000 animals are mostly kept in natural conditions, with moats rather than bars and cages. The night safari is a highlight, allowing you to see nocturnal animals as well as the others who haven't yet gone to bed!
MRT to Ang Kio station then bus number 138. Cost S$10.30.
Devonport is on Auckland's North Shore and is well worth a visit if you don't have time to go to Rangitoto or Waiheke. As well as having a very pleasant main street with cafes (and a good fish and chip shop), there's a good beach and children's playground and there are walks up to the two extinct volcanoes behind the town which offer great views of Auckland and have historical interest provided by 19th century military defences. The ferry ticket also provides free use of the buses for the day.
Ferries to Devonport leave from the main ferry terminal on the waterfront near the Viaduct Harbour (Americas Cup Village area) and Britomart Transport Interchange. Ask for an AucklandPass, which is the same cost as a return but allows free use of Stagecoach buses too.
Visit the Penguin Colony and get close (as close as the boardwalk and fencing will allow you, which is within a few metres) to lots of penguins. They strut their stuff for the tourists and their cameras. When you're done, leave the colony itself and turn left on along the footpath to the other side of the Boulders Bay. Here you can sit and watch the penguins parade by a few feet away, or, if you're really lucky, swim with them.
A boat trip out to the archipelago is a fantasic day trip if you're here for a few days. The trip alone is great fun, on board old-fashioned steam boats, but the islands are stunning. You will have whole meadows, sandy coves and rocks to bask on all to yourself, and if you’re brave the water’s cold but invigorating. Grinda is a lovely small island, with the trip taking about an hour and stopping at Vaxholm on the way there and back.
A remnant of the Great North Wood that used to extend from Deptford to Selhurst, this is a great place for a sunday afternoon stroll. There were once large Victorian villas in the area, so along with oak, beech and cedar trees, you'll find bamboo and rhododendrons. Cox's Walk is an avenue of oaks that is fabulous in autumn. London Wildlife Trust manages the wood and runs various guided walks such as bat watches and dawn chorus patrols.
South-east London between Dulwich Village and East Dulwich
London Wildlife Trust - Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Too many people try to cram Pompeii into a couple of hours. Don't even think about spending less than a full day there. The site is huge, and some of the best (and least crowded) villas are outside the city walls.
The Naples to Sorrento train will drop you right outside the main entrance.
Londoners are spoilt for choice when it comes to open spaces, but for many Regents Park is the jewel in the crown. Where better to pass a romantic summer day than in the finest garden in London dedicated to the symbol of romance?
Tube: Regents Park, Baker Street
This is quite possibly the most beautiful place on earth, nothing but golden sandy beaches, turquoise seas and flora and fauna to walk through. Sunsets, estuaries that will chase you across a flood plain.
You can choose to walk inland or by the beaches spending as much or as little time as you like there. Arrive by kayak or walk in, leave by water taxi admiring the splendor you have just tramped through. If you have not been there then go. Now.
This is the Government website which is a little light on details but has the necessary details. It is on the South Island at the north tip near the ferry crossing.
The second largest aquarium in the world and the largest in Europe, this is a truly remarkable place to visit. Four habitat zones show life above the water, the central tank is huge, and you can even watch the penguins "fly" under the water.
Parque das Nações, at the south end of Doca dos Olivais
Down between Cardiff Castle and the River Taff is Bute park, an adventure playground of standing stones, ruins and trees. It’s right on the edge of the city centre, and is a great place to take the weight off your feet after some shopping. The park extends north along the river and becomes Sophia Gardens, where you’ll find Glamorgan cricket club’s ground and the Welsh Institute of Sport, and the wide open playing fields of Pontcanna and Llandaff fields.
Magical island near Wannsee, reachable only by ferry (€2). Gardens, fountains, fake ruins, peacocks … (in May big patches of Lily of the Valley). Afterwards (with your back to the water), go right up into the woods and have supper on the terrace of the Blockhaus Nikolskoe. Built in the style of a Russian Dacha, you can watch the sun set over the island. Alternatively, go left and down from the bus stop to a picturesque river beach with willow trees.
Pfaueninselchaussee 14109, Berlin-Zehlendorf; Tel: 80 58 68 30
Nearest redwood forest to SF. Deeply spiritual place - which gives a taste of what the coastal forest must have been like before the loggers got working. The trip includes crossing the Golden Gate bridge and returning by ferry from the pretty town of Sausalito.
There are lots of tour companies that go there but they charge a lot of money and give you almost no time. It is accessible by public transport and the best parts of the park can be see on this round trip walk.
Saturdays in summer:
Golden gate bus 10/70/80 (before 9.57) from the Civic Centre to Marin City then catch bus 63 to Muir Woods (leaves Marin at 10.41). Arrives at Mountain Home Inn 11.07. Walk through the forest to the visitor centre (downhill). Return from Pan Toll ranger station or Bootjack (mostly uphill but not steep) 3.29 (last bus to catch a ferry 5.24). Arrive Marin 4.04, bus 22 to Sausalito ferry leaves 4.09. Ferry from Sausalito 6.10 (or at 4.45). Arrive SF 6.40 (or 5.15). Last ferry at 6.25 from blue & gold terminal el portal east of Bridgeway.
For more information on how to get to Muir Woods see www.nps.gov/muwo/pphtml/planyourvisit.html
The delta in Tigre is a unique place, a mix of Venice and Vietnam, only one hour from BA. You can go for the day and have a barbecue (asado) or stay over night in one of the 'recreos'. Don't miss it.
Train to Tigre and then public boat. www.ruta0.com/locs.asp?loc=74
A genuinely unique experiment, this Site of Special Scientific Interest features 40 hectares of created wetland in the midst of the city, and should not be missed for its beauty and for the diversity of the plants and animals that thrive there.
From Hammersmith tube a 'Duck Bus' (number 283) will take you to the Centre in ten minutes; www.wwt.org.uk
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