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Wanderlust Travel Magazine (UK) - - Masterclass Instant Expert -

Need a re­lax­ing break from the thrum of Lon­don life? Want to con­quer the frigid peaks of Kil­i­man­jaro with­out col­laps­ing? Fancy bik­ing around Ire­land’s coast? Our ex­perts can help...

Q AI want to get away from Lon­don for the day to re­lax – but where should I go?

Jes­sica Peg­gram, via email

The sea­side is the per­fect place to re­lax, as long as you choose your des­ti­na­tion wisely.

Deal, in Kent, is an ideal spot for a grown-up, stress-free break: charm­ing, eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble by train and with a fine se­lec­tion of pubs. The com­pact town cen­tre re­sem­bles a film set, with rows of Ge­or­gian houses and fish­er­men’s cot­tages lead­ing to a shin­gle beach lined with boats. The thriv­ing high street is per­fect for a spot of aim­less mooching, or you could take an easy, scenic stroll along the Saxon Shore Way to Kings­down and the beach-side Zet­land Arms.

Thor­pe­ness, Suf­folk, of­fers a dose of com­fort­ing nos­tal­gia, with quirky build­ings (most no­tably the tow­er­ing House in the Clouds), a windmill and a pic­turesque boat­ing lake, the Meare. Ev­ery­thing is within walk­ing dis­tance of the beach, and the pace is de­light­fully slow.

For a com­plete change from the big city, head fur­ther along the Suf­folk coast to Dun­wich. Spend the af­ter­noon on the beach here, tucked be­hind the dunes; apart from a swim or a trudge on the shin­gle, there’s bliss­fully lit­tle to do. Fish and chips can be had at the Flora Tea­rooms in the car park be­hind the beach.

Of course, you may just want miles of sand, in which case head for Cam­ber in East Sus­sex, or West Wit­ter­ing in West Sus­sex – but avoid high sea­son, when everyone has the same idea.

Sarah Guy, au­thor of Ebury Press’ Lon­don On Sea: 50 Cap­i­tal Days Out on the Coast

QI’d love to climb Kil­i­man­jaro but I’m ner­vous about get­ting al­ti­tude sick­ness and not mak­ing it to the top. Do you have any tips?

Gra­ham Vaughan, via email

AAlti­tude sick­ness, or acute moun­tain sick­ness (AMS), oc­curs be­cause your body is un­able to take in suf­fi­cient oxy­gen at high al­ti­tudes. As a re­sult, you start to feel ill. Typ­i­cal symp­toms in­clude headaches, nau­sea and dif­fi­culty breath­ing, though if it is not treated then much more se­ri­ous com­pli­ca­tions – and even death – can quickly oc­cur. There are seven golden rules for as­cend­ing Kil­i­man­jaro safely and suc­cess­fully. Walk­ing slowly is the first. Em­u­late the de­lib­er­ate, care­ful tread of an el­derly, cau­tious ele­phant or a jaunty tor­toise. Take as long as

you can on the as­cent – six days min­i­mum, seven is bet­ter and eight days is best. Drink plenty and aim for at least three litres of water a day and also eat well. Don’t worry, it’s very un­likely you’ll gain weight on your trek, so tuck in! If it is at all pos­si­ble, try and ac­cli­ma­tise to thin­ner oxy­gen lev­els by climb­ing up to high al­ti­tude be­fore you ar­rive at Kil­i­man­jaro.

Con­sider tak­ing Di­amox as well. This ‘al­ti­tude won­der drug’ wasn’t ac­tu­ally de­vel­oped to com­bat AMS but it does seem to have a pos­i­tive ef­fect on many climbers suf­fer­ing from it. Have a chat with your GP about whether you should take it on your climb. Fi­nally, choose your tour com­pany care­fully. My book re­views the trekking agen­cies. Henry St­ed­man, au­thor of Trail­blazer’s Kil­i­man­jaro – The Trekking Guide to Africa’s High­est Moun­tain guide­book

QI’ve just got into bikepack­ing. What’s a good route in Ire­land for a rel­a­tive new­comer? Ste­wart Fraser, via email

AIre­land has great op­tions for bikepack­ing new­bies. Your choice of routes will de­pend on how far you want to go, how you will get to and from the route, and what you want to see.

One of my favourite cir­cu­lar routes is to start at Sligo, on the north-west coast, and then fol­low the coast­line west and south to Achill Is­land. Sligo has wide, open beaches, while Achill has stun­ning moun­tain and cliff scenery. Then you can head back in­land to Sligo via the lakes around Fox­ford and the slopes of the Ox Moun­tains.

The to­tal dis­tance will be around 470km, a good six-day ride for a new­comer, and the hills start a few days in. There’s a good mix of ac­com­mo­da­tion along the way. Sligo also has a reg­u­lar train ser­vice to Dublin, al­though you must book bike spa­ces.

If you don’t need a cir­cu­lar route, you can con­tinue south along the coast from Achill and push on along the Wild At­lantic Way to West­port (375km, five days from Sligo) and through Con­nemara to Gal­way city (630km in to­tal, nine or ten days). Tom Cooper, au­thor of Cicerone’s Cy­cling the Wild At­lantic Way and West­ern Ire­land guide­book

Got a hot travel ques­tion? Email fromtheroad@wan­der­lust.co.uk and we’ll ask our ex­perts

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