PRODUCED BY THE INDEPENDENT FOR THE NATIONAL LOTTERY

49+1 ways to think lucky and be positive

Dreams really can come true. And to prove it, we've compiled an awe-inspiring selection of 50 sure-fire, luck bending incentives that'll keep you on the positive side of the straight-and-narrow


1. KITE SURFING

Sayonara surfing (so last century), hello kite boarding. Guaranteed to pump adrenaline, this extreme watersport entails flying over and above the waves while balanced on a surfboard powered by a large kite. And where's more appropriate to learn this thrilling activity than the home of surfing, Hawaii? Kailua Bay, protected by a reef, has miles of white sandy beach and onshore winds, a perfect location for mastering this relatively new sport. Kailua Sailboards offer a variety of comprehensive training programmes that cover all the basics of take-offs, landings, figure-of-eights and other flying manoeuvres, plus ample water time to practice these new tricks. Lifejacket, helmet, harness and kites are provided - just bring a swimsuit.

Where: Kailua Sailboards and Kayaks, 130 Kailua Road, Kailua, Oahu Hawaii 96734 USA (Tel: 00 1 808 262 2555; www.kailuasailboards.com)

When: Year round

How much: US $120-$650

2. CHECK INTO THE ICE HOTEL IN LAPLAND

Don't forget to pack the thermal undies for this winter weekend break in Sweden's Lapland, 200km north of the Arctic Circle, because the Ice Hotel is just that, built from blocks of ice. It's a wintry fairyland with hotel reception, hall of pillars, art exhibition, cinema, hotel rooms, bar and glasses, all fashioned from frozen water. Each spring it melts away and is rebuilt the following October with different guest artists invited to create exclusive ice art. Book the deluxe suite and sleep on a special bed of snow and ice, covered by reindeer skins, in a thermal sleeping bag (provided). In the morning, a cup of hot lingonberry juice will wake you up before a welcome sauna. Unforgettable.

Where: Ice Hotel, 981 91 Jukkasjärvi, Sweden (00 46 98 066 800; www.icehotel.com)

When: Winter season

How much: Ice Hotel deluxe suite sleeps 2, 6000 SEK (approx) £450 per night; Cabin sleeps 2, 2500 SEK (approx £180) per night

3. EAT A HEALTHY DIET

Tips for eating healthily without a punishing regime: eat a variety of foods regularly including plenty of fruits, vegetables and complex carbohydrates; eat moderate portions - rather than eliminating completely, reduce certain foods; drink plenty of water; maintain an optimum body weight. Food can regulate your mood - for instance, carbs transport tryptophan into the brain and this increases serotonin - a mood enhancer that controls positive outlook, pleasure, anxiety, panic, arousal, pain, and sleep behaviour. The more concentrated the serotonin is in the brain, the happier a person feels. That fleeting joy brought on by cramming a choccie bar is caused by a quick surge of serotonin. For a slow regular release of serotonin, eat complex carbohydrates such as porridge.

4. OUR DYNAMIC EARTH, EDINBURGH

Be whisked back in time to the Big Bang, come face to face with a dinosaur, have your limbs jumbled about by a volcano, explore a tropical rainforest and touch a real iceberg. These are a taster of activities to participate in at Our Dynamic Earth. Children in particular love this museum in Edinburgh's newly-developed Holyrood corner near the Scottish Parliament. It's a living memorial to local lad James Hutton, recognised as the father of modern geology, and is designed with the help of interactive, wide-screen and virtual technologies to explain in an entertaining, but educational manner the processes that shape the planet. Our Dynamic Earth was the UK's first Millennium Commission Lottery project, receiving £15m in funding.

Where: Holyrood Road, Edinburgh EH8 (0131 550 7800; www.dynamicearth.co.uk)

When: Nov-Mar, Wed-Sun, 10am-5pm; Apr-Oct, daily, 10am-5pm (Jul-Aug until 6pm)

How much: Adult £8.95, Child £5.45, under-5's free, family of 4 £24.50, family of 5 £28.50

5. DO SOME CHARITY WORK

Somebody out there needs you, whether it's working in your local Oxfam shop, walking Rover at the dog shelter or visiting someone who is housebound. Volunteers make a priceless contribution of time to organisations that may not be able to function without them, and it has personal positive benefits, too. Volunteering can be rewarding and interesting, give a sense of purpose, teach new skills and is a way of meeting people. Some companies have volunteering schemes and encourage employees to join. Time Banks are a fantastic concept where people deposit volunteer time in an account by giving practical help and support to others. If they need something doing themselves but don't know how, they can withdraw time from someone who does.

Where: Volunteering England (0845 305 6979; www.volunteering.org.uk); Volunteer Development Scotland (01786 449 285; www.vds.org.uk); Volunteering Wales ( www.volunteering-wales.net); Volunteering N. Ireland (028 9023 6100; www.volunteering-ni.org); Time Banks (01452 541 439; www.timebanks.co.uk)

6. HOT AIR BALLOON SAFARI IN TANZANIA

Cue the theme music to Out of Africa as the balloon floats almost silently over the Seronera River Valley of Tanzania's Serengeti plain, spying on resident wildlife that includes lion, leopard, hippo, buffalo, giraffe, antelope, including the mind-bogglingly vast wildebeest migration (usually, but not guaranteed, through this area late May/early June and returning late October/early November). The balloon's burners are "stealth and whisper", making less noise and intruding as little as possible into the environment. After the flight, for a real Meryl Streep finale, a full breakfast prepared in the bush, is served by stewards dressed in traditional Swahili costume on a wooden table with china and linen.

