Taxi Askrigg England
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I’d recommend Wensleydale in the Yorkshire Dales. Wend your way through this delightful area via West Burton, Thoralby, Askrigg or maybe Aysgarth and its famous rippling falls. These lovely villages and others contain charming pubs, tea rooms and small craft shops. Well-marked footpaths lead through emerald-green meadows, separated by “squeezers” populated by a scattering of sheep and cows. Even on darker days, the landscape enthralls with its variations. Walk around Semerwater, visiting the hamlet of Stalling Busk to sample preserves named “hellish relish”, or visit Hawes and its famous creamery. The accommodation is as varied and inspiring as the weather and the lush landscape – either cosy self-catering or, as a treat, the Stone Hotel at Sedbusk in all its majestic isolation.
Margaret Hardeman, Worcestershire
The Rollright Stones on the borders of Warwickshire and Oxfordshire are breathtakingly spooky at sunrise. The 80 or so hoarstones that make up the megalithic circle, with the massive king stone at the head, are mysterious and magical when bathed in a pink light. How did they get there, and why? The many legends and theories only add to the attraction. In a nearby field, the knight stones appear to be conspiring together and legend has it that they will whisper the name of who you will marry if you arrive there with some wedding cake in your pocket. They are part of an ancient dolmen, and as good a place as any to enjoy fruit cake.
Gill Yardley, Coventry
The Rollright Stones (Fotolia/AP)
Visit the Col des Annes in the French Alps in summer and as soon as you enter the tranquil valley you are blown away by its beauty. The narrow road winds its way up through the meadows covered in alpine flowers. If you are quiet, you’ll see the ibex or chamois grazing on the lush grass. At the end of the valley is a small hamlet with one rustic restaurant. The view from here extends down into Switzerland across acres of conifer-lined meadowland. Above to the right are the Aravis mountains, which retain their white “royal icing” from one year to the next.
Returning to the same valley during winter is just as breathtaking because the whole scene is then covered in a thick carpet of snow. The icicles sparkle on the deserted, half-buried chalets and the trees are laden with the latest fall of snow. Spectacular.
Melanie Dixon, Gloucestershire
Rudyard Kipling’s line about “Rolling down to Rio” (from The Beginning of the Armadillos) always thrilled me, then the 1933 film Flying Down to Rio excited me with glimpses of the city. Therefore I was enthralled actually to visit Rio de Janeiro. The jewels in Rio’s crown are its twin peaks. At the northern end of the bay, Sugarloaf rises above the harbour. To reach the summit, one takes two separate glass-walled cable cars. The view from the first stage is exciting, but from the very top the sight across the city is more exhilarating. In the far distance is the second jewel – Corcovado, topped by the magnificent Christ the Redeemer. To access this, one takes the cog railway through rainforest up to a platform where the largest Art Deco statue in the world towers above you. A panoramic view stretches across the city, the beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana, and to Sugarloaf.
T J Sherburn, Somerset
From the western end of San Sebastian’s Ondarreta Beach, take the 103-year-old funicular to the top of Monte Igueldo. From there, a magnificent view awaits: seascape, townscape and hillscape in one – the splendid La Bahía de La Concha. To the left, you look towards the Bay of Biscay and south-west France, with a distant glimpse of the Pyrenees. The view to your right, meanwhile, leads you back along Ondarreta Beach to Concha Beach, with the city behind and rolling hills in the distance, and round to the harbour and the narrow streets of the Old Town.
San Sebastian (Fotolia/AP)
Directly in front of you is the view across the attractive Isla Santa Clara in the middle of the bay to Monte Urgull and its 40ft statue of Christ. It will leave you wanting more, so try it from the other direction, via the winding path from the top end of the Old Town, up Monte Urgull to the ramparts below the Christ statue. It’s a steady 45-minute climb, but the view that awaits spurs you on.