It’s less than 100 days until the Tour de France begins, and the organisers of the opening stages are already gearing up for the Grand Départ with the announcement of 17 spectator hubs earlier this week. The race begins in Yorkshire, making it the first time the Tour has ever visited the north. Prepare yourself for some stunning scenery and beautiful landscapes as the route winds through the Dales, departing from Leeds, taking in Harrogate and Sheffield via Ripon and the Peak District, then finishing up in London during Stage Three, the route for which is yet to be confirmed. All of this means you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to picturesque spots from which you can watch the cycling, either in person or on huge screens provided at some of the hubs. See the map below for our favourite stops on the Tour de France in England:

Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database rights 2014

Explore more of England using the our destination page for England. Book hostels for your trip and don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before you go. 

Thinking about taking the dog on holiday? Or perhaps you’re going travelling and don’t want to leave the pooch behind? Check out our simple guide to taking your dog to Europe.

Had I known how easy it would be to travel with the dog, and how simple it is to get a pet passport, my dog would be far better travelled. After two months on the road with our kelpie, he’ll never be excluded from European travels again. Unfazed by the long ferry journeys and van travel, he was in his element on the road: roaming miles of beaches, cooling off in the sea and making hundreds of friends to play with.

The only downsides of travelling with this dog were his scavenging skills and embarrassing habit of stealing frisbees from French naturists. On the upside – as well as him, and us, having more fun – he also provided extra security for the campervan filled with our worldly belongings. I won’t be taking him on long-haul trips or city breaks but if you’re planning a dog-friendly trip – preferably travelling by ferry or Eurotunnel – why not forego kennel costs and the worry of leaving Rover in someone else’s care? Here are a few things to consider.

GETTING A PET PASSPORT

On the Pet Travel Scheme, dogs can travel between all EU-listed countries using a DEFRA-approved Pet Passport. As long as your dog is up to date with vaccinations and is micro-chipped, all you need is a trip to the vet for a health check and rabies jab. The vet will then provide you with all the necessary documentation, and your dog is permitted to leave the UK 21 days after the jab. (If you are travelling anywhere outside of the EU, the process is a little more complicated as your dog will need a blood test taken at least 30 days after the rabies vaccination.) Before leaving I also ensured the dog’s collar was fitted with a well-secured tag showing my name and phone number (including international dialling code).

Photo credit: Hayley Spurway

LEAVING THE UK

Wherever you decide to travel with your dog, you must depart from (and return to) the UK on an authorised route with an approved transport company. Eurotunnel and plenty of ferry companies welcome dogs onboard, as do several air routes. The cost of transporting your dog by ferry depends on if a kennel is required and the length of the crossing, but expect to pay anything from £16.50 to £50 each way. On the Eurotunnel it costs £15 each way for dogs to travel.

DOG-FRIENDLY EUROPE

Before leaving, do some research into how dog-friendly the areas are that you intend to visit. Most beaches, parks and nature reserves across Europe are well marked if they do not allow dogs, or require you have them on leads. When we followed the coast from the southern tip of Spain to Brittany, the most dog-friendly areas – with quiet beaches and the fewest dog bans – were in southwest Portugal and northwest Spain. In busier areas around the Algarve and from Lisbon up much of the coast of Portugal, and in the south of France, many beaches don’t allow dogs in summer.

Photo credit: Hayley Spurway

DAY-TO-DAY DOG CARE

The key to you and your dog enjoying a holiday together is ensuring they’re is well cared for, which can take a little more attention and planning when you’re in hot climes and away from home. Firstly, keep them cool; plenty of water, regular dips in the sea or streams, and a small beach tent are the best ways of ensuring your dog doesn’t overheat. It’s also wise to take a good supply of your usual dog food, as dogs can be susceptible to changes in diet, and ensure your dog only eats what you feed him. It’s important that the pooch has a comfortable, well-ventilated place to stay – not usually a problem if you’ve got accommodation, but if travelling in campervan it can take a little more thought. If in a van, have plenty of ventilation, reflective window covers and curtains, so the interior stays cool even on the hottest days. Finally, as well as taking regular stops and making sure your dog is well exercised, pack plenty of poop bags, a spare collar, a dog brush and a couple of blankets or towels.