Where: Balloon Safaris, The Old Rectory, The Shallows, Saltford BS31 3EU (01225 873 756; www.balloonsafaris.com)

When: Year round

How much: US $499 per person

7. RELAX FOR A WEEK AT A SPA HOTEL IN THE SEYCHELLES

Picture the idyllic scene. A private island paradise completely surrounded by the warm waters of a crystal clear turquoise ocean. The Island lies at the very heart of a stunning Marine National Park, that feels like it's situated more than a million miles away from the noise and stress of the city. Frangipane perfumes the air and hibiscus and bougainvillea colour the scene with a rich swathe of red, orange and pink. Some 87 individual villas are spread over 1km of white beaches flanked by palm trees - utter heaven. But there's more - Sainte Anne Resort also has a Clarins spa in a setting so sublime it could actually be a dream. Treatments include balneotherapy - mineral baths to enhance the immune system and activate self-healing; massage in the outdoor treatment room; thalassotherapy - heated sea-water is a stress-buster and helps regenerate the body, and afterwards, there is a beautiful serenity garden to sit and simply 'be'.

Where: Sainte Anne Resort and Spa, Saint Anne Island, Seychelles (00 2 48 292 000; or book through La Joie De Vivre in the UK (01483-272 379; www.lajoiedevivre.co.uk)

When: Year round

How much: From £2,696 per person for a 7-night half-board stay, spa treatments extra

8. EXERCISE REGULARLY

No doubt about it, exercise makes us feel good and that's down to the endorphins released when we exert ourselves. Endorphins are neurotransmitters that send messages to the central nervous system. Secreting endorphins leads to feelings of euphoria, modulation of appetite, enhancement of the immune response and the release of hormones. With high levels of endorphins we feel less pain and fewer negative effects of stress. Other ways to stimulate secretion of endorphins are meditating, massage and acupuncture. And when we exercise, the lymphatic system is stimulated to destroy invading disease, and the endocrine system that regulates mood. Phew! All that - just from taking a brisk walk, or running up the stairs at work.

9. CERAMICA, STOKE-ON-TRENT

The Potteries' glorious contribution to Britain's heritage is recognised in Ceramica, a museum underwritten by over £2m of investment from the Millennium Commission Lottery Project Fund. Ceramica is housed in the Victorian Old Town Hall of Burslem, the mother town of the Potteries. Interactivity is emphasised in Bizarreland, an educational area where visitors learn about clay and how it becomes china, and are invited to turn their own pot on a wheel (banish any thoughts of that scene in Ghost - this is a family show!); and in The Pavilions feel the heat inside the Bottle Oven and have a go at firing ceramics. In addition to hands-on activities, there is a stunning display of examples of the potter's art in the Glass Tower.

Where: Market Place, Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent ST6 (01782 832029; www.ceramicauk.com)

When: Mon-Sat, 9.30am-5pm; Sun, 10.30am-4.30pm

How much: Adult £3.95, child £2.75, under-4s free, family of 4 £11

10. VOLUNTEERING ABROAD

Commuting at rush hour getting to you? If you're a lawyer, how about spending a couple of years as an international law advisor in Vanuatu, a string of idyllic South Pacific islands. That's one post currently advertised by Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO). Another is product designer for a local business co-operative in Bangladesh training local artisans and helping to develop new designs and a marketing strategy. And if you've ever wondered who election monitors in countries like Sierra Leone are, the majority are volunteers through the United Nations Volunteers website, where vacancies for peacekeeping operations and humanitarian relief are open. A Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) qualification is a useful skill for volunteers and may help land the perfect job.

Where: Voluntary Service Overseas (020-8780 7200; www.vso.org.uk); TEFL courses - ITC (0845 644 5464; www.tefl.co.uk); Intervol ( www.intervol.org.uk)

11. GRAB THE HANG-GLIDER

Have you ever dreamed of being able to soar like a bird? Hang-gliding is the next best thing, and journeys of 700km reaching heights of 3,000m have been recorded. So, for a bird's-eye view of lush terrain around Nelson at the top of New Zealand's south island, take a trip to Middle Earth and learn a new skill courtesy of Hang Gliding New Zealand. After experiencing this exciting and wonderful activity you'll never look at a hill without wanting to launch yourself off it again. Idyllic alpine lakes and rivers, national parks, coastline and horticultural land around Nelson form a collection of picture postcard views when seen from on high, and though gliders will be reluctant to come down to earth, the consolation is enjoying it again from the ground.

