The Imperial palaces of Peterhof and Tsarskoe Selo, half an hour to an hour outside the city, are both splendid day-trips. Although entering the palaces is increasingly expensive, you can slip away from the crowds into the surrounding parks. As you leave St Petersburg on the bus, look out for the awe-inspiring war monument to Leningrad’s World War II sacrifice, and Lenin “hailing a taxi” near Finland station.

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