COMING BACK INTO THE UK

Current regulations stipulate that your dog must have received vet-administered tapeworm treatment between 24 and 120 hours before arriving back into the UK. If you do not have your pet passport updated with proof of the correct treatment, or your microchip can’t be scanned, you jeopardise your dog’s re-entry to the country. Brittany Ferries supplies a list of vets close to its ports, but it can be easier (and cheaper) to find a local vet in a town you are passing through a few days before leaving. If you are concerned about getting your dog treated (or your language skills to make an appointment), you can use a third party (for a fee) to arrange the correct treatment.

All photographs courtesy of Hayley Spurway. Book hostels for your trip, and don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before you go.

Sea-view dining, sleeping to the sound of the waves and bagging beachside accommodation needn’t cost the earth. Hayley Spurway finds some of the best free camping locations across Spain and Portugal.

Over two months on the road in the camper van our accommodation costs came to grand total of €19. That’s pretty impressive for a family of four and a dog, considering the average cost of a campsite in Europe is €25 per night. Willing to wee in the wild, we were keen to breakaway from organised campsites, find more remote places to stay and make a saving by free camping our way around Spain and Portugal. Unlike the UK, much of the European continent is well set-up for camper vans, providing Aires (free camping/motorhome stopovers) on main routes, as well as being home to plenty of stunning track locations where camper vans can park-up for free.

Websites like furgovw.org list free camper van locations Europe-wide, but we found our own gems by heading away from the maddening crowds and following rutted tracks seaward. These are my top ten free camper van spots in Spain and Portugal:

Las Rozas, Cantabria

On the edge of this tiny village on the banks of the mighty Ebro reservoir, a small track under the railway bridge leads to a grassy plateau hemmed by water. Seething midday temperatures see to it that you spend much of your time cooling off in the lake, where you can swim to a partly submerged church and gawp at mountain views from the steeple.

Playa Valdevaqueros, Andalucia

About 10km out of Tarifa town, between Punta Paloma and the Spin Out kitesurfing school, there’s a small beachside plot where camper vans can park up gratis. Most folk come here for the wind-sports (it’s one of the windiest locations in Europe), but it’s also perfect for beach lovers who want to fling open the van doors to pillows of sands and don’t mind a stiff afternoon breeze.
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Praia do Rostro, Galicia

Seeking shelter from northerly winds and crowds on pilgrimage to nearby Cape Finisterre, we stumbled across the perfect camper van park-up beside the Caribbean-white sands of Rostro. Windsurfers and surfers flock here when conditions are right, walkers pad along the sand to Punta das Padras, and when the crystal-clear ocean is cold, you can wade to deserted coves and clamber over boulders to a waterfall.

Playa Traba, Galicia

On the north coast of Galicia – where boulder-strewn peaks and dense forests tumble to the edge of sandy bays and rugged coves – free camping locations abound. At Playa Traba you can experience crowd-free (even in the middle of summer), wave-lashed beach beauty, with the blessing of excellent facilities too: level, grassy park-ups; loos and showers; a water tap and picnic benches.

Photo credit: Hayley Spurway

Esteiro, Galicia

Where the baker delivers fresh bread to your park-up beneath the pine trees, and you can pad from the camper van into the surf, you’ve struck free camping gold. With a rustic beach bar and restaurant, showers and loos, picnic benches and a park for the kids, it’s little wonder that Esteiro gets busy. But the crowds depart with the heat of the sun, leaving plenty of space to spill out into secluded pitches under the stars.
Explore more of Galicia >

Frexulfre, Asturias

Despite the abundance of mosquitos in Frexulfre’s eucalyptus forests, you can’t argue that the location – peering through the treetops down to the surf – is a cracking one. Forest tracks zigzag beneath the canopies to meet the waves, and as the tide ebbs the rockpools come to life. At the eastern end of the beach there’s also a beach-shack bar, showers and loos.


Photo credit: Hayley Spurway

Praia Odeceixe, Portugal

Across the river from the whitewashed town of Odeceixe, there’s a row of waterside park-ups where the river meets the sea. Not only can you skim pebbles or float downstream on a lilo from the crescent of beach beside the camper vans, it’s only a short wade (or swim, at high tide) across the river to the town’s picture postcard beach that’s popular with surfers and families.

