CLOCKWISE FROM BELOW: Mam Tor, Derbyshire; Stonehenge, Wiltshire; Kew Gardens, London; Inveraray Castle, Argyll; RHS Wisley, Surrey; Oxford

PICTURES: VisitBritain/Sam Campey/Stephen Spraggon/Guy Richardson; RHS; Shutterstock

rolling green hills of Dovedale, hike or cycle along the Tissington Trail, or take in the scenery from one of the best viewpoints in the area at the top of Mam Tor. If it’s your first foray into walking holidays, try a specialist such as HF Holidays, which has self-guided options or breaks aimed at families, and can provide detailed maps, notes and tips such as where to find the best tea rooms (or pubs!) en route. Ring of Kerry: Ireland’s most famous driving route is the Ring of Kerry, a 110-mile journey through some of the prettiest stretches of southwest Ireland. The scenery is as enchanting as you’d expect of the Emerald Isle, passing through the rugged green landscapes of Killarney National Park; the wild, sandy shore of Rossbeigh Strand; and the stunning mountain pass of Moll’s Gap, overlooked by the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks range.

BEST FOR… HISTORY Stonehenge: It’s one of the world’s most famous prehistoric monuments, with roots as early as 5,000BC and a unique stone circle dating from the Neolithic period, around 2,500BC. Walking alongside those standing stones, imagining the effort it took to get them there and the lives of the people who might have come here to worship their ancestors or watch sunrise at the summer solstice – depending on which theory you

28 19 MARCH 2020

Sir Clough

Williams-Ellis drew inspiration from the architecture of the Riviera to plan rows of houses in rainbow shades and ornamental gardens

subscribe to about why it was built – is a useful reminder of how much history we have on our own doorstep. Oxford: This university city isn’t quite as ancient as Stonehenge, but it can trace its days as a centre of learning back as far as the 11th century, when Henry II put a stop to English gentlemen heading across the channel to study in Paris. Now, its ‘dreaming spires’ draw students, academics and tourists from across the world, and mix traditions such as formal hall dinners and wearing academic gowns with some of the most cutting-edge research around. Look out for Harry Potter filming locations in Christ Church College, the enormous quads of Trinity, and the much-photographed circular science library housed in the Radcliffe Camera building. Portmeirion: This curious little slice of Italy on the fringes of Snowdonia National Park in north Wales was completed in 1926 as the passion project of architect and environmentalist Sir Clough Williams-Ellis. He drew inspiration from the architecture of the Riviera to plan rows of houses in rainbow shades, ornamental gardens with perfectly manicured lawns, and even a campanile redolent of his beloved Italy. Take a stroll along the Quayside, stop for a coffee on the cobbles of Battery Square, and get a selfie by the striking turrets of Castell Deudraeth, once the home of the local MP.

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