Ten memorable London jaunts in 2016 1) The View From The Shard: I went up the Shard nine times this year, for £20.16. I may never go up again, but now I know what London looks like in all weathers. [photos] 2) Night Tube world record: On the first night, when there were only two lines up and running, I grabbed the unofficial all stations record. I believe it still stands. 3) Miglia Quadrato: A car rally round the City of London, starting at midnight and ending after dawn, hunting barely visible clues... brilliantly bonkers fun. 4) Open House: This architectural freebie is a cracker every year, and 2016 was no exception, from Crossrail to Robin Hood Gardens. [photos] 5) To the edge of London: My idea was to walk from Charing Cross to the nearest place not in London, in as near a straight line as possible. A fascinating stroll. [photos] 6) Transit of Mercury: I observed this rare astronomical phenomenon from Greenwich, Piccadilly and Hampstead - the next really good one's not until 2049. 7) Green Lanes: To understand north London, walk the full length of its longest street. 8) East London Mosque: ...and to understand another religion a little better, step inside a place of worship and speak to those inside. 9) Walking Crossrail: I followed the path of Crossrail on the surface from North Woolwich to Paddington. [photos] 10) Line of Fire: ...and I also followed the perimeter of the Great Fire of London, 350 years on.
Ten favourite Out-of-London destinations 1) Versailles: What better on one's birthday than to take a day trip to Versailles? It would have been easier without the train strike, but the lack of crowds was fabulous. [photos] 2) Hill Topand Windermere: 2016's other extreme day out was a day trip to the Lake District, and a walk to Beatrix Potter's house. [photos] 3) Manchesterand Salford: How much of these two great cities could I see in one day? More than plenty. [photos] 4) Liverpool: Yes, it would have been nicer if it hadn't rained all day, but Merseyside's amazing in all weathers. Crosby beach was a highlight. [photos] 5) West Midlands: I rode the Midland Metro from Wolverhampton to Birmingham and checked out the culture along the way. [photos] 6) Poole,Sandbanks andBrownsea Island: A day trip to Dorset's harbourside finest (and next time it has to be Swanage). [photos] 7) Pointless: I went to Borehamwood to watch Xander and Richard record two shows... which might be on BBC1 next month. 8) Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft: Not just a delightful small museum, but also the chance to climb the South Downs afterwards. [photos] 9) Lowestoft: I'm not saying Ness Point's a great tourist destination, but the easterly desolation was certainly memorable. [photos] 10) King's Lynn: The only town where I've ever watched the Mayor and civic dignitaries board dodgems in the main square and gleefully bash one another. [photos]