Costa de Almograve, Portugal

Follow the road through Almograve (stopping for some of Portugal’s best churros en route) to reach a wave-lashed stretch of coast traced by pockets of sand between dramatic cliffs. Beyond the first beach the crowds peter out and there’s a few cliff-top parking bays as well as a smaller, camper van-friendly car park beside a fish restaurant, water fountain, and a gym-and-jog circuit.

Photo credit: Hayley Spurway

Praia Amado, Portugal

Surfers, families and beach bums flock to Praia Amado for waves, wow-factor sunsets and a beach-top vantage point. Surrounded by the same rugged scenery as more secret spots nearby, here the surf-side cafés mean you can take a break from campfire cooking and rest assured there’s always a loo nearby.

Praia Melides, Portugal

A peaceful camping spot before hitting the busier coastline around Lisbon, Praia Melides proffers mile upon mile of deserted, sugary sands backed by pine forests. Push on past the beach cafés, and – depending how far you’re willing to venture along the sandy track – there are secluded, sheltered camping spots galore hidden amongst the canopies.

Explore more of Spain with the Rough Guide to Spain, and use the Rough Guide to Europe on a Budget to make the most of your money. 
Book hostels for your trip, and don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before you go.

Sophisticated, globally minded and perfect for late-night parties – Madrid can be an expensive place to enjoy. So if you want to see the sights on a budget, timing is crucial. Many of the city’s best museums, galleries and historic buildings are free to visit but only for a few hours at a time, so it always pays to check before turning up. Here are ten things to do in Madrid for free.

Take a stroll through Parque del Buen Retiro

For centuries it was a royal retreat, but Parque del Buen Retiro is now open to everyone – with museums, galleries and monuments dotted across 350-or-so acres of green space. If you visit in May, it’s worth seeking out the Rosaleda (rose garden), where fragrant blooms explode in shades of peach and cherry.

Make the most of the free admission to galleries

Some of Madrid’s best galleries offer free admission at certain times of the week. For example, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, which houses works by Salvador Dalí and Pablo Picasso, is free at weekends and after 7pm on weekday evenings.

Browse the El Rastro flea market

Every Sunday morning, El Rastro takes over the rambling streets south of Plaza de Cascorro, with thousands of shoppers coming to try on clothes, flick through old books or rummage for antique jewellery. The sheer size of the market makes it worth having a look, even if you don’t want to buy anything.

See a piece of ancient Egypt

Madrid has plenty of old buildings, but in terms of sheer antiquity there’s nothing quite like the Temple of Debod – an ancient Egyptian complex built near Aswan more than 2,000 years ago. The enormous stone blocks were dismantled and sent to Madrid in the 1960s (as a thank you for Spain’s help in protecting other Egyptian temples from flooding) then reassembled in the city’s Parque del Oeste.

Look skywards at the Planetario de Madrid

It’s always free to look around Madrid’s planetarium, which has audio-visual exhibitions looking at all aspects of space and its exploration. There’s a hands-on area for kids, and a domed projection room (which costs extra) that guides visitors through the night sky.

Get lost in Madrid’s barrios

Take a short walk away from Puerta del Sol and you’ll discover some of Madrid’s most colourful barrios (wards). Try multicultural Lavapiés, where shisha bars and Indian restaurants line the graffiti-daubed streets, or hipster-packed Malasaña, known for its nightclubs and vintage clothing shops.

Party on the streets

Street parties and festivals are an important part of Madrid’s social calendar. One of the wildest events is February’s Carnaval, a six-day festival of music, theatre and dance that opens with a fantastical procession of floats and costume-clad performers.

 Visit the Royal Palace

Time it right and you can visit the Spanish king’s official residence for free. Unlike his predecessors, Juan Carlos I doesn’t actually live at the Royal Palace, a treasure trove of art and antiquities inspired by the Louvre in Paris, but it is still used for state events. Admission is free for EU residents on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons.

See flamenco for free

Okay, so you’ll need to buy a drink, but the late-night restaurant Clan gives you the chance to see authentic flamenco performances for free. The music starts sometime after midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, and dancing carries on until 3am.

Take a free walking tour of Madrid

You might need to tip your guide, but the three and half hour walking tours offered by Sandeman’s New Europe are officially free. Tours start outside the tourist office on Plaza Mayor everyday (at 11am and 1pm), taking in popular sights like the Royal Palace and Plaza de la Villa.

