A beautiful Victorian garden in the middle of Streatham Common. Queen Victoria visited for the now gone spa waters (is there a way they can be brought back?). Tranquil even at the height of summer, an oasis in the middle of south London. Plus, there is a lovely old-fashioned cafe run by quirky Italian old women.
Streatham Common - the nearest train station is Streatham.
Heldenplatz is where Hitler stood and proclaimed the Anschluss (Annexation). Stand in the middle and look around you. You have the Hofburg (Imperial Palace) behind you and you can see the two matching museums, the beautiful Rathaus (city hall) and the Burgtheater. Breathtaking.
Hofburg, 1010 Wien
You’re never pressed for space even in the tourist season. But if off the beaten track is the goal then rent a bike and ride out to Frederiksberg Gardens. It’s ten minutes from the Central Station to these relaxed gardens. The same paths and canal that the upper classes escaped to in the Danish Golden Age. Hans Christian Andersen and his fine friends promenaded here and you, too, can take a slow motion sail along the canal below the castle.
Head west along Vesterbrogade, turn right when the road forks and continue along Frederiksberg Allé. At the end of the road is the Gardens.
Bikes can be rented at the Central Station, next to Track 13.
Prices start at 75 kroner per day.
Only an hours train ride from Sydney central, the beautiful Blue Mountains are not to be missed. Take the popular day's walk from Echo Point, Katoomba (known to the aboriginals as "shiny, tumbling water") to see the famous 3 sisters rock formation. The most photographed feature of the national park, the three sisters lookout is often packed out with tourists by the bus load, so venture further down the steep 980 steps and deep into the Leura rainforest where you'll hardly come across a soul.
Weary legs will appreciate the scenic skyway cable car to the top of the gorge at the end of the hike. Alternatively catch a bus to Leura and visit Wentworth Falls. Hike the undercliff/overcliff walk around the enormous cascades and take in the stunning scenery from the cliffs of eucalyptus forest which contribute to the blue haze over the horizon, hence the range's name.
Stay in "No.14" backpackers hostel in Katoomba for a warm welcome and excellent value, cozy place to stay with open fire and clean facilities - just what you need after a sweaty day's trek.
Also plenty of traditional pubs in Katoomba town which have a great village atmosphere on weekends.
100kms west of Sydney, one and a half hours drive along the M4 Freeway or one hour on the train (from platform 12/13, Sydney central station.)
No. 14 backpackers: 14 Lovel Street,
Katoomba, NSW, 2780 Tel:02 - 4782 7104
Official Website: www.australiabluemountains.com.au/
El Retiro is the nicest park in Madrid. It's pretty big and has loads of interesting features: the lake, where you can hire little rowing boats; Casa de Vacas where you can see art exhibitions; and the Palacio de Cristal where art exhibitions are shown. El Retiro is great all year round for walking, running, cycling, having a drink or simply lying on the grass.
The Hirschgarten is the largest outdoor beer garden in Bavaria. There are endless tables to enjoy a beer, as well as traditional Bavarian food. The cosy atmosphere under the leafy trees is complemented by the deer found in a large enclosure neighboring the beer garden. The park area is family friendly, with a playground and plenty of space to picnic.
S1-S6, S8 Laim
Trams 16 and 17 Kriemhildenstrasse
Valencia can be a sweltering, sun-baked city, so thankfully it is well served with parks and gardens. Of these, the Turia river gardens are the most extensive and prominent, but the Botanical Gardens, next door to a monastery, are a real oasis of tranquility in this noisiest of Spanish cities. Here you will find rare plants, medicinal herbs, shady palms and a cactus garden with some incredibly far-out specimens. Admission is a token €0.30.
Calle Quart, 80; Buses: 7, 81; www.jardibotanic.org/cindex.html
Delhi is a remarkably green city, but the jewel in the capital’s crown is Lodhi Gardens. Its lawns are filled with an embarrassment of fifteenth century tombs of the Afghan Lodhi dynasty that once ruled Delhi. Among the distinctive domes and Islamic-Indian curves, you can speed-walk with the locals, split your sides in a "laughter club" or join impromptu yoga classes.
Filled with activities for younger children at the weekends from painting to renting tricycles, the Parque Mexico in La Condesa is also pleasant for adults and near lots of restaurants and cafes. The duck pond is often rather smelly though.
Nearest metro Chilpancingo (not very near)
They are only a short drive to the west of Auckland, and are staggeringly beautiful forest-clad hills leading down to black sand beaches that stretch for miles.
