We went to Porthcurno beach in Cornwall and when the tide was low we could walk round to another beach and it was hidden.
We were the only people on this beach and water wasn't very deep for a long way out. In the shallow water there were lots of little fish we could catch and rock pools filled with little crabs. When the tide was coming in and we had to leave the beach Mum and Dad got us to walk up the cliff path to the Minack Theatre.
We had the best cream tea with lots and lots of strawberry jam and we sat outside and looked over the rocky cliffs and could see the beach we had been on.
From Genevieve Monaghan (age 6)
Mission Bay, St Heliers and Kohimarama are all lovely beaches to swim in, only 10 mins from central Auckland with loads of cafes to relax in afterwards.
Avoid swimming immediately after rain, but these beaches plus the North Shore's Milford and Narrowneck are world class beaches which have nice clean, warm water and golden sand.
St Margaret's Island is situated in between Buda and Pest. It is a haven for peace and tranquility due to its ban on transport. The leafy parks and extensive outdoor pools (some very shallow, making it perfect for young children), make it an oasis in a bustling city.
Cross the bridge near the Houses of Parliament
Sydney's biggest and most spectacuar city beach is admittedly a 'must see' for many visitors to the city. However, Bondi Beach occupies a huge space and you can avoid the crowds of lobster-red tourists by heading for the quieter north end of the beach, where the locals go. Catch Bus number 380 from Circular Quay, and hop off at the top of Campbell Parade and walk down, taking in some of Sydney's most spectacular beach views as you go.
Bondi Beach, Campbell Parade, Bus 380 from Circular Quay and other stops along the way.
One of the most beautiful beaches in England, I think - a perfect, tiny cove, wonderful for swimming, and a little shack selling Cornish pasties and ice cream further up the hill.
Also, an interesting history to the location as the first underwater cables across the Atlantic were laid here and the little cabin where all the cables came above ground is still visible half-way up the cliff.
I stayed in the nearby village of Treen and walked to Porthcurno along the cliff path - a completely magical day.
The whole area of Cornwall west of Penzance is simply beautiful, and many other lovely places to visit - Lamorna Cove, St Just, Sennen Cove, Mousehole, but nowhere has stayed in my heart quite as much as Porthcurno and Treen.
A perfect day out for families is the Gellert Hotel and Spa, open to the public and very inexpensive. As well as the option of massages and beauty treatments, the indoor swimming pool is set in palatial surroundings, whilst the spa pool is a perfect temperature for old and young alike. Older children will love the outdoor pool with its wave machine, whilst the gardens and sun lounger area are perfect for parents to relax in.
From the Market Hall (in Pest), cross the bridge into Buda
Brockwell Lido has been a vital part of Brockwell Park life since 1937.
The Art Deco Grade II listed building was recently renovated, extended and transformed and now offers fantastic health and fitness facilities all year round.
The Lido is managed in partnership with Fusion, a registered charity, who also run Camberwell's freshly-renovated baths.
Dulwich Road, London SE24 0PA
+44 207 274 3088
Open Mon-Fri 06.30-22.00, Sat 07.30-21.30, Sun 07.30-21.00
Buses 3, 133, 159
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Bull Island is man-made - well, formed as the result of sand building up against the (man-made) harbour wall. A stunning long sandy beach with an important bird sanctuary at one end, and a quaint wooden bridge, harbour wall, and monument at the other. If you aim for the middle section, you'll avoid the boy racers (they're not intimidating - just a bit annoying). On a windy day you'll have some impressive kitesurfing to watch, too.
Look out for the Bull Island if you come in on the plane. The northern approach often takes you directly overhead.
Bus routes 103, 104 and 130 run next to Bull Island (ask the driver), or Clontarf Rd DART (suburban rail) station followed by a 20 minute walk along the sea wall
I recommend Sarnano for its beautiful mountain views. In the village there are lovely friendly shops. There's the Centro Storico and the market on Thursday. Not far from there is water rafting that you can do if you dare, there's hang gliding to face a vertigo fear and maybe stay at Villa San Raffaello to look at the fields to see some racing deer. This town is safe enough to let your kids go around, I would know because I do and I'm 11. I think it's perfect for children of any age and there's a water park and beaches near to Sarnano.
Golden Bay is a unique and gorgeous area hidden away right at the northwestern tip of the South Island, and could just be the country's most complete destination.
It is sandwiched between two national parks (Abel Tasman and Kahurangi - lots of walking and adventure options) and stretches back toward the mountains from a strip of coast with loads of different beaches: from golden sands and perfect swimming (e.g. Tata Beach, Paton's Rock) to the vast, wild, and often deserted west coast ones, such as the unmissable Wharariki. There are also mountains, rivers, springs, forests, caves, limestone cliffs etc.
Yet, not only is the scenery totally stunning and worth a visit for its own sake, but the various little settlements of the Bay (Takaka is the main town) feature a wonderfully characterful jumble of shops, cafes, restaurants and accommodation ranging from old school rural to laid-back contemporary, via quirky hippie/traveller (the place has long been a magnet for alternative lifestylers).
