Grand designs from around the globe

We celebrate amazing destinations around the world and discover a colourful kaleidoscope of wonders that are easy on the eye

Botanical Garden

Funchal, Madeira, Portugal

Madeira is known as the Garden Island, and the beautifully cultivated botanical gardens in its capital, Funchal, prove why. The gardens were previously part of a private estate that belonged to hotelier William Reid and opened to the public in 1960. Today, they’re home to exotic plants and flowers from all over the world. Winding paths meander through ornamental trees and shrubs, orchids, roses, greenhouses, ponds and lawns, while the gardens’ hillside location affords visitors sweeping views across Funchal.

The Colosseum

Rome, Italy

Built between 72AD and 80AD under Emperor Vespasian, the Colosseum is the world’s largest amphitheatre. With 80 entrances, it seated about 50,000 spectators who relished watching the free sporting events, brutal gladiatorial combats and bloodthirsty wild animal hunts. Luckily, today’s visitors can marvel at the design wonder of the ancient world and learn about the life of gladiators in a more peaceful fashion.

The Dubai Fountain

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

The 30-acre Burj Lake at the base of the Burj Khalifa is home to one of Dubai’s most popular tourist attractions. The Dubai Fountain puts on a spectacular display of water, music and light, delighting the thousands of visitors that gather to see it each day. Looking down from the top of the Burj Khalifa gives a bird’s-eye view of the fountain’s unique design – 274m in length with five circles and two arcs – from which more than 100,000 litres of water is blasted into the air by powerful pumps.

Old Nice

Nice, France

No trip to Nice, the grande dame of the French Riviera, is complete without a good potter around the old town. In contrast to the bright and breezy beachscapes of the Promenade des Anglais, this compact quartier is an atmospheric warren with treasures aplenty (from Baroque churches to chic boutiques). The Flower Market along Cours Saleya is the perfect spot to soak up the Niçois vibe. Go like a local and enjoy coffee at one of the many cafés, then buy treats from pâtisseries such as Pâtisserie LAC on the old town’s Rue de la Préfecture.

Tea plantation

Colombo, Sri Lanka

Tea production is one of the main industries in Sri Lanka (formerly known as Ceylon), and the country is renowned for its top-quality tea. The distinctive patterns on the tea fields occur as a result of the ‘contour method’ of planting, which follows the natural slopes and hillsides of the earth’s terrain.

Gardens by the Bay

Singapore

Built on reclaimed land, Singapore’s 101-hectare Gardens by the Bay was created with the purpose of raising the quality of life in the city. It’s done just that – the park has created a horticultural haven for Singaporeans and visitors alike. Standout features include 24-49m-tall solar-powered ‘supertrees’, which provide shade during the day; at night, they come alive with a dazzling sound and light display. An aerial walkway between the supertrees offers sensational views of the city skyline.