There are walks from the short nature trail at the Arataki Visitor Centre, to longer tramps. If that's not enough, the market at Titirangi is recommended for arts and crafts and good coffee - as a bonus if you miss the market!
Not many people know about this, even one tour guide I met hadn't heard of it. At the top of Kelvingrove Park, near the University, sit two tudor-style cottages, built for the 1901 Glasgow Exhibition. They were built by the Lever Brothers (of Persil and Fairy, and Sunlight Soap fame), as an exact replica of the houses that make up Port Sunlight village, the town built for their workers, complete with cinema, art gallery and railway station, near Liverpool.
The Glasgow houses (Port Sunlight Cottage) were intended to be an example of how houses in Glasgow would be built from then on, but this never happened, and now they stand alone, looking quite out of place amongst the sandstone of the city. They are now private residences.
It's a beautiful walk up through the park to get to the houses, and it leaves you within easy reach of the Transport Museum, the Kelvingrove museum and art gallery, and the West End.
You can see more at
Just outside Glasgow University, G12, at the top of Kelvingrove Park.
If you are on the Glasgow tour bus, get off at the Kelvingrove museum and walk up from there.
Possibly the best park in Bristol, if just for the views. The park is set on one of Bristol's seven hills. To the south lies the floating harbour, Bedminster, Hartcliffe and the Mendip Hills. Look out over the roof tops into the centre of the city on the north and east sides of the park. Climb up the Cabot Tower for the best 360 degree views of the city and beyond. If you're bored of the views there are plenty of ravenous squirrels to feed.
Brandon Hill, up Charlotte Street or Great George Street off Park Street
Take Number 8 or 9 Bus from Bristol Temple Meads to top of Park St.
To get out of the city (though not necessarily away from the crowds on a hot day!), head to Portobello, Edinburgh's seaside. The sandy beach, with a promenade, is about a mile long, clean, and reasonably wide when the tide is out. The bustling High Street has various cafes and pubs, and the Dalriada pub on the prom has a beer garden looking out to sea.
The High Street is served by bus no. 26 from city centre, then head for the shore;
Dalriada: 77 The Promenade, Portobello;
tel: 0131 454 4500;
Such a restful place in the city. With beautiful landscaping and sculptures, this place is a real haven of peace and quiet. We only wished we'd got there earlier in the day (we arrived about 20 minutes before closing) so we could have taken green tea in the cafe, although it was more sparsely populated late in the afternoon.
Yueba Buena Gardens are situated opposite the Museum of Modern Art. After a little culture you can while away a couple of hours in these very tranquil gardens. Our two-year-old loved the waterfalls. Make sure you go across the bridge to the children's play area. It is sunk into the ground with really imaginative playgrounds, free equipment to play with and a wonderful puppet shop.
Opposite MOMA and above the Moscone Convention Center, covering two square city blocks bounded by Mission, Folsom, Third and Fourth Streets;
These gardens are a haven due to a canopy of ancient trees and a peaceful cafe serving cool "imperial" beers. It's where all the trendiest (with baby) hang out on a Saturday morning before shopping at the bio farmers market.
Tram 28 goes from the Praça do Comércio to the Basilica da Estrela. From there it is only a 5 minute walk.
On the site of the old city walls, this park defines the boundaries of the pear-shaped Old Town. In spring and summer it’s a pleasant place to sit and relax, but it has a reputation for being less pleasant after dark.
Old Town (Stare Miasto)
With 250,000 students, 50% of all scientific research in Mexico, five internal bus lines, a cultural centre, an olympic stadium and a nature reserve (among other things), University City is an often overlooked but most fascinating spot in Mexico City.
Southern Mexico City. On Insurgentes, or at the Universidad Metro Station.
Sarphati Park is in de Pijp, a part of Amsterdam happily neglected by tourists. The park is small but joyous and you can enjoy the environs with a stroopwafel, which you can purchase at the Albert Cuyp Markt. There’s plenty of snazzy bars and shops in which you can flaunt the splendid wares acquired at the market. Watch out for the bears though.
South of the Heineken brewery - turn left or right along the Ferdinand Bolstraat
Until you've been on a freshwater sea like Lake Michigan you just don't understand. The idea of this unbelievable mass of non-salt-water in the centre of a continent (20% of all the earth's fresh water sits in the Great Lakes system) requires this kind of visual confirmation. And unlike most major cities, Chicago celebrates its waterfront by lining it with parks and beautiful public beaches. Run, walk, play, swim. Free and for the whole family - though that water can be mighty cold most of the year.
It's to the east of the city, wherever you are
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