 

Cambridge is deservedly famous for its university, and seeing the colleges is at the top of any visitor’s list – closely followed by punting of course – but there are a host of other reasons to visit. Rebecca Hallett explores all that Cambridge has to offer beyond chapels, courts and students.

Museums & galleries

Among the highlights of Cambridge’s many free museums is the Folk Museum, containing an enormous range of objects from Cambridge and the surrounding fens. But for some hands-on fun, head to the Whipple Museum of the History of Science, where you can view and sometimes even use scientific instruments from across the centuries, and for video gamers, try out the new Centre for Computing History where gaming lock-ins aren’t uncommon, and you can see exhibits of old computers and games, or take part in a variety of Raspberry Pi (a cheap, credit card-sized computer for kids) programming workshops.

Art history students in Cambridge have it pretty good; they can see several important works in person at the stunning Fitzwilliam Museum and see twentieth-century art at the unusual location of Kettle’s Yard – the fascinating home and collection of Jim Ede, where visitors must ring the doorbell to be allowed in.

Architecture

To fully take in the city’s famously beautiful architecture, you can just wander the streets (or cycle, if you really want to fit in), but if you’re not sure where to start, join a council-run tour or explore the city’s much-overlooked modern buildings on one of Cambridge Modern Architecture’s suggested walks, which introduce you to the city’s stunning variety of post-war structures. The Midsummer Common section of the river is also a great place to stroll; you can see the spires of churches and chapels peeking over the trees, and enjoy a relaxing walk along the banks while student rowers sweat it out in the water.

Great St. Mary’s Church, the official centre of the University, is both architecturally and historically fascinating. For example, under a brass plaque are the remains of Protestant reformer Martin Bucer – kind of. After his death, the Catholic Queen Mary I had his corpse unearthed and burned at the stake as a heretic in the marketplace. Then, when Elizabeth I came to power, she ordered the marketplace swept clean and all dust gathered re-interred in the church. Tudor politics sound much more dramatic than today’s…

Other than Great St. Mary’s tower there are two excellent spots for taking in the city – Cambridge is mostly flat, which makes cycling very easy but getting a good view pretty hard. For some local history, grab your camera and take a walk up Castle Hill, so named for the castle that was long ago torn down after being rendered redundant by a pesky period of peace. In its place you’ll find a number of informative signs and a great view over Cambridge. For a more surprising photo-taking opportunity, head to the car park on top of Lion’s Yard shopping centre. You’ll get beautiful vistas across the city, and a rare chance to avoid the crowds.

Where to eat

While Cambridge has a lot to offer foodies, if you want the best you should book a table (well in advance) at Midsummer House, a two Michelin-starred British-French restaurant. Not only is the food excellent, the staff couldn’t be more warm and personable – a welcome change from the efficient but distant service in many other expensive restaurants. For something a bit more affordable, head to Trockel, Ulmann & Freunde, also known to students as the ‘German café’ or ‘German soup kitchen’, who offer delicious, well-priced soups and snacks right in the city centre.


Picture by Jonathon Kram 

If you’d like to venture a little further afield, the Mill Road area has a number of Middle Eastern and Asian restaurants, perhaps best among them Bibimbap House, and even further afield is the gorgeous village of Grantchester where The Orchard does an excellent cream tea. It was the haunt of such luminaries as the Bloomsbury Group, and has an attached Rupert Brooke museum, but despite its succession of famous patrons (Alan Turing, Stephen Fry, Bertrand Russell et al) this tearoom remains pleasingly down-to-earth, and the village atmosphere is a refreshing a break from Cambridge’s crowds.

Educational endeavors

On top of the city’s numerous museums, history buffs should be sure to visit the beautiful American Cemetery, which commemorates US Soldiers killed in World War Two. For more wartime history, head a little way out of the city to IWM Duxford, Europe’s best-preserved Second World War Airfield.

Cambridge is well-equipped for astronomers of all kinds. Those wanting a relaxed introduction should book a place on the Varsity Hotel’s Astronomy Masterclasses. After eating in the River Bar Steakhouse & Grill, attendees can enjoy drinks as they observe the night sky, while the Chairman of the Cambridge Astronomical Association explains what they’re seeing. If the size of the telescopes doesn’t impress you, then head to the Institute of Astronomy’s observatory. Following a talk from one of the Institute’s astronomers, on clear nights you get the chance to look through a far bigger lens.

