TEN WAYS TO EXTEND THE SUMMER

THE shortlist
Click to follow
The Independent Culture
IN LONDON ...

The Temperate Houses, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (0181 332 5922). Take your mind off the forthcoming cold snap, in the temperate plant houses heated to tropical levels to make the palm trees feel at home. Open 9.30am to 5.30pm daily; admission pounds 4.00 adults; pounds 2.00 children and concessions. Free for under fives.

Royal Docks Waterski Club, King George V Dock, London E16 (0171-511 2000). It's illegal to waterski on the Thames, but there is plenty of room in the disused Royal Docks, and the water is still warm. Beginner's sessions cost pounds 20, all equipment and qualified instruction provided, subsequent sessions cost pounds 15 per tow, pounds 8 for members. Membership costs pounds 160 per year. The centre is open Tuesday to Sunday.

The Water Palace, 619 Purley Way, Croydon (0181-688 2090). London's biggest indoor swimming bath. Open 10am-9pm daily. Admission pounds 5 adults, pounds 4 children before 6pm; after 6pm, pounds 3 adults, pounds 2 children and concessions, free for under fives.

Jason's, opposite 60 Bloomfield Road, Little Venice, W9 (0171-286 6752). This Mauritian fish restaurant serves fresh perfectly-cooked seafood in a bewildering variety of ways. The location, by the side of the canal, is just foreign enough to transport you temporarily to some foreign fishing port, although the prices may keep your feet on the ground. Best value is the set lunch.

The Tanning Shop. With over 120 franchises, the Tanning Shop chain is the largest of its kind. Using Hex units, rather than the traditional sunbeds, is a more hygienic and cool way to tan. Six minutes is equivalent to 20 minutes of regular frying. For details of your nearest branch, phone 0171-493 0904.

Centre Parcs holiday villages (01623 872300). There are three branches, Sherwood Forest, Elvedon Forest in Suffolk and Longleat. Resorts in a forest with all-weather facilities in constant sub-tropical conditions. Around pounds 265 for a weekend for a two-bedroom villa.

Torquay. Renowned for its warm clear sea and sandy beaches, with a seafront lined with waving palms, Torquay is rightly known as the English Riviera. Apart from the promenade, attractions include the picturesque village of Cockington, an aquarium and the English Riviera centre, housing a wave pool and a flume. For details, contact Torquay Tourism on 01803 297428.

The Oasis Centre, Swindon (01793 533404) is a leisure pool extraordinare, with water cannon, wave machine, slides, fitness studio, solarium, and all kinds of sports, indoor and out. Water facilities open Mon-Thurs 12.00noon-8.15pm, Friday open till 9.30pm, Saturday-Sunday 10.00am-7.00pm. Centre open 9.30am-10.30pm.

Blackpool. Knot up your hankies and take to a deckchair. There's still time to take advantage of the magnificent pleasure beach, amusements and kiss-me-quick hats, plus make a trip to the not-quite-Eiffel Tower. For details phone Blackpool Tourism on 01253 21623.

Pease Bay, Berwickshire, is Britain's answer to Surfer's Paradise. For most of the year, men and women brave the cold out on the waves. For braver souls, Sandside Beach near Thurso offers even rougher surf.

Comments