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Kate Simon

Kate Simon is the Travel Correspondent of The Independent and The Independent on Sunday. She was Travel Editor of The Independent on Sunday from 2005 to 2011. Kate is also the co-founder of Little Black Book Creative (www.lbbcreative.co.uk), which offers editorial services, media relations consultancy and travel-writing training.

Get set for summer: Fast

Follow in the tyre tracks of the two-wheel racers of the Giro d'Italia along the Antrim coast. To celebrate the cycling grand tour choosing Belfast as its starting point last weekend, Hastings Hotels (028 9047 1066; hastingshotels.com) has a deal entitled "Ride the Road they Rode", supplying bike hire and maps of the tour for guests to follow, as well as accommodation in the newly refurbished Ballygally Castle, which was on the race route. The price is £77.50 per adult per night, £30 per child aged four to 12 years, including accommodation, route map and afternoon tea. Bike hire costs £25 per bike, per day.

Get set for summer: Windy

Newbie sailors can now try a taste of life on the ocean wave on a skippered gulet along Turkey's Lycian Coast. Exclusive Escapes (020 8605 3500; exclusiveescapes.co.uk) has launched a new mini-cruise where you can mix days at sea with further nights at a boutique hotel. For example, a week with two nights' full board on a skippered, three-cabin gulet and five nights' B&B at the Dionysos Estate costs from £1,050 per person, based on two to six sharing, including return flights from Heathrow or Manchester to Dalaman and transfers.

Get set for summer: Far

Scramble up the world's highest sand dunes and look cheetahs in the eye on a trip to the African bush. The seven-night "Namibia Family Adventure" with G Adventures (0844 272 0000; gadventures.com) also includes a trip to Walvis Bay, to see wild flamingos, and game drives in the Etosha National Park where there's elephants, lions and antelope. This small group tour (maximum 15) is led by guide, with accommodation at a mix of hotels, lodges and camps. It costs £1,549 per person and departs Windhoek on 10 August. Excludes flights.

10 Great British spring breaks

Daffodils, blossom and lambs are all starting to make an appearance – so it's time to shake off winter and get outdoors, says Kate Simon

Summer Guide 2013: Beaches

Explore the coral beaches and white-sand shores of Connemara in Ireland on a new sea-kayaking adventure. The guided ocean trek is based on the tales of Granuaile, a 16th-century Gaelic pirate queen. It traces her route along the Atlantic coast from Connemara to Achill Island, staying at waterfront B&Bs along the way. The price is €1,250 (£1,058)pp, based on two sharing, with Wilderness Ireland (01479 420020; wildernessireland.com), including six nights' B&B, some meals, equipment hire and the services of a guide. Travel to Connemara costs extra. Departs 1 June and 7 September.

Summer Guide 2013: Bikes

Freewheel along the Via Francigena in Italy, an old pilgrimage route to Rome, on a 172-mile tour that links Parma and Lucca. Let an E-bike take the strain, firing up its electric engine when you need a little help on those hills. The week's tour costs £641pp, based on two sharing, through Freedom Treks (01273 224066; freedomtreks.co.uk), including B&B, two dinners, luggage transfers and route maps. International travel costs extra.

Summer Guide 2013: Islands

Take your pick of seven new properties on the Greek Islands available through Ionian Villas (01935 477196; ionian-villas.co.uk). "Artist's Villa" on Paxos, built in 2011, has three bedrooms and sits on a hilltop surrounded by olive groves overlooking Gaios port. It costs from £1,330 for a week's rental. Meanwhile, two-bedroom "Morpheus", a newly completed property on Antipaxos, is one of only four villas with swimming pools that are available to rent on the island. It costs from £1,120 for a week, including rental of a Suzuki 4x4. International travel costs are not included.

Summer Guide 2013: Forests

Thrills in the tree-tops are guaranteed for adults and children who take on the high-rope and zip-wire challenges on an Adventure Day at one of the centres run by PGL, pictured (0844 371 2424; pgl.co.uk). The day package of activities costs £40pp and is available at various PGL centres around the UK.

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Summer Guide 2013: Rivers

Float down the Rhine in Germany on a 10-day cruise on the MS Algeria with Shearings (0844 824 6351; shearings.com). You can admire the Unesco-listed Rhine Gorge from the comfort of the boat. The journey includes excursions such as wine-tasting in Boppard, a walking tour of Koblenz and a trip to the castle at Lahnstein. The price of £879pp, based on two sharing, includes return coach travel from regional stops around England, a week's full-board cruise and two nights' half-board hotel accommodation en route.

The best rail trips in Europe

Let the train take the strain, says Kate Simon. From luxury railway trips to classic British days out, there are plenty of options to choose from

Traveller's Guide: Creative holidays

They're the new 'relaxing escape' – the chance to learn a skill, practise a hobby or start a life-changing project. Kate Simon finds ways to make the most of your time off

Traveller's Guide: Grenada

This tiny Caribbean spice island offers visitors plenty of historical and cultural diversions, plus some dazzling beaches. Pull up a sunlounger