I took my kids camping during half term and we spent an afternoon catching crabs. And then put them back.
We stayed at the only campsite open in this part of the New Forest called solent view camping.
Lovely B&B near Point Reyes which is a little way out of San Francsico (oh ok, about an hour's drive) but worth it for the absolutely stunning views.
The Inn looks like a giant treehouse and set in a forest it feels like one. Big open fire, huge windows and fantastic breakfasts. I stayed in the Lupine room which was beautiful - slanted ceilings, peaceful and the sort of place you felt the impulse to write a best-selling novel in!
No, not cheap - if you want that stay in a crusty motel. But a real experience.
We stayed in this apartment during a recent trip to Italy and wished we had been able to stay longer. It's in a lovely little village called Loro Ciuffenna and is a perfect base for anyone wanting to live the Tuscan experience. Best for longer stays (a week or more) and for people who have access to a car to be able to get around to all the fabulous tiny places that nobody gets to see. Run by an American woman, Barbara (she lives in the apartment below), who took such wonderful care of us and knew all the best places to see and things to do. Fabulous hiking and nature experiences if you tire of all the antiquity. Generally, just a wonderful place to recharge the batteries and forget the world for a little while.
Loro Ciuffenna, Arezzo
A great walk in Marvão, Alto Alentejo, Portugal with fantastic panoramic views, wonderful countryside and interesting historical sites.
This walk is 7.38 km and is easy to moderate. The map/guide we bought earlier from the tourist office in Marvão, and the start is from Portagem near the public swimming pool.
The four of us, two adults and two children aged 12 and 14, set off from the 16th century bridge and tower in Portagem. The guide informs you to follow the trail by posts with green markers and we realised after a few kilometres there are none. Instead follow the normal markers of a red and yellow rectangles.
This walk took us about two and a half hours with regular stops to see the sights such as:
The 16 century bridge and tower next to the river Sever.
The mediaeval cobbled road, possibly of Roman origin.
Views of the imposing town and castle of Marvão, the mountain range of Serra de São Mamede and the granite plains of the Alentejo countryside.
The Convent and Church of the Lady of the Star (Igreja do Convento de Nossa Senhora da Estrela).
Typical small Alentejo hamlets.
The 16 century derelict chapel and mediaeval tombs cut into the rock at Fonte Souto.
Oak, Walnut, Olive,Chestnut and Horse-Chestnut trees.
Plenty of farm animals and the wonderful fauna and flora of this region.
At the end of the walk why not have lunch at O Sever restaurant at Portagem for a hearty typical Alentejo lunch washed down with a bottle of Conventual Red wine.
This is a perfect day out in this great region of Portugal.
I have never in my life had such a great view eating dinner like I had at this restaurant, located on the 65th floor of the State tower on Silom Rd. Just the view is worth the trip to this restaurant. The service was poor for such a high end place, not rude, but just not attentive given the fame that this restaurant has gathered in the world since it's opening. The food has everything you could think of, fresh seafood, great steaks, and a dessert table to die for.
A live band with a soul singer was a pleasant touch as we ate and afterwards she came down and introduced herself and spoke to us for a couple of minutes. Afterwards stick around and have drinks at the ultra cool bar, drinks run from 200 bahts (about $5 US dollars) to 20,000 bahts about $500 US dollars for Cristal Champagne. If it wasn't for the poor table serivce this place would get a 10 out of 10 but I'll give it nine out of 10.
Address: 1055/111 State Tower Bangkok, Silom Road
hone: (02) 6249555
The Portland Rose Gardens is another local landmark site - with gorgeous views of Mt. Hood and the downtown city proper.
The 'test' gardens are literally that - experimental buds abound and many award-winners at that. Row after row after row of botanically-engineered beauty, and not just for enthusiasts.
Located in the winding playland that is Washington Park - The Rose Gardens sit within one of the best walking tours Portland has to offer - stroll up to the Japanese Gardens for an authentic cultural experience (it has been called the most perfect replica of a Japanese tea garden outside of Japan), or keep strolling up the park - playgrounds aplenty for the young ones and gorgeous picnic spots - if you make it to the top you can visit the Portland Zoo, Children's Museum, the Hoyt Arboretum or Forestry Center. Watch out for stray foxes.
Washington Park is Portland's largest and most exemplary - it is quite tourist friendly with plenty of buses, but the best way to experience it is on foot. The Washington Park Zoo train is also a refreshing option, taking you up on narrow tracks through the heavily wooded hills on an old-fashioned locomotive.
Family friendly - absolutely - but romantic enough for adventurous couples. With good trainers. A walking stick wouldn't hurt, either. Spread over 400 acres - long rests are encouraged.
Off of Hwy 26, from Burnside to Vista Avenue.
Palaphita is a very pleasant restaurant with a splendid view of Lagoa (a big lagoon in the middle of the city). I suggest you go around dusk, for the view of the sun setting behing the hills is simply breathtaking!
Avenida Epitacio Pessoa 20, Lagoa
Phone: 55 21 22270837
Lacanau isn't one of France's most appealing beach towns and pales in the shadow of grand Arcachon with its Dune du Pyla to the south. However, it lies in the heart of the Landes pine forest, between the Atlantic and a chain of lakes, and the surrounding area's natural beauty is well worth exploring. Numerous establishments on the main road, Avenue de l'Europe, hire out bikes for the day or half day at very reasonable prices, and it's easy to get hold of a map of the extensive biking trails around the town from the tourist information centre (on the same street). Head south along the coast for views of the seemingly endless sandy beaches and atlantic breakers in either direction, or inland to explore the beautiful pine forests (some of Europe's most extensive). Dappled sunlight and the scent of pine and wild flowers add to the peaceful magic of leisurely riding through almost entirely flat back country. A perfect alternative to lying on the sand, and a healthy way to redress indulgence in local wines.
Lacanau Océan, Gironde, France. An hour's drive west from Bordeaux.
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
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