Where: Hang Gliding New Zealand Ltd, 52 Apple Valley Rd, Upper Moutere 7152 (Tel 00 64 0800 212 359; www.hanggliding.co.nz)

When: Year round - weather permitting

How much: NZ$800-$2500

12. TAKE A FIRST-CLASS TRIP ROUND THE WORLD

Spin the globe - where would you like to go? Maybe it would be easier to choose where not to visit on a round-the-world trip. How about circumnavigating the earth via the southern hemisphere? Go in the British winter and enjoy summer beyond the equator. Or how about flying from London to Latin America and visiting the great countries of South America, such as Argentina, Brazil and Chile. You could also stop off at the Galapagos Islands and see what Darwin saw? Or perhaps a trip to Australia, making sure to travel the Princes Highway, a road that spans the entire continent around its perimeter is more your style? Touch down in heavenly New Zealand, a delight from top to bottom, then set off to Africa for an unforgettable visit. Wherever you choose to visit make sure that you travel first class all the way.

Where: Trailfinders is expert at such itineraries ( www.trailfinders.com)

How much: From £6,500 first class airfare - depending on countries visited

13. HAVE MORE SEX

Sex is good for the soul - it's official! Sexual activity releases those magical endorphins into our nervous systems to give a pervasive sense of well-being and happiness, so that we are less stressed and are happier all-round. Recent studies show that levels of endorphins can increase by up to 200 per cent from the beginning to the end of love-making. Another happy chemical that affects us is oxytocin. This chemical is released during sexual orgasm in both men and women and induces a variety of physiological processes, including bonding, trust, befriending and is found in high levels in couples falling in love. Being sexually desired is great for your well-being and self-esteem and there's nothing better than good, safe sex to give you a sunny and positive outlook to life. So forget drastic plastic surgery and expensive moisturisers, researchers have found that people who have sex four-to-five-times a week look at least ten years younger than a person who has sex twice a week. So, the answer is, more sex please, we're British.

14. MUNCASTER CASTLE, RAVENGLASS, CUMBRIA

Thanks to a lottery grant of £2.6m from the Millennium Commission, Muncaster Castle, has been transformed from a crumbling structure into one of the country's most popular visitor attractions. In the shadow of Scafell Pike and surrounded by acres of wild gardens, including a Himalayan Garden, it is home to the World Owl Trust. There are more than 200 owls of over 54 different species, and the Trust holds regular "Meet the Birds" events. Meadow Vole Maze, made of 2.5-metre-tall grass, gives a fascinating and revealing insight into the world of wildlife and is designed to make conservation fun and should be especially appealing to children. For a more hair-raising experience, head for the castle itself, one of Britain's most haunted, with a host of mysterious and unexplained paranormal activities.

Where: Ravenglass, Cumbria CA18 ( www.muncaster.co.uk)

When: Grounds daily 10.30am-6pm, castle Sun-Fri 12pm-5pm

How much: Adult £9, child £6, under-5's free, family of 4 £25

15. BE A TRUE FOOTIE FANATIC

Remember the television advertisement for Remington Razors featuring the late Victor Kiam? He loved the company so much he bought it. Well, lottery winner Mick Maplesden, who won £4,060,995 in 1997, did exactly the same thing when he became chairman of his beloved football club, Hastings Town FC, and appeared in a National Lottery advert saying, "I like football so much, I bought the club." In a selfless effort to give something back to his local community, Mick has helped set up a new charity, 1066 Arrow Appeals, which supports good causes in the Hastings area. Mick used his football connections to organise a special charity match between a team of celebrities, and members of the 1966 World Cup winning squad and ex-England footballers. Mick is a great ambassador to the game and his community. He is also an example of how The National Lottery helps people to realise their dreams, but also offers the opportunity to help others.

16. HELP SAVE THE WORLD

...and do it without even leaving the house. Buy an acre of rainforest through the World Land Trust for a donation of £25; £150 will buy enough forest in Ecuador to save 1,500 large trees. Since 1989, the trust has saved over 300,000 acres of threatened wildlife habitat worldwide. You could also adopt an endangered animal through the World Wildlife Fund for as little as £2.50 a month. Another way is to buy ethical gifts or virtual ones via the imaginative Oxfam Unwrapped service. For something more hands-on, volunteer for an environmental organisation such as Greenpeace or Friends of the Earth.

Where: Greenpeace (020-7865 8100; www.greenpeace.org.uk); Friends of the Earth (020-7490 1555; www.foe.co.uk); Woodland Trust (01476 581135 www.woodland-trust.org.uk); World Land Trust (01986 874 422 www.worldlandtrust.org); World Wildlife Fund (01483 426444; www.wwf.org.uk); Ethical Gifts ( www.ethicalgifts.co.uk); Oxfam Unwrapped ( www.oxfamunwrapped.com)

17. LEARN HOW TO FLY IN ARIZONA

You're bound to dream of having a private plane if you win the lottery and it makes sense to be able to fly it. Perhaps you'd choose a Learjet like many of the stars? In order to be issued with a private-pilot licence, trainees must have a minimum of 45-hours flying experience. Arizona, with its desert climate and vast empty spaces, is home to several flight schools that offer a similar service, so the choice is yours. Training planes are often Cessna Skyhawks (C-172), and the course includes 45 hours of flight time, instruction, ground school, study material and the examiner's fee. The complete process can take as little as 21 days. After you qualify and have a spare weekend, why not add a one-day single engine seaplane rating to your licence - very useful for when you decide to buy that private island.

