Smart travel tips • April 2017
Who said a long layover between connecting flights had to mean duty-free window shopping or draining your phone battery streaming Netflix? Skip out of the terminal, says travel writer Ed Peters, and play tourist for a few hours. Just be sure to keep an eye on the time…
Journey time: 10 minutes by taxi from Heathrow Terminal 5
Europe’s classic car museum (pictured) is home to more than 200 vehicles, and rather than just being a mecca for petrolheads, it’s a celebration of design, history and culture. There’s a brace of Batmobiles, Starsky and Hutch’s Ford Grand Torino, Mr Bean’s Mini, and glorious icons like the Lamborghini Countach – and for £199 an American Muscle Car is yours for the day.
Journey time: 30 minutes by taxi and ferry from Changi Airport
More or less at the back door of one of Asia’s slickest airports, the island of Pulau Ubin is 10 square km of rural idyll. Rent a bike, head off on a hiking trail, explore the Jawa Wetlands – this is life in the slow lane, amid gently waving coconut palms and long-abandoned rubber plantations that recall the Singapore of half a century ago.
Journey time: 40 minutes by taxi from Chek Lap Kok Airport
Part of the pleasure of an excursion to Tai O, one of Hong Kong’s few remaining authentic fishing villages, is the journey there and back, which winds up and down steep verdant hills and past long sandy beaches. Much of the photogenic village is built on stilts, and seafood naturally dominates restaurant menus, while the former police station, which dates back to 1902, has been turned into a heritage hotel.
Journey time: 35 minutes by taxi from JFK Airport
Spread over 21 hectares, BBG puts the ‘oh’ in urban oasis. There are numerous themed sections – Japanese, rocks, herbs, a daffodil hill and a bluebell wood – and whatever is in bloom is clearly signposted. Sign up for one of the free guided tours or, better still, let your nose and eyes guide your meanderings.
Journey time: 90 minutes by road from O.R. Tambo Airport
Unesco really didn’t need to slap on a World Heritage label here – it was blindingly obvious already. It’s by far and away the richest hominin site yet discovered, containing almost half the world’s human ancestor fossils, which date back some three million years. The area also abounds in rare animal, bird and plant life – and the Bushbabies Monkey Sanctuary is practically guaranteed to fill up a camera’s memory stick.
All travel times are traffic dependent