A little slice of heaven in the middle of Hyde Park. The lido is part of the Serpentine - a whole 100 metres roped off in the lake itself, just for swimming, be it a leisurely paddle or energetic workout. You can spend the whole day here for £4 which has to be the capital's best bargain! The lake water is cool and refreshing on a hot summer day so much better than chlorine or salt water. There is a little area to bask in the sunshine, a cafe, changing rooms and even a paddling pool for kids, but the real star is the refreshing dark lake water. If you are lucky it will just be you and the ducks - bliss!
I can't think of any place I would rather be on a warm summer day than jumping into the cool clean water of the outdoor pool in Oslo's lovely Frogner Park. You can admire the statues by Gustav Vigeland while dangling your feet in the water, and watching your children splashing about in the children's pool one level down. The pool is a full 50m long and there are also diving boards at 1, 3, and 5 meters. Entry is by single admission or "klippkort". Can't wait to get there!
Entry to pool on Middelthunsgate, in Majorstuen
Take tunnelbane to stop 5 min walk away.
Google map: tinyurl.com/2wod6kr
This classic piece of Americana has been in existence since the 30s. It's a number of big optical illusions ( an odd cabin, a strange slope) tucked away in a small park in a valley just at the back of Santa Cruz. I recommend it less for the optical illusions which were fun but cheesey and more for the slightly odd guide, the bloke doing requests on a trombone (I had to work very hard not to laugh at his heartfelt but iffy renditions) and the quirky gift shop.
Santa Cruz, California
This is the most bizarre combo of gardens, stunning scenery and the tackiest fairytale grotto you are ever likely to see. The rope suspension bridge is not for the faint-hearted and even better it has had a song written about it - "See Rock City" by Caroline Munroe (we played till we couldn't take any more on our trip).
Shamwari is a private game reserve approximately an hour's drive east of Port Elizabeth. During my stay I was fortunate to see all of the Big Five which was a real privilege. The safari guides were fantastic, very knowledgable and friendly. The accommodation superb.
After the late afternoon game drive, which normally finishes just after sundown, you will be served an evening meal that will definiately impress and be a talking point. Cooking on the barbeque, or brie as the South African's call it, will be a choice of meats including warthog and kuku!
At meal times you eat with your guide and the other guests that will share your vehicle giving you a great opportunity to get to know each other. This reals helps everyone to bond and enjoy a shared experience together.
Nearest airport is Port Elizabeth.
Best way to get there is to rent a car. Alternatively, Shamwari can arrange for you to be collected from PE airport, or your hotel.
This is a strange hidden gem of a museum. It doesn't really inspire you when you walk through the door but then you begin to look around. It's a free local museum run by volunteers, and kids love the strange and wierd Victorian display, from bugs, cobra skins, lions' teeth and a mummified cat to the man trap and the golden eagle. They can touch and play on a huge victorian stone instrument like a xylophone. It's in a great park with a kids playground so we had well over two hours of fun. It's on the quiet side of Keswick and it is easy to miss but its a great discovery.
Fitz Park, Station Road, Keswick keswickmuseum.webs.com
If visiting nearby Sherwood Forest here's a good and inexpensive place to spend a couple of hours. Crumbling, haunted ruins of a medieval monastery and later country house, contemporary craft centre, modern sculpture trail, attractive park and lake, shops, cafe and restaurant with good value cooked lunches. Unusual things for the kids to discover like the camera obscura, the dragon gateway and the 'stone harp'. www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/ruffordcp
About 20 miles north of Nottingham on the A614, 3 miles south of Ollerton. It's on the old Great North Road which once ran through Sherwood Forest.
This park is at the top of the Volcà de Montascopa and is worth stopping in before climbing back down into Olot. It has a watchtower which children will love and magnificent views of the other major dormant volcanos surrounding Olot.
A great one if you are a horticulturalist or simply need a break from the city. Positioned behind Table Mountain, these gardens contain
plants from many parts of the world, but also have areas dedicated to local fauna, such as the heather-like ericas and highly diverse feynbos. My favourite were the enourmous, woody stemmed proteas, a heavy bunch of which you can also pick up on the side of the road near
the entrance for the equivalent of a few pounds.
Spread over nearly 80 hectares, these gardens in the east of the city is a perfect sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of the city. Extensive trails make it great for walking and birdwatchers will have a good time sighting the many different species. The Mokha restuarant overlooks the wetlands and serves great food, especially the buffet on Sundays, in beautiful surrounds. A section is dedicated to African medicinal plants and provides a interesting insight into South African culture.
