Last year, everyone went to London and Gangnam got discovered. Where will the world be going this year?
1. Scotland, United Kingdom
Scotland has seen fit to dub 2013 the "Year of Natural Scotland,"and what better time to do it?
Anyone who saw the 2012 James Bond thriller "Skyfall" walked away wishing they too could race through Scotland's dramatic countryside and hide out in its misty highlands (granted, while not being pursued by a homicidal Javier Bardem).
Of many outdoor events and special deals planned around the Year of Natural Scotland, highlights include: the Dumfries & Galloway Wildlife Festival 2013 (March 29-April 14); Heb Celt 2013 music festival (July 17-20); Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight (September 7-22); and, of course, The Open Championship golf tournament (July 14-21).
Published in CNNTravel.com. Copyright CNN. Photo: VisitScotland.
In pursuit of polo
A prestigious academy in Britain lets you experience the sport of kings. Lara Brunt takes the reins.
Horsemen thunder past in a blur of brilliant white breeches and polished riding boots. With an arching swing, the front runner brings his mallet down hard, and with a crack of wood sends the ball soaring through the goalposts.
For those seeking a quintessential English experience, the spectacle of a polo match played out on the verdant fields of Guards Polo Club near Ascot – a favourite with the Royal family – is difficult to beat.
Steeped in history, the aristocratic sport is not for the faint hearted. “It’s like rugby on horseback,” says professional polo player James White. “But when played well, polo is incredibly elegant and fluid.”
Published in South China Morning Post Style magazine. Copyright South China Morning Post. Photo: Glen Pearson.
The new smacking controversy
A politician has called for the laws on smacking to be relaxed, while the NSPCC maintains it should be banned altogether. Who’s right?
One subject bound to get parents talking is smacking. In England, The Children Act 2004 says parents are allowed to smack their offspring as long as they don’t cause ‘reddening of the skin’. Any hitting that causes bruising, swelling, cuts, grazes or scratches can result in five years in jail.
Many campaigners have long called for a total ban. “We believe very strongly there are alternatives to smacking that are much more effective,” says Chris Cloke, head of child protection awareness at NSPCC.
But politician David Lammy, MP for Tottenham, wants the laws to be relaxed and believes the government shouldn’t impose on how parents discipline their children. “It’s up to parents to determine the way they want to help their children navigate boundaries and how they define right and wrong,” he says.
Published in Practical Parenting & Pregnancy UK. Copyright Immediate Media.
If you’re tired of the treadmill, check out these quirky keep-fit classes.
Tying to keep the ‘Heathrow injection’ at bay but lost the motivation to hit the gym? There are plenty of ways to keep fit in the capital, but if you’re looking for something a little more leftfield, try one of these wacky workouts instead.
You may not be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, but a few parkour, or freerunning, classes could see you hurdling across London with the best of them. Freerunning is basically urban acrobatics in which people scale walls, jump from building to building and use the city landscape to perform stunts and tricks.
Parkour Generations encourages beginners to master the basic principles in one of their outdoor classes before honing skills in an indoor class.
Published in TNT Magazine UK. Copyright TNT Magazine UK.
A look at Britain's tallest building and the world's other high achievers.
London's skyline is rapidly transforming as its latest landmark skyscraper, the Shard, takes the title of Britain's tallest building. Towering above London Bridge train station on the south bank of the Thames, the Shard has already outstripped Canary Wharf's One Canada Square, previously the city's tallest building at 235 metres.
It will eventually rise to 310 metres, making it the tallest building in the European Union when it is completed in May next year.
The pyramid-like, glass structure was designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano. The Shard promises to be a ''vertical city'', with offices, restaurants, a five-star hotel, a spa and some of the swankiest apartments in the capital (shardlondonbridge.com). The 87-storey tower will also feature a public viewing platform on its 72nd floor, which is expected to attract more than a million visitors a year.
Published in The Age. Copyright Fairfax Media..
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