Castlefield in Manchester is a great starting point for waterside walks in Manchester. It’s across the road from Manchester Science and Industry Museum, an exciting place to visit even before you start walking! Follow the Bridgewater Canal south west as far as Old Trafford (where a stadium tour is available), and then walk across to the Manchester Ship Canal. On the Trafford side there is the Imperial War Museum, or cross the footbridge to visit the Lowry Gallery and theatre complex (and outlet shopping mall). If you don’t want to walk back, you can always take the tram. In the other direction from Castlefield, follow the Rochdale Canal to walk under central Manchester’s busiest streets whilst watching barges negotiate locks. There is plenty of choice for refreshment with the bars and restaurants at Deansgate Locks and along Canal Street. At Piccadilly Basin you can either return to Castlefield by walking through the city centre, visiting museums, art galleries (or shops) along the way – or continue walking along the towpaths of either the Rochdale Canal or the Manchester and Ashton Under Lyne Canal. The latter leads to Manchester’s other football stadium.
Museum of Science and Industry:
Liverpool Road, Castlefield, Manchester, M3 4FP
+44(0)161 832 2244
Google map: bit.ly/qiM1Hu
The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, M50 3AZ
+44(0)843 208 6000
Google map: bit.ly/oTOCEe
Imperial War Museum North
The Quays, Trafford Wharf Road, Manchester M17 1TZ
+ 44 (0) 161 836 4000
Google map: bit.ly/pDppEq
I like to take visiting friends on a walk through a cluster of modern university buildings, just outside the main city area of Cambridge. From West Road university library through to Sedgewick Street. Many interesting buildings. Faculty of Divinity by Ted Cullinun, Faculty of Law by Foster, Faculty of Music by Lewlie Martin, Faculty of History by Stirling, Faculty of English by Allies and Morrison.
Walk down Garret Hostel Lane from Trinity Street in the centre of Cambridge. Cross over the river and cross Queens Street at the lights. Continue up the footpath until you reach the university library. Walk across the front of the university and continue on a straight path through the buildings, until you reach Sedgewick Street and then turn left back into the town for pubs and cafes.
Google map: bit.ly/q1u0x5
The Rheinuferpromenade is a leafy urban walk on the east riverbank that runs between Dusseldorf Aldstadt (Old Town) and the rejuvenated Media Harbour. The harbour is home to an eclectic mix of architecture, including the quirky Gehry Buildings, which are the city’s newest landmark, and a clutch of upmarket restaurants and bars. Zip up the 70’s TV tower, the Rheinturm, for a panoramic view of the city, and as you head back, stop for coffee (above ground) and culture (underground) at the Kunst im Tunnel contemporary art gallery.
Stroll along the avenue of sycamores back to the Aldstadt, where there are numerous small cafes and bars at the water’s edge. Or indulge in some utterly wonderful local beer (altbier) and a traditional German lunch at the Brauerei im Goldenen Ring, an atmospheric old brew pub.
Google map: bit.ly/prCgdZ
I have hesitated to tell the Guardian readership about Cafe Ariete in Moffat as it can be hard enough to find a table on some busy Saturday mornings already. However, it is the best stop-off on a UK motorway, so it had to be done. Cafe Ariete is a slice of Scottish-Italiano in the charming little town of Moffat; a perfect distance from the north-west for a stop-off. My current favourite choice for my second breakfast of the day is a scrambled egg roll with crispy onions and a tall glass of hot Vimto, garnished with a slice of fruit, but you may prefer the excellent coffees. Before eating, we call in at the paper shop next door to buy our Guardian and after eating we walk around the square window shopping, stopping to buy melt-in-the mouth Scottish Pancakes from the bakery for later. If walking around the pretty, bustling square isn't enough for you, then there is a pleasant two km circular walk along the river Annan to walk off the second breakfast. Really, Moffat deserves a page all to itself, but this will give you a flavour of this Scottish gem.
For gentle walks around Moffat check out:
The site also has information on longer walks and the Moffat Walking Festival in September.
The home page will take you to all the useful information about Moffat you need.
10 High Street, Moffat, Dumfriesshire DG10 9HF
+44(0)1683 220 313
Google map: bit.ly/osyE4V
From the village of Lehon, with its fantastic open air swimming pool, you can walk 2km along the River Rance, to the Medieval town of Dinan. The walk is shaded by trees full of mistletoe, and along the way is a cottage, where you may find a lady carving intricate Pre-Raphaelite figures into sicks of chalk. The river flows through a gorge as you reach Dinan, and you pass under the majestic viaduct. From here, you can walk up the steep cobbled streets into the walled town, or stop at the waterfront restaurants, and hire a boat from the little port.