To get an insight into Afrikaner nationalism which caused so many problems in South Africa, a visit to this site, just outside of the Pretoria city centre is worthwhile. The architecture is imposing and the views of Pretoria and its surrounds spectacular. If you can look past the nationalism, the monument tells the story of the original Boer pioneers in South Africa. A small nature reserve, featuring antelope and zebra surrounds the site and is worth a drive through.
Nelspruit has beautiful Botanical Gardens, set over a large rugged area, around a river gorge. It's a great place to stretch your legs and very family-friendly. There are boardwalks, bouncy footbridges, look-out points over waterfalls and adventure trails. Wildlife includes mongoose, stunning birds and vervet monkeys.
Off White River Road,(Value Mart Intersection)
PO Box 1024, Nelspruit, 1200
Tel : +27 13 752 5531
Google map: tinyurl.com/yjtu2et
My heart sank the first time I visited Ashridge Estate in the northern Chilterns on the Bucks/Herts border. With so many cars parked, I envisaged hordes of people. But as soon as we set off on a three mile circular walk we lost everyone and had the panoramic views from Ivinghoe Beacon - and a glimpse of several deer sprinting off through the woods - to ourselves. There are 5000 acres so plenty of room for everyone to crunch over fallen golden beech leaves right now. At times we were walking part of the Ridgeway National Trail which looked enticing and could have extended our walk, but my favourite bit is spotting the lion chalk figure which advertises Whipsnade Zoo.
The tea rooms near the Bridgewater Monument are justifiably popular and the visitor centre staff are friendly and eager to share their knowledge of wildlife to look out for. Many dog owners were bonding while their pets bounded, and it was good to see a fair number of wheelchairs and pushchairs on the easy access paths.
Bookings are being taken for fallow deer rutting, and fungal foray events this month.
Cusworth Hall is an eighteenth century and grade 1 listed country house and museum with excellent informative exhibitions about the people who lived and worked in the house.
It is without doubt Doncaster's premiere beauty spot with loads of open space for picnics and walks allowing you to enjoy a wonderful view of Doncaster laid out before you
Cusworth Lane, Doncaster, DN5 7TU
Nearest train station is Bentley and the hall is well signposted on the A1(M) and in Doncaster itself
Holyrood Park was originally a royal hunting estate and is most famous for being the home of the natural rock formation known as Arthur’s Seat, which is shaped like a crouching lion.
The park is also home to the Salisbury Crags (a series of cliffs) and three lochs. It’s the perfect place to go for a walk if you want to escape the city of Edinburgh and you can download a leaflet featuring a number of walking routes from the web site below.
If you're staying in Santa Elena, Monteverde, it's worth paying a visit to the butterfly garden- especially if you have kids with you.
Included in the price (about $10) is a great tour of the insect room (most are alive!). This is fascinating and will help you come to appreciate the magical worlds of creepy crawlies (don't worry you don't have to touch them!). They even have a full leafcutter ant colony with micro cameras so you can see what's going on in the heart of the colony!
The butterflies in the gardens include the magnificent morphos, transparent glasswings, red postmans, and the glorious owl. You also get too see crysallis and if you're lucky butterflies hatching from them!
This is a great place for kids and adults to really learn about the smaller species of Costa Rican wildlife... and the staff/volunteers seem very passionate about it all.
Just ask someone in Santa Elena where it is, they should know- you can easily walk there - it's just down one of the smaller roads but quite difficut to explain here (takes 20 mins from central S.E). The best time to visit is when the sun is shining cause the butterflies will be basking in the sun in their full glory!There are good views of the valley too. They also run a volunteer programme with free board and meals. www.monteverdeinfo.com/butterfly-garden/butterfly-garden.html
A summer fete for kids throughout the summer. They provide everything from African dance workshops to face painting and book libraries. All in Italian, but all very accessible, friendly, a great play park and free!
www.lacittaintasca.it nr Circo Massimo
It is nature - sublime, pristine and improved by man. Visit with family and friends and you'll find the park is very refreshing. The weeping tree and tree houses are examples of great imagination!
The most wonderful 3D show at Chocolate city is superb. You can pretty much smell the chocolate. I started liking chocolates after this visit.
Go from Harris Burg by car/taxi .Harris burg can be reached by flight -I think itis international airport.
Enjoy travel by AMTRAK -It is very good.
If you haven't been to Central Park before and love bike riding, rent a bike and explore the park yourself. I found this company on Google - you can choose bike rentals or bike tours, price is good and the service is very nice.
Seriously recommended hostel in Durban – situated behind the owner’s house, it’s a small collection of private huts and a larger dorm room/common area in the midst of a tropical garden. It’s actually called ‘hippo hide’ because of the decor but you’ll be just as likely to spot a monkey on your doorstep come morning. Best thing, however, is the super friendly staff who make you feel like their guests rather than just travellers on the road.
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