The best scheduled scenic train journey in Yorkshire, and probably England, is the Settle-Carlisle route over the massive but elegant Ribble Viaduct. Setting off from Leeds, the gritty mill towns unfold as the hills rise up, a prelude to the drama of Yorkshires Three Peaks and the panoramic views that motorists, and even walkers, never get. Ingleborough, Pen-y-ghent and finally the very flanks of Great Whernside fill the windows, making an assault on one of them almost irresistable followed by a yorkshire pint at a village pub, perhaps the welcoming Crown at Horton.
Ribblehead, Northern rail on the Leeds Carlisle line, Horton-in-Ribblesdale or Ribblehead for a walk
This could be quite possibly the plushest shopping center you may ever visit. Located on Florida Street and Cordoba Avenue, the exterior alludes to the amazing features inside, with its golden lighting and full length window displays. Enter through the doors and it’s almost like you have entered the halls of Grand Central station, with the superb bonus of having a stunning biblical mural painted upon the ceiling. The designer shops on offer are second to none in the city, as fashionista’s will find themselves in shopping heaven.
Corner of Florida Street and Cordoba Avenue
The Teatro Colon is Argentina’s major opera house and one of the city’s finest structures. You should venture into this section of the city, even if you are not interested in the arts, just to capture a photo of the Teatro itself. The sheer enormity of the building is overwhelming and at night the Teatro looks even more impressive and should you be able to afford a ticket, the shows are a must-see. The building is currently being refurbished so you should check it out before the original structure disappears altogether.
Cerrito 618, Buenos Aires 1010
This cool district is located by Buenos Aires’ waterfront, once a busy port in the early part of the century. A major regeneration project has now transformed the area into luxurious homes, apartments, office blocks and hotels. The port has a selection of stunning residential high-rises and office blocks that look amazing at night when lit up, and makes for a perfect evening of strolling should you find yourself close to the docks.
Uluru is undoubtedly a priority on every travellers list when they visit Australia. Although spectacular in its own way Uluru's beauty is eclipsed by nearby King's Canyon in the Watarrka national park. This ancient canyon created by a pre-historic inland sea allows breathtaking views over the Watarrka national park. The scenery is much more varied than at Uluru and the red domes against the azure sky are a visual treat. The walk around the rim of the canyon takes three hours - but is pleasant with lots of variation in incline and scenery. Halfway through the walk you come across the garden of eden which is a permanent waterhole. It's safe to swim here and the experience of swimming in this waterhole surrounded by sheer red cliffs with the sky above is amazing. Sunrise is the best time to visit the canyon when temperatures are bearable and the flies are few in number. Take plenty of water, sun screen and insect repellent. Nearby Kings Canyon Resort offers accomodation and there is a camp site nearby as well.
From Uluru airport Kings Canyon is a 400 km drive (takes about 3-4 hours as the roads are desserted). The drive is well signposted. Kings Canyon can also be reached from Alice Springs. For accomodation see the resort website - www.kingscanyonresort.com.au
The Art Academy B&B in Dorsoduro, Venice is a truly wonderful little gem. Tucked away by the side of the Accademia bridge you couldn't wish for a nicer to stay whilst exploring the marvels of Venice. The hosts Barbara and Mara were friendly and welcoming - despite our delayed 1 am appearance due to fog and an un-expected route via Trieste!
The rooms are immaculately clean and bright and spacious with simple furnishings. Some rooms have views of the Grand Canal..... the thrill of opening the shutters in the morning and seeing it all before you cannot be beaten.Rooms are available with en-suite or shared bathrooms, we opted for the latter and it was all perfectly fine.No queues or drama, perfectly nice bathroom with all the usual facilities. A lovely Italian breakfast is served in a room with views of the Grand Canal - so not much talking over breakfast but plenty of gawping!
Trust me, I have been to Venice before and places to stay that are as good as this, as centrally located and with such friendly & helpful hosts can be counted on the fingers of one hand. If flashy and fancy is your thing, then this isn't for you, but if you want to see and experience the friendlier side of Venice then do go and stay! Tell them Emma sent you!
Whitby as a stunning place to visit on a day when the weather is nice. Atop the cliffs, next to the sea, you will find incredible views and historic Whitby Abbey.
A tour around the abbey will cost you a small some. However, for a family day out it is well worth while. There are usually exhibitions on show in the building outside the walls of the Abbey. Also, the history of the Abbey is given here, so it is very educational for the kids.
The ruins are quite well maintained and safe. They are beautiful on a lovely summers day. Although they can get busy during peak season.
The views to be had over the top of the cliffs and out over the North Sea are also amazing.
