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All aboard a new walking trail across Wales

All aboard a new walking trail across Wales The 122-mile Heart of Wales Line Trail traces a much-loved railway through magnificent countryside, taking in a forgotten wonder of the industrial age On the station platform at Craven Arms, a helpful elderly lady asks where I’m going. “I’m looking for the Heart of Wales?” Continue reading… Go to Source Author: Kevin Rushby Tweet

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10 of the best rural breaks in the UK

10 of the best rural breaks in the UK The UK countryside comes alive in spring and these breaks – everything from seal-spotting to cycling and even wine-tasting – make the most of it The North York Moors come alive in spring, with heather creating a sweet-scented carpet of colour for walkers – and there are plenty of pubs and tearooms for refuelling. Join a three-night walking break with HF Holidays for guided moor and coast hikes from a base at Larpool Hall, Whitby. This year is also the 50th anniversary of the 109-mile Cleveland Way, celebrated with WalkFest, a programme of guided walks and children’s treasure hunts from 24-27 May • Book it From £289 for three nights’…

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Scilly season: why spring is the best time to visit

Scilly season: why spring is the best time to visit Spring arrives early on Scilly and the charm of tiny, sleepy St Martin’s is that there is little-else to do but enjoy its flower-filled moors and coves Golden Mary, Scilly White, Sunrise, Golden Spur, Emperor, Empress, Cheerfulness, Magnificence, Soleil d’Or. There is poetry in the names of daffodil and narcissi varieties sprouting from all corners of St Martin’s. This tiny island, barely two miles long and mostly less than half a mile wide, is filled with flowers in spring. The strong scent of narcissi wafts over the lanes, and the hedgerows and fields burst with dainty pink lilies, enormous tree lupins, purple agapanthus and creamy three-cornered leek. Even the…

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Spring breaks: 5 of the best cities in Europe

Spring breaks: 5 of the best cities in Europe From fiesta-mad Seville to buzzing Montpellier and blossom-filled Berlin, spring is a blooming marvellous time for a short break Summers in the flamboyant Andalucían capital often nudge 40C, but spring is a delight, with the parks in bloom and the scent of orange blossom and jasmine in the air. And in Semana Santa (Holy Week, 14-20 April) the streets come alive with floats and processions. There is also the raucous annual Feria de Abril – a week-long fiesta of parades, flamenco and partying long into the night (4-11 May; expect higher hotel prices if you visit then). Continue reading… Go to Source Author: Jane Dunford, Chris Moss, Mary Novakovich, Celia…

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Six of the best spring breaks in rural Europe

Six of the best spring breaks in rural Europe With the countryside blooming but tourists crowds yet to, spring is the ideal time for a European adventure, from sea kayaking in Sardinia to cycling through the tulips near Amsterdam Millions of tulips turn the landscape of the Netherlands into a carpet of colour each spring – usually between the beginning of April and mid-May, and particularly between Haarlem and Leiden to the west of Amsterdam. The best way to explore is on a bicycle, along well-kept cycle paths that thread their way through a sea of colour – and with such a flat landscape, it’s not strenuous. The Keukenhof Flower Gardens, to the south-west of Amsterdam, are a highlight,…

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Spring adventure: trail running on Madeira

Spring adventure: trail running on Madeira Madeira may have a sedate reputation but the wild, rugged landscape is the perfect place for hiking and trail-running in the spring sunshine Having found a bench in the hot spring sunshine, I was unwrapping my bolo de caco – an excellent toasted sweet potato sandwich, slathered in garlic butter – when “Michael Jackson” walked past. He was dressed Thriller era, and accompanied by a few pirates and a brass band in orange Afros. The band struck up. Michael strutted. The bystanders on Funchal’s lively Avenida Arriaga cheered. That evening, the fancy dress and frivolity were fully unleashed. It was Madeira Carnival’s main parade – one of the Portuguese island’s biggest celebrations (10…

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10 of the best cognac distillers, tours and tastings, France

10 of the best cognac distillers, tours and tastings, France Exploring Cognac and the Charente region gives an insight into a brandy rich in history – with a barrel full of tastings on offer Cognac is one of France’s most iconic products, yet little of it is consumed at home: 98% is exported. Authentic cognac can only be produced from a specific region but this vast vineyard stretches from the grand town of Cognac itself inland across the Charente region and over to the Atlantic coast. It is a delight to explore, with winemakers, distillers and the famed maisons de négoces (cognac merchants) open for visits. Most people begin in Cognac with one of the multimedia tours (around €20)…

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Amid lava fields and lizards: a walking trip on El Hierro, Canaries

Amid lava fields and lizards: a walking trip on El Hierro, Canaries Before Columbus, the island of El Hierro was the ‘edge of the world’. Today, its volcanic peaks and forest offer superb family trekking Clouds of volcanic dust envelop the car as we judder down the track through the Malpaís – the badlands. Contorted lava fields and cinder cones surround us in a fierce display. This was once believed to be the end of the Earth. Before Columbus voyaged to America, El Hierro – the smallest and least-visited of the Canary Islands – was the westernmost edge of the known world. Continue reading… Go to Source Author: Kari Herbert Tweet

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Milan art tour: fresco heaven, without the crowds

Milan art tour: fresco heaven, without the crowds Resist the urge to splurge in the city’s chic shops and instead lose yourself in its transcendental art Think of Milan and you think of fashion. The first time I spent more than a few hours in the city, I roamed the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II – Italy’s oldest shopping arcade, built in the 1860s and still home to the original Prada store, which was opened by the designer’s grandfather Mario in 1913 – wishing that I was rich (or at least, not quite so broke). What on earth is a girl with an overdraft and a fierce lust for buttery leather supposed to do in a place where everyone is…

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10 great European art anniversaries in 2019

10 great European art anniversaries in 2019 From 100 years of Bauhaus to 500 years since Leonardo’s death, a host of landmark art events and exhibitions open around Europe this year It is 350 years since the death of Rembrandt van Rijn. There is a year-long programme of events in nine Dutch cities, focusing on Rembrandt and the Dutch golden age (listings at holland.com). In Amsterdam, the Rijksmuseum (15 Feb-10 June) will display all of its 22 paintings, 60 drawings and 300 engravings – the biggest Rembrandt collection ever seen in a single exhibition. Later in the year it has a Rembrandt and Velazquez show (11 Oct-19 Jan), while the Rembrandt House Museum has three exhibitions and the City…

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