Picture by Jonathon Kram: the American Cemetery

For those after a more academic lesson, CRASSH (which hosts events on hugely diverse academic topics) often holds interdisciplinary lectures. The speakers are of extremely high quality, including such varied high-profile names as Dr Rowan Williams and Alastair Campbell. Arguably this is a much better way of getting a taste of the city’s intellectual atmosphere, rather than wandering a college, hoping to see someone in a gown.

Music of an astoundingly high standard from around the world is played every night in Cambridge; from symphony orchestras to the university’s own music students and other visiting bands. Many classical concerts are held in the city’s churches, while the Corn Exchange and Junction offer large venues for jazz, rock, pop and comedy acts.

Explore more of England with the Rough Guide to Britain. Book hostels for your trip and don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before you go.

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Twitter chat #RGtalk with Max Grinnell, @theurbanologist

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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Wondering what to do this winter? Head to the Windy City and the Great Lakes region for world-class architecture, compelling cuisine, great museums, and more!

Join our Twitter chat #RGtalk! One lucky participant will win a set of guidebooks: The Rough Guide Snapshot to the Great Lakes eBook guide and The Rough Guide to the USA.

Use #RGtalk to join in–and use the hashtag to tweet your questions about the Chicago area in advance, too!

Whether you are planning a high-energy sightseeing tour of Chicago, a night of fine dining, or a weekend getaway beyond the city limits, Rough Guides writer Max Grinnell can help. He’s got the inside scoop on where to go, what to do, and how to plan the Chicago-area vacation that is right for you.

Connect with fellow travelers and chime in with your own answers and advice. Retweet a recommendation or idea you think others will like. Just remember to always include #RGtalk so that your comment or question is included in the thread.

What is a Twitter chat, you ask? A Twitter chat is a group conversation on Twitter held at a designated time, about a designated topic, and threaded together by a common hashtag.

About author Max Grinnell

Max Grinnell has been wandering around Chicago since his first trip to the Windy City in 1983 at age 8. He saw Mr. T march in the Thanksgiving Day parade during that visit and was immediately sold on the city’s charms. Since then he has written about the city for the Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, and the Guardian, and appeared on numerous radio and television programs to talk about the city’s architecture, history, art, and culture. Over the past fifteen years he’s found time to explore Door County, wander through Indiana’s Amish Country, and also make several pilgrimages to the Motor City.

Max is the author of the Great Lakes region for The Rough Guide to the USA. You can follow his travel adventures on Twitter @theurbanologist and on his website,theurbanologist.com.

Plan your trip with The Rough Guide Snapshot to the Great Lakes eBook guide, and join our Twitter chat for a chance to win!

  

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Offhand, how many different ways can you think of to prepare herring or salmon? The two fish are staples of the smörgåsbord and, at last count, there were well over 120 varieties being used in restaurants and kitchens across Sweden.

The Swedish smörgåsbord (literally “buttered table”) is a massive all-you-can-eat buffet where you can sample almost anything under the midnight sun, from heaving plates of fish and seafood – pickled, curried, fried or cured – to a dizzying assortment of eggs, breads, cheeses, salads, pâtés, terrines and cold cuts, and even delicacies such as smoked reindeer and caviar.

You’re best off arriving early and on an empty stomach. Just don’t pile everything high onto your plate at once – remember that the tradition is as much celebratory social ritual as it is one of consumption. That means cleansing your palate first with a shot of ice-cold aquavit (caraway-flavoured schnapps), then drinking beer throughout – which as it happens goes especially well with herring, no matter the preparation.

Plan to attack your food in three separate stages – cold fish, cold meats and warm dishes – as it’s generally not kosher to mix fish and meat dishes on the same plate. Layer some slices of herring onto a bit of rye bread, and side it with a boiled potato, before moving on to smoked or roasted salmon, jellied eel or roe. Follow this with any number of cold meats such as liver pâté, cured ham and oven-baked chicken. Then try a hot item or two – Swedish meatballs, wild mushroom soup, perhaps Janssons frestelse (“Jansson’s temptation”), a rich casserole of crispy matchstick potatoes, anchovies and onion baked in a sweet cream. Wind down with a plate of cheese, crackers and crisp Wasa bread and, if you can still move, fruit salad, pastries or berry-filled pies for dessert, capped by a cup of piping hot coffee. Then feel free to pass out.

