This 170 mile circular route dips in and out of the lovely Chiltern Hills, home to chalk downs, red kites and the ancient Ridgeway. What I love about this trail is that you can do a little or the whole lot if you feeling up to it. Hilly, but with wonderful fast downhills, the scenery is lovely, so take a picnic or refuel at one of the many pubs on route.
Mostly on-road, but there are plenty of off-roads tracks to tempt you if you fancy playing under the beech trees.
It is not immediately obvious how to find it, but once you do, the new View Tube; café, classroom, fledgling art space and bike hire, located on the Greenway adjacent to the stadium offers something alternative. A structure made from recycled shipping containers, this low-key green building solution puts into focus the monumental building project just feet away in the Olympic Park.
Just south of Woolwich lies Eltham Palace, a fascinating combination of a luxurious art deco home and a medieval royal palace. From 1305 to 1526 Eltham Palace was a popular country residence for the royals, it was King Henry VIII's boyhood home. In 1936, textile magnates Stephen and Virginia Courtauld restored the Great Hall and built their glamorous art deco home, which is a stunning masterpiece of 20th-century design.
Court Yard, Eltham, Greenwich SE9 5QE
+44(0)20 8294 2548
Google map: bit.ly/l8IP09
Escape from the crowds and head to Kalk Bay. The Polana restaurant is one of the best places to watch a winter storm head in across the bay whilst cosying up around the warm fire with a glass of local red in your hand.
There are some lovely local markets in and around Cape Town, that offer unique crafts, books, delicious things to eat, or places to just hang out. Try Hout Bay market, the Montebello Design Centre or the slow market at Willowbrige.
Cape Town is beautiful in winter. If you are going for this year's World Cup then check out some of these options, all with great views of the city, from distinctive Cape Town style to easy-going family fare.
Baia Seafood Restaurant
A Portuguese take on seafood, with great views of the V&A Waterfront’s harbor.
Shop 6262, upper level, V&A Waterfront: +27 21 421 0935
Cape to Cuba
Eclectic Cuban restaurant with fishing-harbour views and armfuls of esoteric Cuban collectables.
Main Road, Kalk Bay: +27 21 788 1566
Poised at the foot of Chapman’s Peak, take in the expanse of Hout Bay and enjoy a large seafood collection – it’s famed for its calamari.
Main Road, Hout Bay: +27 21 790 1036
Elegant upmarket seafood restaurant with endless sea views of the Kalk Bay Harbour and beyond.
Kalk Bay Harbour, Main Road, Kalk Bay: +27 21 788 4133
Vista Lounge & Bar
Hotel bar to Sol Kerzner’s One & Only, this spot looks out on a marina and the backdrop of Table Mountain. They serve light snacks throughout the day and turn into a cocktail bar by night.
V&A Waterfront: +27 21 431 5800
On The Rocks
Get the picture-postcard view of Table Mountain at this West Coast favourite.
45 Stadler Road, Blouberg: +27 21 554 1988
• Cities are always best seen on foot, and Cape Town is no exception - enjoy modern creative Cape Town or an historical City tour.
• Enjoy a local theatre production with music ranging from opera, to swing, jazz, kwaito and hip-hop.
• With the Cape Town Design Route guide you can explore the city’s top design shops and art galleries.
• A Cape Malay Cooking Safari involves a visit to the Bo-Kaap museum, a tour through this historical area and cooking course and lunch in a local resident’s home.
• Get into the groove on a Cape Town Jazz Safari.
• Abseil off the top of Table Mountain.
• Party the night away at a shebeen and stay over in a local bed and breakfast in the townships.
• Shriek all the way to the bottom when you go sand-boarding.
• Take in the breath-taking views from the top of Table Mountain (weather permitting).
• Visit the District Six Museum and immerse yourself in the memories of what was one of Cape Town’s most colourful communities before residents were subjected to forced removals during the Apartheid era.
• Stop, shop, have a bite to eat or explore the Two Oceans Aquarium at the V&A Waterfront.
• Begin your evening with sundowners on the Camps Bay strip or at the fireside at one of the city’s award winning restaurants and end off by catching some live music on Long Street in the City Centre
If you are really trying to get off the beaten track to find the authentic London experience - whatever that is - then head east of London Bridge; by riverboat, bicycle, Docklands Light Railway or best done on foot, along the Thames Path, north or south of the River. You won't be disappointed with what you might find; amazing historic neighbourhoods, famous and infamous characters, the Docklands and Canary Wharf, Maritime Greenwich, Deptford and of course Stratford.
A fascinating window into the dynamics of South African life, townships are bustling centres of energy, creativity and entrepreneuralism. They are also where you are likely to have one of your most authentic experiences during your visit to South Africa.
You should always book through a reputable agent. Check out www.capetown.travel
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