Where: Arizona - a website search will find a selection

When: Year round

How much: Average from US$5,000

18. RENT AN ISLAND IN THE BAHAMAS

"Every island has a name because each has a soul, a heart, other properties don't have that. An island has no street number, nothing. It's different, it's magic ... ", so reads the label on the tin. For tin, read the private, 13-acre Island of Bonefish Cay and all the trimmings you'd expect for a week on a privately-rented island paradise. Luxury villas complete with opulent double-bedrooms, provide the appropriate accommodation. The main lodge provides a centre for socialising and cooling off at night after a hard day on the white sandy beach. After cocktails and a local appetiser, instruct the gourmet chef on each guest's preference for how they like their lobster and head off for the candlelit beach barbeque. We're guessing that it won't be too difficult to find a selection of 15 friends willing to keep you company.

Where: Situated in the Abacos chain of islands in the Bahamas.

When: Year round, the temperature never drops below a golden-tanningly 25 degrees Centigrade

How much: €45,000 per week. Book online at www.vladi-private-islands.de

19. LAUGH OFTEN

On average, adults laugh 15-times a day, whereas for children it is over 400. It sounds like a cliché to say "laughter is the best medicine", but scientific research has demonstrated that it is true. Studies show that laughter boosts the immune system, increases the secretion of good hormones such as endorphins, and decreases stress hormones. Laughter is like a valve, releasing tension, allowing hormone levels to return to normal thereby permitting our immune systems to work more effectively. And that aching feeling after a good belly laugh comes about because laughter is actually exercising the stomach muscles. So forget the ab-crunches - just switch on Little Britain instead or better still, go out with a group of funny friends.

20. THE DEEP, KINGSTON-UPON-HULL

The Deep is the world's only submarium - a world-class aquarium that has helped to regenerate the city of Hull. It tells the story of the world's oceans, from the beginning to the present day and visitors can journey from equatorial tropics to frozen poles and visit a coral lagoon before marvelling at the deepest depths. The world's only underwater lift transports passengers down 10 metres into the deepest aquarium tank in Europe, offering a close-up of the biggest draw - sharks. The Deep is home for Sandtiger Sharks, Wobbegongs, Zebra Sharks, White Tipped Reef Sharks, Nurse Sharks, Brown Banded Bamboo Sharks to name drop a few. Almost half of the £45m construction budget came from a Millennium Commission grant and it is money well spent.

Where: Waterfront, Kingston-upon-Hull HU1 (01482 381000; www.thedeep.co.uk)

When: Daily 10am-6pm

How much: Adult £7.50, child £5.50, under-4's free, family of 4 £23, family of 5 £26

21. MOURNE PRESERVATION TEAM

Mourne and Slieve Croob is a designated "Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty", and a candidate for Northern Ireland's first national park. Mourne Heritage Trust runs a building restoration training programme, which is aimed at stopping the demolition of traditional dwellings and protecting the area's history. Almost 50 per cent of the project's £1.4m funding came from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Over 300 people have been trained in traditional building skills and to date nine homesteads have been renovated. Many different sections of the community have been involved - architects, farmers, home owners and the long-term unemployed. There is a common sense of purpose to work towards retaining the unique characteristics of the countryside and creating a legacy of skilled craftspeople who care about preservation.

Where: Mourne Heritage Trust, Newcastle, Co. Down, Northern Ireland (028 4372 4059; www.mournelive.com)

22. DIVING ON THE GREAT BARRIER REEF

Some of the most extraordinary snorkelling and scuba diving to be found anywhere in the world is waiting on the Great Barrier Reef. For a few glorious hours, it is possible to become part of a watery realm so beautiful and welcoming that anyone who experiences it will want to try and grow gills so they don't have to return to dry land. The abundance of marine life, both animal and vegetable, will make your head spin. Even when snorkelling in the shallows there is a sense of belonging to the ocean's domain, and with scuba diving, multiply that feeling by 10. For those who want to become certified scuba divers there are numerous training facilities along Australia's tropical Pacific coast. Cairns Dive Centre offers 5-day courses split between a pool and a live-aboard boat, which is permanently moored on the outer reef. The exciting open water and adrenaline-pumping night dives are part of the training package. Unforgettable.

Where: Diving Cairns, Cairns, Queensland, 4870, Australia (00 61 7 4041 7536; .divingcairns.com.au)

When: Year round

How much: 5-day certification scuba courses from A$600

23. BUY A VESPA

Think of Italian moped-chic and what comes to mind? The Vespa. 60 years after "the wasp" first buzzed around the streets of Italy, the iconic scooter remains a design classic and symbol of fun. Little has changed aesthetically over the decades but mechanically it has been upgraded. Driving a Vespa is freedom on two wheels, especially in cities where scooters weave nifty patterns in and out of traffic, arriving at their destinations much quicker than car or public transport. Scooters are also exempt from the congestion charge. Remember Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday? They rode a Vespa. And did you know that in 1980, two Vespas completed the Paris-Dakar rally?

Where: Various dealers ( www.vespa.com)

How much: Vespa PX 125 Cost from £2000

24. GET ENOUGH SUNLIGHT

Some people become depressed during winter, when days are shorter and darker. Even the times when the country is hemmed in by thick cloud for days at a time can bring on the blues. It's a phenomenon known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Sufferers typically sleep and eat more, especially carbohydrates and sugar. But SAD can easily be fixed by a blast of bright light because it triggers a secretion in the brain of melatonin which regulates the production of most human hormones and all the healthy workings of the body that they facilitate. Ideally sunlight does the trick, but failing that, sit in a brightly lit room or invest in a light-box.