You will be spoiled for choice for food and drink whether you want to chill out with a perfect coffee and cake and watch the world go by (or the sea - there's even a cafe based on an old (moored) boat of Jaques Cousteau's, scoff fish and chips by the water (Golden Fries in Takaka is tops, and the sea a five-minute drive away), drink a nice cold pint of award-winning beer brewed onsite at the Mussel Inn, or savour the delicious nightly set-menu at the Sans Souci Inn.
There are plenty of cheap camping and backpacking options to be had and a good selection of mid-range, although if you want to splash some cash there are also some seriously luxurious places to stay. Just make sure you book accommodation ahead during high season (December-February), as the most popular places fill up fast.
And finally, make sure you save some time (and money) for dropping into the legions of home-based studios and galleries dotted all over the area, as the natural beauty of the area has long made it irresistible to artists and craftspeople.
Listing all this, I just can't wait to go back myself!
From Nelson head to Richmond and take State Highway 60, through Motueka and then over the Takaka Hill. Follow the signs for Takaka and/or Collingwood - there is a well-stocked information centre on the left just as you arrive into Takaka which can sort you out with maps, brochures, bookings and knowledgeable advice.
I picked up a great map for free in one of the tourist offices but I think you can order it from the Czech cartographer company SHOCart.
It's called 'Slovensko Kemping, Termalne Kupaliska' which means 'Camping and Thermal Pools in Slovakia'. It details every pool and campsite in the country and is very useful and inspiring for planning a trip.
A few miles south of Ilfracombe are the villages of Croyde, Saunton and Braunton. What they all have in common are huge sandy beaches and conditions that have become well known for surfing. If you don’t surf, just get an ice cream and watch – it’s quite entertaining.
Croyde, Saunton, Braunton
Set in jungle about an hour outside of Luang Prabang, the Kuang Si waterfall is a spectacular series of cascades and clear turquoise pools. Quite a climb to the top but you can cool off with a swim in the pools.
30km from Luang Prabang - can be reached by road or boat
It's a fantastic and beautiful lake in Berlin-Zehlendorf, 20 minutes from Charlottenburg. You can swim in it, and the cafe is a very trendy place that's popular with Berliners at the weekend.
U-station Schlachtensee, Am Schlachtensee, Zehlendorf, Berlin, 14163
In February 2011, Camberwell reopened after years of renovation work.
Now painted bright white inside, Camberwell’s pool has balconies lining the high walls, recalling those ancient, darker, brick-walled Victorian pools where I did my bronze medal life-saving awards many moons ago. The re-tiled 25m pool has very warm (for my chilly Atlantic and Irish Sea childhood training!) water and the clean, but damp changing rooms are also a little overheated. One drawback is the incredibly complicated opening time system, to cope with all the different sessions on offer, from aqua aerobics to ‘splash and floats’ to swim school. There are also many opportunities for lane swims, women-only swimming and general watery mayhem. When the lane system is in operation, some go clockwise, some anti-clockwise; I'm not sure why this is ... an anti-wave idea perhaps?!
The Victorian public baths first opened in 1892, and the grade II listed façade is in the Flemish Renaissance style, which explains why I always had a vaguely Antwerpian feeling when walking past!
There is also a friendly café, a gym and a sports hall within the historic, buffed up walls.
Camberwell Leisure Centre
Artichoke Place, off Camberwell Church Street, London SE5 8TS
+44(0)20 7703 3024
Buses 12, 36, 436, 345, 171, 68, 468 to Camberwell Green
Google map: bit.ly/ptl0Fi
A 50m, heated, outdoor pool, near to Victoria Park and Hackney central. London Fields Lido has been renovated and is now open!
It is operated by GLL so facilities are spartan but it is fab and clean. Entry is less than £4 and the pool is open from 6.30am (mon-fri) or 8am to 8pm.
Lockers are poolside (20p) and changing rooms and showers are inside and out. There is also sunbathing space around the pool.
It is a blissful place to plough up and down: no gimmicky wave machines or even inflatables here.
Be aware, though, that if it really really rains, then you will be thrown out of the pool as visibility is reduced.
Sad irony that London summers mean that it is too wet to swim.
This is a delightful family-run B&B type hotel. It consists of about 14 small, simple but utterly charming rooms on the edge of the sea, put together round a small courtyard in the style of the old Greek 'village rooms'.
You can swim in the clear sea just below, or you can simply sit on one of the small terraces, drink in hand, and contemplate the view of Aegina across the water. Once there, you may find you have little inclination to move very far! Rosy provides delicious lunches, and in the evening two minutes' stroll will take you to the open-air restaurant, the Alkyone, from where you can continue your contemplation of Aegina and the sea as long as you want.
A short ferry ride from Dubrovnik, Mljet, which comprises a stunning national park and lakes, is perfect for a day trip. You can swim in the freshwater lakes, walk and cycle round them or get something to eat at the beautifully preserved monastery. A steep hill separates the lakes from the ferry port, so if you're planning to cycle it's a good idea to use the mini-bus service included in the park entrance fee, and then hire bikes at the lakes themselves.
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