Don't listen to any scare stories about hiring a car in Iceland. The roads are extremely well-maintained and even in the depths of winter the golden circle route is an easy drive. We went in January and hired a car for £60 from National - a coach trip of the same route would have cost £80 per person.
The Mercure hotel in Ouarzazate is really stylish. The bar is a stunning mix of Moroccan tradition and modern style, with great views of the kasbah. The breakfast is really generous. The staff are incredibly friendly. And massages of 30 minutes were less than £10. It also only cost about £30 per night for two.
Boulevard Moulay Rachid
+212 24 899100
If you want to buy a carpet in Morocco, pay a visit to the lovely kasbah at Ait Benhaddou (which has appeared in many films including Gladiator) and go to Said's shop. He sells every type of carpet and is responsible for the cooperative of women who make them. You are buying directly from the berber community who produce the carpets, normally Said sells to shop owners etc so you're cutting out the middle man. We got a lovely carpet for about £30 - bargain!
Kasbah Ait Benhaddou
Souk Cuisine is run by the very friendly Gemma Van de Burgt, in English. She met us in Jemaa el Fna square at 10am and took us around the souks. As she knew all the stall-holders we were able to learn a lot from them and take photos, which can otherwise be quite difficult.
We bought the ingredients then went back to her house which is properly set up for up to five people. We learned to cook about six traditional dishes, including ones not found in restaurants. It was a whole day's entertainment for about £20 including lunch and wine - amazing value and the most fun thing we did.
Bali Bali is a Malaysian restaurant just off Cambridge Circus, in the heart of theatreland. Excellent food and great service in a relaxed, bustling atmosphere and at budget prices, this is my favourite restaurant in London.
150 Shaftesbury Avenue, WC2. Nearest tube is Leicester Square (walk north) or Tottenham Court Road (walk south).
The Regents Canal, once one of Britain's busiest commercial routes, is now an informative walk through widely differing areas. The towpath takes in Limehouse, Islington, Kings Cross, Camden, Regents Park and finally Little Venice near Paddington. Camden Lock is an ideal stop off for some shopping in the local market and a snack or drink.
Primrose Hill is an easy detour north for views over London and, passing through the north of Regents Park, if you time it right you can take in the feeding of the hyenas as you walk right through the middle of London zoo.
Start at Kings Cross by turning left and walking behind the station on York Way until the canal crosses you. Paddington station is close to Little Venice, where two canals meet.
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