Try Ulriksdals Wärdshus, Slottspark (www.ulriksdalswardshus.se), 10min north of Stockholm in Solna.

 

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It happens to most newcomers: noses flare, eyes widen and pulses quicken upon entering La Boqueria, Barcelona’s cathedral to comida fresca (fresh food). Pass through the handsome Modernista cast-iron gateway and you’re rapidly sucked in by the raw, noisy energy of the cavernous hall, the air dense with the salty tang of the sea and freshly spilled blood. As they say in these parts, if you can’t find it in La Boqueria, you can’t find it anywhere: pyramids of downy peaches face whole cow heads – their eyes rolled back – and hairy curls of rabo de toro (bulls’ tails). Pale-pink piglets are strung up by their hind legs, snouts pointing south, while dorada (sea bream) twitch on beds of ice next to a tangle of black eels.

The Mercat de Sant Josep, as it’s officially called, was built in 1836 on the site of a former convent, though records show that there had been a market here since the thirteenth century. Its devotees are as diverse as the offerings: bargain-hunting grandmas rooting through dusty bins; gran cocineros (master chefs) from around Europe palming eggplants and holding persimmons up to the light; and droves of wide-eyed visitors weaving through the hubbub. At its core, though, La Boqueria is a family affair. Ask for directions and you might be told to turn right at Pili’s place, then left at the Oliveros brothers. More than half of the stalls – and attendant professions – have been passed down through generations for over a century.

When it comes time to eat, do it here. The small bar-restaurants tucked away in La Boqueria may be low on frills, but they serve some of the finest market-fresh Catalan fare in the city. Flames lick over the dozens of orders crammed onto the tiny grill at Pinotxo, a bustling bar that has been around since 1940. Pull up a stool, and choose from the day’s specials that are rattled off by various members of the extended family, like the affable, seventy-something Juanito. Tuck into bubbling samfaina, a Catalan ratatouille, or try cap i pota, stewed head and hoof of pig. As the afternoon meal winds down, Juanito walks the bar, topping up glasses from a jug of red wine. There’s a toast – “Salud!” – and then everyone takes long, warming swallows, as all around the shuttered market sighs to a close.

La Boqueria has a website – www.boqueria.info – and is open Monday–Saturday 8am–8.30pm.

 

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Seville, Andalucia, Spain

Pernickety continuity experts look away as the fantastically grating worlds of sixth Doctor Colin Baker and second Doctor Patrick Troughton collide when they accidentally bump into each other’s time streams in The Two Doctors. The Andalucían capital, famous for its bitter oranges, adds a touch of exotic heat to this multi-Doctor storyline. Experience some feisty flamenco dancing and fill up at one of the city’s tasty tapas bars.

Central Park, New York, USA

Featured in myriad films including The Avengers, Home Alone 2 and The Devil Wears Prada, and boasting everything from a boating lake to a zoo, Central Park also acts as backdrop to 2012 episode The Angels Take Manhattan. The terrifying Weeping Angels make their mark, sending newlyweds Amy and Rory Pond permanently back in time.

Colchester, England

Britain’s oldest recorded Roman town, Colchester is mentioned as setting for a number of latter day Doctor Who episodes. Actor and comedian James Corden has his series debut in The Lodger and amusingly showcases Matt Smith’s impressive football skills. Once the capital of Roman Britain, Colchester is home to a number of places of archeological interest as well as a beautiful castle.

Royal Albert Hall, London, England

Exterminate! Exterminate! Yes the 1964 monochrome story The Dalek Invasion of Earth playfully used locations all over the British capital, surely frightening Londoners by the masses. As well as catching a show at the Albert Hall, you can take a tour around the auditorium, including a sneaky peek at the Queen’s private suites, the Royal Retiring Room.

Southerndown Beach, Wales

Fabled Badwolf Bay features in the climactic 2006 episode Doomsday, filmed at Southerndown Beach. Pulling at the heartstrings of Doctor Who fans across the world, the episode has one of the last appearances of Billie Piper as star-crossed lead companion Rose Tyler, who she plays with Shakespearian magnitude alongside David Tennant’s tenth Doctor.