Whitby North Yorkshire. Once you are in the town, just follow the signs up the cliffs. Or you can park nearby and walk around the Abbey's walls. www.hotels-uk-accommodation.co.uk/north-yorkshire/whitby-abbey/
Straddling the spectacular Belledonne mountain chain, Les Sept Laux is not one of the Alps most famed resorts. You don't come for the apres-ski or the prestige, and the range of accommodation is relatively limited: but herein lies the resort's appeal. Les Sept Laux can get crowded at weekends with daytrippers from nearby Grenoble, due to its proximity and accessibility, but during the week, it is blissfully deserted, and even at the peak of the season, you can have the slopes almost to yourself. There isn't the massive pisted domain of resort areas like Les Trois Vallées or Les Portes du Soleil, though there are a range of runs for all ability levels - Sept Laux's real joy comes from the acres of luxuriantly powdery off-piste, which combined with a fabulous combination of scented pine forest and jagged peaks, not to mention the spectacular views across the Isere valley far below and further to the Chartreuse and Vanoise massifs, makes from a truly blissful day away from the crowds in a still-unspoilt Alpine paradise.
Les Sept Laux, Isere, France. (The main base station, Prapoutel, is off the A41 autoroute 15 miles north of Grenoble towards Chambéry) There are regular buses from Grenoble's central bus station, see www.transisere.fr
Edinburgh isn't exactly a city that hides its charms: a castle bang in the centre of town atop dramatic cliffs, a gothic skyline, a cobbled old town crammed full of tourist shops, a Georgian 'New Town' of refined restaurants and leafy squares, and several celebrated museums and galleries.
However, if you tire of tourists and want to seek real, everyday Edinburgh, consider a trip to the district just south-west of the city centre. Tollcross isn't what you would call beautiful, but is home to some of the city's finest ethnic restaurants (such as Number 1 Sushi and Lai Thai), as well as the King's Theatre and the Cameo Cinema. One of the finest arthouse cinemas in the country, the Cameo is both atmospheric and cheap, and with several screens offers something for every discerning cinema goer, as well as a much loved bar seeping with old-world atmosphere. The Beckett Pub nearby is similarly atmospheric, and neighbourhood newcomer, Cuckoo's Nest offers some of the cities best value for money drinks (particularly the cocktails).
Heading up the hill, you reach the Bruntsfield Links on your left, and beyond spectacular views across the Meadows to the Castle, Old Town and Arthur's Seat. Bruntsfield itself is one of the city's loveliest districts, a pleasing mixture of vibrant student district and upscale residential neighbourhood. Its main drag is home to several quality restaurants and bars, as well as a handful of intriguing shops, especially for foodies.
Coco's is arguably Edinburgh's best chocolatier, and sits near to a branch of Peckham's delicatessen and an extravagant cake shop. For those who wish to continue, the main road heads down into extremely well-heeled Morningside (though the shopping strip is perhaps a little underwhelming), and neighbouring the Grange and Merchiston, all of which are home to some beautiful Victorian villas on their leafy streets, and are a pleasure to stroll around.
Tollcross is at the southern end of Lothian Road, a ten-fifteen minute walk from all parts of central Edinburgh. The main road, Gilmore Place-Bruntsfield Place leads up the hill to Bruntsfield and then round towards Morningside. Multiple buses to all of these neighbourhoods, see Lothian Buses website.
Often referred to as Tokyo City Hall, this skyscraper offers amazing views of the city. The building is located in the Shinjuku area of the city and the panoramic observatories that take up the top two floors are almost 240 meters high, offering an unrivalled view of the Tokyo cityscape. The observatories are open to the public and are free to enter, making this a fantastic way to observe this Japanese metropolis.
2-8-1, Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 163-8001 Japan
The 2003 film, directed by Sofia Coppola, was shot entirely in Tokyo, mostly in the Shinjuku and Shibuya areas. Two of the most iconic locations from the film: The Park Hyatt Hotel, where Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson both stay, can be found right in the heart of Shinjuku and is regarded as one of the city’s best hotels; and the skyscraper with the large video screen can be found at the Hachiko exit of the Shibuya station.
When visiting this area of Tokyo many people are taken aback at how bright and colorful the city becomes at night. The Japanese capital is famous for its neon cityscape and the main road in Shinjuku, around the corner from the Kabukicho district, is the perfect place to take photos of the wall of lights that line the streets.
For stunning free views of Shinjuku's ultra modern business district, and most of Tokyo, head to the high speed lifts that whisk you up either of the two 240m towers of this cathedral like government building by architect Kenzo Tange (Olympic gymnasium, Fuji TV centre, catholic cathedral,and further afield, Hiroshima peace park museum) Best place to see the sun set, and marvel at the extravagance of this 157 billion yen City Hall. While in the area explore Shinjuku metro, the worlds busiest station, and the teeming bar district. For a little solitude visit Hanazono shrine or the beautiful central park, imperial gardens or nearby iris filled Meiji Jingu gardens and shrine.
Just west of JR Shinkuku, follow a subway if you can but when lost surface and head into the skyscrapers.