25. EUREKA!, HALIFAX

Looking for a place that will entertain the children whatever age they are? Then your Archimedes moment is about to happen courtesy of Eureka! in Halifax, a discovery museum designed especially for under-12s. None of your "Don't touch that darling" here - the exhibits at Eureka! are all hands-on. It's divided into galleries including Me and My Body, introduced by Scoot the Robot, where visitors find out how the body works; Sound Space, an interactive area where children explore the science behind sound, music and performance; and the Sound Garden, a giant sensory sound gallery for under-5s. Eureka! which received £200,000 from a Millennium Commission grant is helping to encourage community participation in sport and physical activity.

Where: Discovery Road, Halifax, West Yorkshire, HX1 (01422 330 069; www.eureka.org.uk)

When: Daily 10am-5pm

How much: Adult £6.50, child £6.50, toddler £1.95, babies free, family £27.50

26. IT'S A CIRCUS IN THERE

Grand though the Georgian Grade-1 listed St Paul's Church in Bristol is, from 1990 it stood empty and decaying. Local drug addicts and prostitutes who used its grounds caused constant problems for the community. Then, in 2004, the Churches Conservation Trust rescued it from neglect with the help of a Heritage Lottery Fund grant totalling £2.3m. With this investment, Circomedia has turned the historical space into a contemporary circus-skills training school with state-of-the-art equipment. Now cherubim and seraphim are thronging on a purpose-built permanent flying trapeze rig, and instead of pews, the church has tumble runs and a sprung dance floor. It's a valuable asset to the area with classes for young people, a complete programme of public events, and a café.

Where: St Paul's Church, Portland Square, Bristol BS2 (Circomedia, 0117 947 7288; www.circomedia.com )

27. TAKE THE WEIGHT OFF YOUR FEET

Floating around in a state of zero-gravity at 32,000 feet is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. The technical term for the whole experience is "weightlessness achieved by flying through a parabolic flight manoeuvre." The non-technical term is "floating around the fuselage of a 727 with a huge grin stuck on your face." Highly-skilled pilots push the plane along carefully-planned angles at heights between 24,000 and 32,000 feet. Diving through ten miles of airspace results in periods of weightlessness - similar to skydiving except you're caught by the padded floor of the plane when it levels off - that can last for up to a minute. The experience was also used to film sequences in the Tom Hank's film Apollo 13.

Where: Fort Lauderdale, Florida ( www.incredible-adventures.com; 00 1 941 346 2603)

When: Next flight leaves on November 19, 2005

How much: US$3938

28. BUY A SASSY SPORTS CAR

Get your motor running and head out on the highway with the roof down in a head-turning sports coupé. For an oh-so-desirable sporty model from one of the heavyweights - BMW, Mercedes, Morgan - expect to pay between £30,000 and £45,000. Alternatively, seek attention in the ultimate German marque. The Porsche Boxster is a well-established addition to the range with the 3.2S 2-door Roadster convertible costing approximately £40,000, plus extras like personalised colour. The Mercedes-Benz SLK 280 2-door Tip Auto Roadster convertible will set you back around £32,000. Morgan hand-made sports cars are built around a wooden frame. A 2-seater V6 roadster costs £35,000, which for a hand-crafted British classic is a real bargain.

Where: Various dealers and www.bmw.co.uk; www.mercedes-benz.co.uk; www.morgan-motor.co.uk

29. GET PLENTY OF SLEEP

Good sleep means good health and a sound night's sleep is often the best way to recover from illness and cope with stress. Sleeping affects a person's physical and mental well-being. Experts recommend 7-9 hours for adults, more for children. Scientists are studying a correlation between poor or insufficient sleep and a variety of diseases including hypertension, depression and diabetes - this is caused because not getting enough sleep impairs the body's ability to produce insulin. Lack of sleep can even be a harmful factor in undesirable weight loss as it affects the amount of leptin produced - this tells the body whether it has enough fat tissue or not. There a plenty of ways to improve sleep patterns including reducing caffeine and alcohol intake, and placing drops of lavender oil on the pillow in a dark room.

30. ODYSSEY, BELFAST

Odyssey on Queens Quay, Belfast, is a landmark National Lottery project that received about half of its £91m development budget from the Millennium Commission. The vast entertainment and leisure complex is the province's largest indoor venue for concerts, sports events and exhibitions, bars, restaurants and a host of other facilities. It has a 12-screen multiplex cinema, IMAX cinema, and W5 - a hands-on scientific discovery centre with 140 interactive exhibits for children. They can, for instance, listen to their own amplified heartbeat with a stethoscope and then compare it to those of a dog, whale and pigeon. There's also the opportunity to try on camouflage-capes then look in mirrors to see how invisible they are against various backgrounds.

