8. Portland, USA
The pandemic put plenty of things on hold, including the launch of the new British Airways flight from London Heathrow to Portland, Oregon. After a two-year delay, it finally starts in June, putting the food trucks and bike lanes of America’s hipster capital within a ten-hour hop. What you discover is the perfect antidote to a year of mask-wearing on crowded metros. Due to Portland’s perpetual aura of craft-beer cool, with all its barbecue joints and beloved Voodoo Doughnut shops, few realise quite what a lush, outdoorsy city it is; indeed, it’s home to some beautiful gardens as well as one of the biggest urban forests in the world. Yet it’s the hike up to Pittock Mansion, with its views to Mount Hood, that shows you what incredible wilderness lies on the doorstep. South of the city, the wine country of Willamette offers cellar-door tours and civilised fun but it’s the region’s rivers that really capture the imagination. Take a kayak trip, paddling amid impossibly tall pines, and feel the city fade away behind.