London has museums – lots of them – and, best of all, most of the major must-sees are free. You could easily spend an entire week in the UK capital museum-hopping, but for those with less time or inclination, make sure to tick off at least three.
If you’re in Honkers during the week and fancy a little culture – without having to put your hand in your purse – then take advantage of the innovative “free Wednesdays” initiative. Seven of the city’s museums take part, including the Museum of Art, Museum of History, Heritage Museum, the Science Museum and the Space Museum. And if you’re feeling very ambitious you can attempt to hit them all in one day!
Despite its reputation as a heaving, cramped island of urban sprawl, almost 70 per cent of Hong Kong’s land area is undeveloped countryside, protected national parks and outlying islands. And away from the crowded high rises and madding crowd, the city is home to some of the best urban hiking tracks in the world. If you only have time to do one trek then make sure it’s the Dragon’s Back. Hailed by Time magazine as Asia’s best urban hike, the 8.5km walk takes in vistas of dazzling seas and nearby islands. Short and incredibly scenic, walkers can finish at Big Wave Bay for a refreshing dip in the sea.
Leave the flashy buildings and five-star opulence behind you and get a sense of pre-oil Dubai by visiting its cultural heart in the historic Bastakiya area, where gold and spice souks are still thriving. Soak up the scents, sights and sounds as you haggle with vendors for an A to Z of spices, perfumes, sweets and other delights. The gold souk is a must for jewellery lovers as the precious metal is cheaper in Dubai than anywhere else on Earth.
As the heat of the day subsides, take advantage of the Emirate’s balmy evenings by heading to the free rooftop cinema atop the incredible pyramid-shaped and ancient Egyptian-themed Wafi shopping mall. Every Sunday evening from 8.30pm visitors can perch on plush beanbags, order up a pizza and enjoy a themed double feature!
The 850-year old Notre Dame cathedral is a free must-see for any visitor to the city. Try to get in line early in the morning... and avoid altogether if your visit falls on a major Catholic holiday. If you have the stamina – and you don’t mind parting with some cash – you can climb the 422 tower steps to get an impressive view over Paris.
Paris’s Cimetière Père Lachaise is claimed to be the most visited graveyard in the world, and given that so many famous folk are interred here it could well be true. Classical music heavyweight Chopin, French songstress Edith Piaf and The Doors’ lead singer Jim Morrison are all entombed. You’ll also find the resting place of Irish author Oscar Wilde. Handy maps at the entrances of the cemetery point out the location of the most famous grave sites.