Google map: bit.ly/riW1w0
Sheffield Park Garden is a National Trust owned garden in East Sussex. The garden was designed by Capability Brown and is laid out around a series of lakes.
I recommend the garden for its early summer colour and above all for its autumn tints. There is nothing better than the stunning Autumn colour reflected in the lakes.
Sheffield Park, East Sussex TN22 3QX
Google map: bit.ly/ldPZAy
Nunhead Cemetery is one of the best places for a stroll in southeast London.
It's one of the least known, but most attractive, of the great Victorian cemeteries of London. Consecrated in 1840, it is one of the seven Victorian cemeteries established in a ring around the outskirts of London.
Some parts of the cemetery have been renovated in recent years, and the paths are well-maintained and the ruined yet elegant Anglican chapel sensitively preserved. However, there are also wild parts, with overgrown secret trails, romantic areas, spooky tombstones, beautiful trees, abundant wildlife and crumbling Gothic architecture to discover. It's a lovely place for a Sunday stroll and photo opportunities abound.
The Brockley Footpath, leading between the walled border of the cemetery and the covered reservoirs, is a strenuous workout, leading steeply uphill, but I wouldn't undertake it at night.
Nunhead Cemetery North Gate
Linden Grove, SE15 3LP
Google map: bit.ly/gfDp1e
Nearest overground railway station: Nunhead
In the Alto Alentejo region of Portugal you will see scattered over the beautiful countryside these very large megalithic stones. You can discover over 50 here including dolmens and menhirs. One that stands out is the Menhir a Meada near the village of Póvoa. It is over seven meters tall and 1.25 meters diameter, the tallest in the Iberian Peninsular. Nearby is the Coureleiros Megalithic Park, Castelo de Vide, a collection of various dolmens. Also near to the villages of Barretos and Beira there are more including the Anta da Granja.
These large stone structures are over 3,000 years old and it is still a mystery how these ancient civilizations managed to place them there.
Take a walk, go see and touch these magnificent stones and wonder how on earth did our ancestors cut and manage to move them.
Castelo de Vide and Marvão
This is a great deal if you want to see a fair number of museums and places of interest in your stay. 24 of them are free with the card and others are discounted. That's a fee boat trip, free Belfry and Dali Exhibition, free Brewery Tour (de Halve Maan), and so many free museums from the Memling (fantastic medieval hospital to the Groeninge (all flemish art) to the Choco-Story and the Friet(chips) museum. Every major museum is included so you can dip in without taking any risks. There are discounts off cycling, ballooning, buses and much more. It costs €33 for 48 hrs and €39 for 72 hrs.
We just enjoyed ourselves walking the canals, eating and drinking and seeing whatever we fancied - and somehow we saved €30 each on two days of entertainment, without really trying. The Belfy & Dali exhibition are €18 together to start with - so you can see how the savings add up quickly.
You may be given a card if you're in a grand hotel but the rest of us end up buying one - and it's great value!
You get a visitors' guide with it too.
Buy the card at the Concertgbouw Information Centre (on T-Zand) and at the Station Information Office. Details on www.bruggecitycard.be
Very enjoyable and enlightening hill walking tours with friendly and informative guides. Guides are experienced archaeologists with plenty of fascinating stories of ancient Celtic mythology.
Carlingford is an idyllic medieval village an hour drive from Dublin or Belfast Airports. Plenty of restaurants and great accommodation available all year round.
Take the bus out to Frognerseteren where you'll find marked trails leading to Tryvannstua refuge, Ullevalseter refuge, and then on to Sognsvann (about 18km in all). Dark pine forests alternate with trembling delicate silver birch; there are secret ponds in the forest, lakes, marshes full of lurid green moss, where your boots squelch as you tread; tracks that scramble over pine roots and rock, and lakeside trails. The major trails are well marked, though you take minor paths at your peril - I walked an extra 3 or 4 kilometres in a circle at one point! From Sognsvann, you can take the railway back to the centre of town in just 15 minutes.
Frogneseteren station, reached by bus (train line under repair) from Majorstuen.
Google map: tinyurl.com/33chyvb
Widely available from tourist offices in Tartu and the region in a number of languages including English, the 2.5 hour self-guided walking tour takes in all the main sites with just the right amount of information about each stop.
Free leaflet from Tourist Information in Tartu and elsewhere in Estonia.