Where: 2 Queens Quay, Belfast BT3 (028 9045 1055; www.theodyssey.co.uk; www.w5online.co.uk)

When: Depends on what venue

How much: Each venue has different rates

31. LIFE'S A BED OF ROSES

Liberty is one of the rewards that comes with a healthy bank balance and for Barbara Derry from Middlesex, winning £2.3m on The National Lottery in December 2000 meant that she could afford to retire from her managerial career to spend time with her young family. With her winnings she bought and renovated an old property and purchased a villa in Spain. After her win, Barbara didn't plan on starting a business but she was too industrious to just sit around and count her money. She now runs a floristry called Open All Flowers in Staines. "The freedom a lottery win gives you is a dream but I needed something to occupy my time. My mum is a florist and I liked the idea of being surrounded by flowers all day. I don't have much time to sit and admire them though - I work really hard and have to do a lot of paperwork."

32. BIRMINGHAM'S LAST BACK-TO-BACK COURTYARD

An important part of Birmingham's long and impressive social history has been saved in a conservation project arranged by Birmingham Conservation Trust. The Trust used a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The last courtyard of early 19th century back-to-back houses in the city has been restored to its former glory. Court 15 comprises three pairs of back-to-backs, with a terrace of blind-back houses and communal toilet and washing facilities arranged around a central courtyard. Now administered by the National Trust, four of the houses are open to visitors, each representing a different decade - 1840s, 1870s, 1920s and 1970s, and offers a peek into how life has changed over the past 160 years. Over half of the £1.87m that was needed to make the restoration a reality came from The National Lottery.

Where: 50-54 Inge Street/55-63 Hurst Street, Birmingham, B5 (0121 666 7671; www.nationaltrust.org.uk)

When: Year round Tue-Sun 10am-5pm

How much: Adult £4, child £2, family £12

33. TRY A COMPLEMENTARY THERAPY TREATMENT

Acupuncture, Shiatsu and Reiki are all well-known complementary therapies. Less familiar perhaps is the Bowen Technique, a pain-free manipulative procedure, which uses gentle-tissue manipulation to trigger the body into balancing and realigning to its optimum structure. It stimulates blood and lymph circulation and unblocks energy pathways that facilitate the body's healing power. And the non-invasive nature of Bowen means everyone can be safely treated. Ailments that benefit from this technique are back pain, asthma, ME, migraine, hayfever, repetitive strain injury, and countless others because it is the body itself doing the healing - therapists treat the person not the problem. Now that's what we call patient power! Maintaining a healthy body promotes a positive outlook and promotes a feeling of well-being and that makes everything in the garden rosy.

Where: European College of Bowen Studies, 38 Portway, Frome, Somerset, BA11

(01373 461 873; www.thebowentechnique.com)

34. BONKERS FOR CONKERS

Who could have imagined in 2001, when the Midlands coalfields were at the height of their productivity, that the area would also have a hugely popular visitor attraction packing 'em in on the site of an old colliery? Conkers is a discovery centre for children and adults with hundreds of interactive exhibits, nature and sculpture trails, a cycle-hire centre, an assault course, woodland canopy walk, lakeside restaurants and an adventure playground. 150,000 saplings were planted on the formerly derelict land and over a million tonnes of earth moved in to create a dramatic landscape of hills, valleys, trails and lakes. A significant amount of the development funding came from a Millennium Commission Lottery grant worth £7.2m.

Where: Rawdon Rd, Moira, Derbyshire DE12 (01283 216 633; www.visitconkers.com)

When: Daily 10am-5pm winter, 10am-6pm summer

How much: Adult £6.25, child £4.25, family of 4 £17.95

35. CHANGE YOUR HABITS

Whether it's down to superstition, a combination of family birthday numbers, or other meaningful digits, many people like to use a regular choice of numbers week after week when they buy their lottery tickets. A change can be as good as a rest and sometimes altering the habit of a lifetime will tempt fate to pick you. This advice is strongly supported by Pauline Bradley, a nursing sister who lives in Poulton-Le-Fylde, Lancashire. When a plateful of food was accidentally spilled over the lottery play slips she had already filled in, something told her to change her tactics and, on this occasion, buy Lucky Dips instead. Pauline and her husband had been playing the same numbers in The National Lottery for years, but when Pauline went about her familiar routine and visited the Post Office to purchase the tickets, a little voice told her to buy Lucky Dips instead. What a clever little voice it was too, as one of these netted her a prize of £1,481,086 in August, 2005.

36. INSTALL AN AGA

There is nothing like walking in from a cold winter's day and entering a kitchen with an Aga cooker. No wonder you're likely to find a cat curled up next to one. An Aga is the essential ingredient that can transform a house into a home. At its core is a cast-iron, heated heart. The entire cooker is an efficient energy store, transferring heat into both the oven and hotplates. It is ready to cook instantly and thermostatic control maintains consistent temperatures. High levels of insulation ensure that it uses fuel economically (from a choice of natural or propane gas, oil or electricity). Available in several models and colours, there is a cooker to suit most kitchen requirements. When it comes to finding a warm spot to lean against in winter, kick the cat out of the way and revel in the warmth of an Aga.

Where: Various dealers nationwide and online at www.aga-rayburn.co.uk

How much: From £2,500

37. NATIONAL SPACE CENTRE, LEICESTER

Human Spaceflight: Lunar Base 2025 will test your mental and physical ability to survive a long and dangerous voyage into the very heart of deep space, culminating in a 3D mission through the solar system to the ice moon Europa. This is just one of hundreds of interactive exhibits at the National Space Centre. A selection of five-themed galleries showcase space rockets, satellites and capsules, and cover topics such as Exploring the Universe and Orbiting Earth. This landmark tourist attraction received £31.8m in National Lottery funds from the Millennium Commission towards its construction budget and, on November 5th, will celebrate National Lottery Day with a host of special events. The following weekend - November 12th-13th, take the chance to meet the actors who played Boba Fett, Wicket, and Admiral Motti as a Star Wars fiesta comes to Leicester.