Glen Canyon Dam, Arizona, USA

The final shot to be filmed on location during American-centric 2011 episode Day of the Moon was at this dramatically extensive concrete dam in Arizona. For a small fee, the guided tour will take you down in to the depths of the dam to explore inner workings of this engineering marvel.

Leeds Castle, England

Let your inner child run wild while exploring the enchanting Grade I listed Leeds Castle and its grounds. Seen in the 1978 episode The Androids of Tara, this aristocratic abode is home to fictional Count Grendel of Castle Gracht. In reality the castle used to house Henry VIII’s first wife Catherine of Aragon and today plays host to the world’s only dog collar museum.

Rye Harbour Nature Reserve, England

Get back to nature and make sure you spot the striking red-and-black hut featured in The Ultimate Foe during your visit to Rye Harbour Nature Reserve, which is free to all visitors and open all hours. Don’t get too close, as appearances can be deceiving; the hut was a TARDIS used by infamous Doctor Who villain The Master in this 1986 episode.

Dan-yr-Ogof Showcaves, Wales

These caves star in 1978 Doctor Who story The Pirate Planet, written by The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy author Douglas Adams. “Ooh” and “ahh” your way through this maze of mighty stalactites, stand agog at the “frozen waterfall” and witness history being (very slowly) made as a new “shower” cave is born. Plus there’s even a dinosaur park to sink your teeth into.

The Majestic Theater, New York, USA

Delicately balancing the glamour of 1930s New York theatre days with the Great Depression, 2007’s Daleks in Manhattan is a stage for yet another Dalek invasion attempt. The beautiful sets were fashioned on the Majestic Theater in the heart of Broadway, which today welcomes visitors to watch their long-running production of The Phantom of the Opera.

Valley of the Gods, Utah, USA

This vivid and arid sandstone skyline is a postcard-perfect stretch for a road trip. The panorama helped give the 2011 story The Impossible Astronaut a truly cinematic feel. In addition to the extra special budget evident in the series opener, a replica of Buzz Aldrin’s 1969 Apollo 11 mission space suit was created exclusively for the episode.

Caerphilly Castle, Wales

This medieval castle surrounded by vast artificial lakes has been used in a number of episodes since the 2005 revival of Doctor Who. Notably in spin-off series The Sarah Jane Adventures, Caerphilly plays the perfectly spooky setting for a haunted castle investigation in The Eternity Trap. Visit with an open mind: you never know who or what you might bump in to…

Harrison’s Rocks, England

This sandstone crag is a popular beauty spot among both climbers and Whovians with a sense of adventure. The outcrop features as a tricky entrance to the Dwellings of Simplicity in the 1982 story Castrovalva; you’ll find it in the countryside near Groombridge, East Sussex.

Cardiff, Wales

For a heightened chance of spotting the cast and crew filming on location, head to Cardiff to spend some time (albeit behind barrier tape) in the presence of the Doctor and the TARDIS; the production team make use of just about every landmark from the Millennium Stadium to Queen’s Arcade Shopping Centre. Be sure to join one of the many Doctor Who bus and walking tours around the city.

Vancouver, Canada

In a bid to resuscitate the series, the 1996 TV movie was a particularly hammy (and ill-fated) attempt at widening Doctor Who’s international audience. Filmed around Vancouver, parading as San Francisco, the film features the only extended appearance by dandy eighth Doctor Paul McGann, and Sylvester McCoy’s last appearance as the seventh Doctor. This was McCoy’s first and only time using the show’s eponymous hero gadget, the Sonic Screwdriver, which he ended up operating the wrong way round.

Paris, France

The 1979 story City of Death introduces Bond villain Julian Glover as alien Scaroth. In an elaborate plot to fund his time travel experiments by stealing the Mona Lisa from the Louvre with the use of snazzy shoestring special effects, a poetic Tom Baker saves the human race once again. Comedy fans keep your eyes out for Monty Python actor John Cleese’s cameo, as he discusses the finer artistic points of the TARDIS.

Congresso Nacional, Brasilia, Brazil

This otherworldly Brazilian landmark, built by architect Oscar Niemeyer, is like something straight out of a futuristic Syd Mead illustration. Home to Brazil’s federal government, the National Congress of Brazil is cited as the Earth Presidential Headquarters in the 1973 Doctor Who, Frontier in Space. Free guided tours of the structure can be booked, just be on your best behaviour.

