First stop is balmy Beijing, the global powerhouse that buzzes with the energy of 22 million people. Centuries-old temples jostle for space with gleaming skyscrapers, while wooden doors painted dragon’s blood red hint at the ancient courtyards that lie within. Walk the Great Wall, follow in the footsteps of emperors to the Forbidden City and delve into China’s fascinating food scene. Next, grab your surfboard for a break in Biarritz, where Atlantic waves lap five magnificent beaches. Historically it was a favourite with Queen Victoria and Napoleon III, now it blends 19th-century elegance with breezy surfer chic. Promenade along the Grande Plage, where stripy tents provide shade from the Basque rays, before watching the sunset with a glass of txakoli and a pintxo or two. On to Glasgow, Scotland’s creative capital, whose gritty underground art scene flourishes alongside cultural stalwarts such as Scottish Opera and the Kelvingrove Gallery. Once home to architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, today its grand Victorian mansions house live music venues, quirky shops, galleries and a host of avant-garde restaurants, which make the most of some excellent local seafood.