Where: Exploration Drive, Leicester, LE4 (0116 261 0261; www.spacecentre.co.uk)

When: Tue-Sun 10am-5pm and bank holiday Mons; and Mon during Leicestershire school hols

How much: Adult £9.95, child £7.95, toddlers free, family of 4 £30, family of 5 £36

38. INSTALL TIMBER SASH WINDOWS

Down with PVC replacement windows and up with timber-framed sash windows! The next time you walk down the street, look around - in some streets of pre-Twenties houses a majority of original windows have been lost. Luckily architectural reclaim dealers supply authentic pieces, which are often salvaged from skips or purchased from builders working on refurbishments for people who do not care for the aesthetic quality of sash windows. Companies such as the Original Box Sash Window Company manufacture and install original looking handcrafted hardwood sash and casement windows. Making the most of recent technology has meant that unlike their Victorian counterparts, the newer versions now have discreet double-glazing, sound and draft-proofed security glass and meet regulations laid down by energy management guidelines. Not only do they look elegant and save on heating bills, but they also add value to a property.

Where: Several dealers including www.boxsash.com

How much: Price depends on several factors depending on the individual house

39. NATIONAL CYCLE ROUTE

For cyclists and ramblers alike, Sustrans has become one of the most amazing organisations ever. The Bristol-based charity pioneered the National Cycle Network, which is an extensive series of signed cycling and walking routes that connects communities to schools, train and bus stations, city centres, and into the countryside. One-third of the routes are dedicated to staying traffic-free, typically running along former railway lines or canal paths. The remainder run through urban areas, along minor roads and traffic-calmed routes. The ambitious project is aiming to reach 10,000 miles of routes by the end of 2005. But it would not exist without National Lottery funds. A massive £43.5m came from the Millennium Commission in 1995. For a detailed look at the routes, visit Sustrans on-line mapping database.

Where: Nationwide ( www.sustrans.org.uk)

40. WATCH OUT FOR GOOD OMENS

Amateur tarot-card reader, Deborah Mather from Chorley won big in May 2005 after her cards revealed change and good fortune was coming. And when Deborah watched the draw and saw that the machine used to choose the balls was called Amethyst, her birthstone, she had a spooky feeling. But this was nothing compared to the disbelief and elation she experienced when she matched all six numbers to win a jackpot prize of £5,150,514. Deborah said, "I read tarot cards in my spare time and they had been indicating that I would move closer to where I was born and that I was due a windfall. I couldn't believe it when the balls dropped in and I hit the jackpot."

41. DO UP A RUIN IN AN UP-AND-COMING DESTINATION

The UK's house-price boom has cemented everyone's expectations to overpay for property, but in several European countries it is still possible to buy bricks and mortar for under £7,000. That's not to say the building won't need plenty of tender loving care but that's why we watch all those TV reality programmes, isn't it? A combination of scheduled Ryan Air flights and possible EU membership is pushing prices up in certain countries so now is the time to land a real bargain. Check out former Soviet Block countries such as, Bulgaria, Estonia and Croatia, the latter with its glorious unspoilt Adriatic coastline. Several websites have listings of houses for sale at low prices. They may also advise on property ownership laws and planning permission.

Where: Several European countries, particularly in the former Soviet Block ( www.findaruin.com)

How much: From £7,000

42. SEIZE THE MOMENT

Dogs have keen intuition and there have been numerous cases of canines saving humans from potential accidents or becoming agitated in the minutes before an earthquake. Luckily David Little of Carlisle responded when one evening in May 2002 he was walking past the newsagent's and his two-year-old Staffordshire Bull-Terrier, Neo, tried to drag him inside and would not take no for an answer. Following Neo into the shop, David noticed a lottery terminal and decided to buy a couple of tickets. Good job too, one of them was a winner and he claimed a jackpot prize of £3,462,775.

43. CINEMOBILE, VARIOUS LOCATIONS

In the Cinemobile truck, parked at church halls all over the nation, villagers are rolling in the aisles, weeping into their hankies and hiding behind their hands in terror, and all because of a new initiative called Mobile Movies. Funded by The National Lottery, it permits those without easy access to a cinema the opportunity to see a wide range of films as (cue booming American film-voice) "the silver screen comes to a village near you". Additionally, 81 film clubs and societies have received grants to buy the digital equipment necessary to show films to audiences. New releases, recent and classic movies are screened - at time of writing, www.touringcinema.com was showing Pride and Prejudice, and War of the Worlds.

Where: Various locations (01903 750 235; www.touringcinema.com)

44. BUY A BEACH HUT

In the UK we are never further than 72 miles from the seaside so maybe it is in our DNA to sit on a beach and stare out to sea. And in numerous coastal settlements, this ritual can be practised in style in a beach hut. They may only be wooden shacks with just enough room to sit on a deck chair with a flask of tea and a plate of sandwiches, but nowadays they are hip indeed. Tracey Emin sold her Whitstable beach-hut to Charles Saatchi for £75,000, but even huts with no notable connections sell for extraordinary amounts - one in Mudeford Spit, Dorset sold for £100,000. "Oh I do like to be beside the seaside" has never been so true.