A childhood favourite, Carreg Cennen Castle is unique in Wales as it is the only castle built by the Welsh, for the Welsh. The other castles you are likely to recognise and visit west of the border were instruments of subjugation, used by English (or, more accurately, Norman) rulers to keep the Welsh under control.
Carreg Cennen is all the more interesting because of its isolation and spectacular location, perched on a ridge in the remote west of the Brecon Beacons national park, its romantic setting has inspired generations of artists, including Turner.
Approached through a farmyard, you will need decent shoes for the steep path and, unusually, a torch. The latter is necessary to follow the tunnel which starts within the castle walls and descends deep into the cold, wet rock below - a spooky climax to the visit for children and grown-ups, where it is believed prisoners were held captive for months on end in the pitch black.
Once you step, blinking, back into the daylight, the downhill trek will return you to the farm and car park where lunch, snacks and cream teas can be bought.
Nearest village is Trapp. Nearest station is Ffairfach on the Swansea - Shrewsbury line. Llandeilo, Carmarthen and Swansea are all 20-45 minutes away.
01558 822291, carregcennencastle.com
Adults £3.70, children 5-16 £3.30
Google map: tinyurl.com/3yznou3
A great walk from Covadonga to the valley of Orandi and back. Most tourists in the summer take the buses from the lower car parks to the lakes, We decided to take a different walk in the Vega de Orandi. Park your car in one of the car parks very near Covadonga, before 11 am as it gets very busy.
On the walk we never met a single soul except for some friendly local cows, beautiful scenery and fresh mountain streams. At the top we had a picnic and fantastic views of the Picos mountain range.
A great family day out in this beautiful region of Spain.
Barretos is a friendly small Portuguese village virtually untouched by time. A place of olive groves, cork oak trees, ancient pathways and unique medieval stone round houses called choças, where in the last century families still lived.
It is our home from home, where we can slow down, relax, listen to the birds sing, sheep bells clan and rise to the beautiful Alentejo morning light.
The wonderful views are to Marvão, an imposing castle and whitewashed town perched on a hill and Castelo de Vide with its Gothic doorways, famous Jewish quarter and castle. Reminders of the arduous battles and life of the past, now places of peace and beauty.
Barretos, a place where we always regret leaving and count the days until the next stay.
A beautiful 15th century castle ruin which sits beside the impressive waters of Loch Awe and nestles between the magnificent mountains of Argyll and Bute. My husband and I visited on a July evening this year and were lucky enough to share the experience with no more than the sheep and swooping swallows. We were free to explore the grounds, read the
information, climb the castle towers and take in the breathtaking views at
Loch Awe, Argyll & Bute. Access on foot from Dalmally or boat from Loch Awe pier. Both on A85 road.
Google map: tinyurl.com/2b7obfg
Northumberland is famed for it's dramatic coastline and historic castles. One of the most spectacular is Dunstanburgh Castle, located a mile or so up the coast from the pretty fishing village of Craster. The walk follows the stunning grassy coastline north of Craster and is suitable for novice ramblers or families; with the goal of the massive double towered gatehouse always in sight. The castle is the largest in Northumberland, and dates from the 14th century. Its remains are impressive from the outside, or you can pay an entrance fee to English Heritage to go in and view them up close. Don't forget to sample the famous Craster smoked kippers before or after your adventure.
Caged between the free flowing river Mersey and an idling pleasant suburbia on the Wirral Peninsula, Eastham's Country Park offers a haunting shaded respite being the overgrown pleasure gardens of the Victorian era, Asia's' rhododendrons rampage as Autumn approaches. Visit the mossy stoned vacant bear pit or imbibe at either of two pubs hanging above the river at Eastham Ferry's medieval crossing point; from here dream down-river to the Liver Buildings, to Jung's pool of life or likewise observe and imagine the destinations of aeroplanes departing from John Lennon airport directly opposite. You can dream here and for that it is a strange and remote place indeed.
Wirral, Merseyside CH62 0BH
0151 327 1007
Google map: tinyurl.com/3xfac2s
In terms of location, you really can't beat Bamburgh Castle. Set in a unique whinstone outcrop elevated above the sea by volcanic activity, it is one of the largest inhabited castles in England. It never fails to amaze both children and adults, with its stunning sea views of the Northumbrian coastline, atmosphere, legends, tales, ghosts and special events.
Enjoy bathing in the hot springs, although sadly pumped in and a bit too sanitised for those who'd rather bathe in the open. Or even better use it as a base for signposted walks in the area, avoiding many of the risks of walking in the woods in Alaska, of which getting lost is only one (albeit a pretty serious one).
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