Stonehenge, England

A Cyberman, a Dalek and a Silurian walk into Stonehenge… no, it’s not the start of a dodgy joke, but a movie-like scene in the penultimate fifth series episode, The Pandorica Opens. You can still visit the world’s most famous prehistoric stone circle, though clambering over the boulders is strictly forbidden.

Trogir, Croatia

UNESCO-listed Trogir acts as a sunflower-drenched facade to this artistic Doctor Who episode Vincent and the Doctor, where viewers get to experience a snapshot into the life of post-Impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh. Many of the sets produced here were sympathetically modelled on Van Gogh’s famous paintings, and Pirates of the Caribbean actor Bill Nighy cameos as an uncredited gallery guide.

Venice, Italy

Bringing a touch of romance to the franchise, this sanctuary for sweethearts just so happens to play a second home to a blood-sucking alien species in the 2010 episode, Vampires of Venice. You can experience the gothic romance for yourself by gliding through the city on a gondola, but you might want to think twice before dipping your digits in the waters of the Grand Canal.

Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii, Italy

This poignant location provided the setting for the 2008 story, The Fires of Pompeii, which reflected the inevitable ethical dilemmas thrust upon a time traveller. The bittersweet tale was also a conduit for the later casting of Karen Gillan as companion Amy Pond and new Doctor Peter Capaldi; both played roles in this episode.

Lanzarote, Canary Islands

Lanzarote’s Montañas del Fuego in the Martian-like landscape of Timanfaya National Park provided the perfect setting for the 1984 Doctor Who story, Planet Of Fire. Also featuring the island’s stunning beach-laden coastline, the tale introduced the bikini-clad companion of Peri Brown, a character created especially to boost the American appeal of the series. Oo-er, Master.

LEIDESPLAIN, AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands

This Dutch city plays host to a spirited space race against time as fifth Doctor Peter Davison romps around the streets of Amsterdam attempting to catch ex-Time Lord Omega before he turns into anti-matter, taking the Earth’s tulip and clog supplies with him. Why Amsterdam? It just happens to be Omega’s Earth base for operations – not a sketchy excuse for a production team holiday at all!

Spitbank Fortress, England

Filmed around the UK’s Solent, The Sea Devils episodes saw monsters causing menace around No Man’s Land Fort. Alas not currently accessible to the public while it’s being regenerated, you can still enjoy a nautical drive-by on your way to stay at neighbouring Spitbank Fort, which is now a quirky luxury hotel. Just keep your eyes peeled for holidaying turtle-humanoids.

Wookey Hole Caves, England

In 1975 while filming Revenge of the Cybermen in this allegedly haunted grotto, actress Lis Sladen had to be rescued from the caves’ waters after a speedboat stunt went awry. But this wasn’t the only doomed moment during filming; the stuntman meant to rescue her ended up in hospital and the production team’s electrician broke his leg slipping off a rock – some spooks just aren’t Doctor Who fans!

If you like the idea of cycling, but would rather cut off both arms and legs than bike up a mountain, then perhaps The Netherlands is the perfect place for you – especially if you’re also scared of traffic. The most cycle-friendly country in the world, Holland has a fantastically well-integrated network of cycle paths that make it simple for even the rawest cycling greenhorns to get around by bike, and to enjoy its under-rated and sometimes swooningly beautiful vast skies, flat pastures and huge expanses of water. If you don’t want to go far, get hold of a Dutch-style bike, gearless and with back pedal brakes or bring your own and follow the country’s network of 26 well-signposted, long-distance or LF (landelijke fietroutes) paths, which connect up the whole country so you never have to go near a main road. The Netherlands is a small country and it’s easy to cover 50km or so a day, maybe more if you’re fit enough and have a decent bike – the sit-up-and-beg Dutch variety are only really suitable for short distances. The one thing holding you back may be the wind, which can whip across the Dutch dykes and polders. But there’s nothing quite like the feeling of your first Heineken of the evening after a long day’s cycle. Tot ziens!

The Dutch motoring organization, the ANWB, publishes a series of cycle maps that covers the whole country. Bike rental costs around €32 a week.

 

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