Where: Around the coastline but mainly in south and south-east England ( www.beach-huts.co.uk)

How much: Depends where, ranging from a few thousand to £100,000

45. FOLLOW YOUR INTUITION

In April 2005, a "funny feeling" made Sarah Cockings, a first-year university student from Whitley Bay, change from purchasing Lucky Dip lottery tickets to choosing her own numbers. Sarah had a routine each Saturday to visit her Mum and younger sister who worked at the post office and buy three Lucky Dip tickets from her sister's lottery terminal. As she explains, "For some strange reason I had a funny feeling that I should choose my numbers that week for the first time since I started playing about four years ago." Later her boyfriend sent a text message reminding Sarah to check the results. She went to the National Lottery website and with a huge shock discovered she had won £3,045,705.

46. COLLECT CLASSIC CARS

Last year a world record price was achieved for a classic car - a 1929 Mercedes-Benz sold by Bonhams went for over £4m. But it is possible to collect classic cars without paying such amounts. Harrogate Classics for instance, sells vehicles from under £2,000, a 1950 black Wolseley Four Fifty costs £1,900. And they often have a selection of nifty British sports cars - MGBs, Triumph Stags, Jaguars; and the perennially popular Morris Minor for under £5,000. Bonhams Auctioneers has a dedicated classic car division and it holds regular auctions. The Collectors' Motor Cars, Motorcycles and Historic Commercial Vehicles at the Yorkshire Event Centre, Harrogate, is on 22nd November and Important Collectors' Motor Cars, Pioneer and Vintage Motorcycles at Olympia, London, is on December 5th - all in time for Christmas if you wanted to buy one for someone special.

Where: Various dealers and auctioneers including Bonhams (020-7468 5805; www.bonhams.com); and Harrogate Classics (01423 870 100; www.harrogateclassics.co.uk)

How much: From around £2,000 depending on what you are looking for.

47. NATIONAL BOTANIC GARDEN OF WALES, CARMARTHEN

A visit to Britain's youngest botanical garden is a chance to see something wonderful in its infancy. Thanks to The Lottery, The National Botanic Garden of Wales, Carmarthen, has received a £22m Millennium Commission grant and opened back in 2000. It conserves Wales's endangered national plants, including the planet's rarest tree - there are only 16 examples left - the Brecon White Beam. The garden is now so popular it's the most visited horticultural site in Wales. There is so much to see but make sure to check out the Auricula Theatre - one of only two large examples left in the UK. With its tiered staging, planted with varieties of Auricula - colourful multi-headed plants on a single stem - it is best seen when they flower from March-May. The National Botanic Garden makes a wonderful day out for all the family. The rural setting is superb with stunning countryside views.

Where: Middleton Hall, Llanarthne, Carmarthen, Dyfed SA32 (01558 668 768; www.gardenofwales.org.uk)

When: Daily 10am-6pm; winter months 10am-4.30pm

How much: Adult £7, child £2, under 5's free, family £16

48. BOOK A TABLE FOR TWO

Master chef Roger Robar's fantasy had always been to own his own restaurant. Back in 1996 he was working away, putting in 60-hour weeks as a chef in a restaurant in Crouch End, north London. His luck suddenly changed when he won the Lottery jackpot, which stood at a life-changing £5.8m. With his Lottery winnings he was able to realise his dream and he bought the restaurant where he worked. Roger made drastic changes and his first action as owner was to generously double his staff's wages. Since then, Roger and the restaurant have gone from strength to strength and he has built up a formidable reputation with critics and diners alike. Roger's Seafood Restaurant has been voted London's top seafood restaurant by ITV's Dinner Dates two years running and Lennox Lewis and Sir Trevor McDonald are among those who have sampled his fine Carribean cuisine. Roger's favourite charity is "The Make a Wish Foundation", which helps to make dreams come true and brings happiness into the lives of children with life-threatening illnesses. He says, "I am so lucky to have won this money and I want to spread my good fortune around."

49. CWMCELYN POND BRIDGE LINK, GWENT

Not all National Lottery funded projects have multi-million pound budgets. And by lottery standards £7,950 is not a huge amount of money but, size isn't everything, and it has made a substantial difference to a small, local community in south Wales. The Cwmcelyn Tenants Association near Blaenau Gwent, applied for a Big Lottery Fund grant and worked tirelessly to regenerate the beautiful Cwmcelyn Pond area, to provide a place for locals and visitors to walk and enjoy the scenery, perhaps even try a spot of fishing, too. Previously vandals had damaged an older bridge across the pond, so a new one with an adjoining path was built. The immediate locale has been cleaned up and regenerated to provide a pleasant, safe location for all to enjoy. Cwmcelyn Pond is a great example of how The National Lottery is helping to make a difference at grassroot levels. As a result, Cwmcelyn Pond is on a shortlist of nominations for a National Lottery Award - these celebrate the benefits that Lottery grants have brought to communities.

NB: Details were checked at the time of going to press, but prices and availability are liable to change.

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