One of the most enjoyable experiences I had whilst travelling Sri Lanka was hiking Small Adam’s Peak and visiting the Nine Arches Bridge in Ella. What most tourists don’t tell you is that visiting Sri Lanka can be a disappointing experience. Hiring a driver is the most practical way to get around but the more adventurous traveller will find this arrangement disempowering and might even feel a little ripped off by it. Your driver will want you to follow the itinerary they have set, which will involve a fair share of tourist buffets and dodgy jewellery stores. You may make suggestions about where to go to your driver but trust me, Sri Lankans are very convincing and you will end up doing what your driver says. However during our stopover in Ella we had a chance to get out of the car and exercise our legs against a magnificent backdrop. Make sure you finish your trip here with a cheap massage!
One of the highlights of my holiday to Sri Lanka was hiking around the legendary Sigiriya Rock. Also known as the Lion Rock, Sigiriya is an ancient rock fortress that was built by King Kashyapa during his reign from 477 to 495 AD. However I did not follow the usual tourist path and walk up Sigiriya Rock itself, which is expensive and crowded. Instead I did some other hiking in Sigiriya area during which I appreciated more magnificent views of the rock fortress and surrounding countryside.
Whether you are a visitor to London or you have lived there your entire life, the best way to discover all the interesting nooks and crannies of this amazing city is through the TFL Capital Ring walk. The TFL Capital Ring Walk successfully covers 78 miles of open space and natural reserves circling central London, running through some very pretty as well as industrial London neighbourhoods. The TFL Capital Ring Walk is divided into 15 sections with walks of varying difficulty, starting in Woolwich via areas of historical interest and great natural beauty including Crystal Palace, Richmond, Osterley Lock and Highgate.
Section 14 of the TFL Capital Ring walk is from Hackney Wick to Beckton District Park. When I did this walk, I was already very familiar in and around London Fields and Hackney Central (who hasn’t ended up at the Dolphin on a big night out?) but I had never explored the rest of Hackney.
The walk begins at Hackney Wick station. As soon as I stepped off the tube I felt like I was back in Bethnal Green or Shoreditch, but about 10 years ago. It was great not to see a chainstore in sight! We turned left from the station and walked across the bridge to the furthest bank of the canal, passing a lot of cool street art along the way.
I never realised what an awesome place Hackney Wick is. As we walked along the canal toward Stratford, we passed many canal boats converted into pop-up shops and bars, and funky converted warehouse venues serving interesting food and drinks and playing music. The area was lively with people socialising and rowing rented canoes along the water.
Walking along the canal you can see the infamous Stratford Arcelor Mittal Orbit sculpture as well as the Olympic stadium. We kept walking towards Stratford High Street, stopping at the Print House for a quick coffee break. The coffee here was amazing and the staff were very friendly. Particularly because I spilt my coffee everywhere after only one sip and they helped to clean it up and offered me a new latte on the house!
After a quick rest we continued up Stratford High Street and then crossed the Meridian line and took a turn right to walk along The Greenway. Our walk ended in Beckton District park, a lush and and green handsome area only a short walk from Royal Albert DLR station.
Download the map here.