For such an urban country, Japan's many mountain ranges remain unspoilt and relatively unknown other than to numerous enthusiastic and fit Japanese walkers of all ages. The North Alps are as good as the European ones and once away from the busy valley entrance lodges, exhilaratingly empty, and stunningly scenic. A network of dozens of simple traditional mountain huts provide ridge-top overnight accommodation in dormitories which are decidedly cosy for taller people and a welcome evening meal of meat, fresh vegetables, rice, and mizo soup. Enormous bento box lunches see you through the days. With snow on the peaks much of the year, the summer season is quite short but the ridges are covered with alpine flowers, miniature love lies bleeding, stunted birch, pine and rhodedendron woods, and marmots. Autumn colours come early. Numerous trails are signed and there are plenty of routes for a few days to a couple of weeks. The Kamikochi Valley is a good place to start with afew hours walk up to many peaks at around 3000m. Booking accomodation which in summer is necessary will be easier if you speak Japanese or have a friend who does. Water is scarce high up, so treat yourself in a hotel with onsen baths when you descend.
Central North Honshu, a half days drive north of Kanazawa.
A self-service café set in the vaults of University Church of St Mary the Virgin. Inside is all long shared tables and dimly lit café wonderfulness. A leisurely coffee and a good book are perfectly matched to its unpretentious welcome. Its Catte St garden faces the Radcliffe Camera so summer lunching is particularly pleasant. The restaurant itself serves consistently tasty and adventurous locally sourced organic food and cakes and fairly traded teas coffees - we have only ever been for lunch after the storytime session at the central library - needless to say it is kid-friendly and affordable too. One thing to bear in mind is lunch is served from 12pm and is very popular so arrive early to avoid queues and shortages.
Tel. 01865 279112
Radcliffe Square, off High St, Oxford.
Avoid the heaving crowds and pretentions of much of the Italian Riviera and head to the beautiful, and far quieter, little beach town of Camogli. In terms of sheer physical beauty it gives the Cinque Terre a run for their money, and unlike neighbouring Portofino its picturesque setting isn't ruined up-close by crowds of tourists, huge yachts and designer boutiques. It would be untrue to say tourism had completely passed Camogli by but the town still feels like a genuine fishing port and its handful of tourist-orientated shops and eateries don't detract from its considerable charm. Rows of pastel coloured baroque houses line streets cut into the steep hillside above a picturesque little bay, complete with (shingle) beach, azure waters, fishing port and fort. A postcard-designer couldn't dream up anything prettier, and it is a pleasure to simply wander round the town with its sense of history and beauty unspoilt by mass-tourism. If you want more of an escape than swimming in the Mediterranean, then there are plenty of opportunities to walk into the Appenine hinterland of hills cloaked in olive and orange groves - particularly breathtaking is the walk from Camogli along the cliffs of the Portofino peninsula, with stunning views along the whole length of the Ligurian coast from the too-picturesque-to-be-true hamlet of San Rocco. Camogli's further added bonus is that its relative lack of popularity with tourists means restaurant prices are considerably lower than in nearby Santa Margherita and Rappalo.
Camogli is a brief train journey from Santa Margherita Ligure, Genoa, Rappalo or any of the other major settlements along the riviera. It also lies just off the main coastal highway.
Straddling the spectacular Belledonne mountains, Les Sept Laux is a gem of a ski resort that is little known to foreign skiers. A small resort, only 45 minutes by bus or car from Grenoble, there is little in the way of accommodation, and you don't come for the apres-ski, Les Sept Laux is nonetheless a fantastic option for those who wish to beat the crowds and save money. Its easily accessible location means it gets busy with day-trippers at the weekends but never to the same degree as the more famous resorts, and come during the week for blissfully empty pistes. Sept Laux doesn't have the largest pisted terrain in the French Alps by any means, though there are certainly a variety of slopes for all abilities, however what makes the resort stand out is the seemingly endless expanses of soft, luxuriously powdery off-piste areas. And all this comes with superlative views on both sides of the Belledonne ridge (there are three base stations for the resort), and a mixture of jagged peaks, lush, scented pine forest and fresh, clean mountain air. Ski heaven.
Les Sept Laux, Isere, France.
Yosemite Valley may have the famous sites - Half Dome, El Capitan, and of course the waterfalls. But it also has the tourist hordes and the intense heat. It shouldn't be missed but once you've been and seen, head out of the valley and then north-east toward Tuolumne Meadows. About an hour's drive through the spectacular Sierra Nevada scenery, the road skims the shores of Lake Tenaya. Instead of passing it by like the majority of the park's visitors, park your car and get out. The clear mountain air and almost complete absence of sound or other human presence, makes this remote, crystalline lake a supremely tranquil location. I visited in late summer, when the valley was suffocating in 100-degree heat, but Lake Tenaya, at a considerably higher altitude, was pleasantly warm, and it's shallow waters cool but not freezing. Standing waist-deep in its waters, surrounded by white-sand beaches, pine forests and silver mountains, I could not imagine anywhere closer to paradise.
Yosemite National Park, ask at the visitor centre for a map and/or directions.
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