The UAE is a fascinating country of contrasting elements, from the glamour and exuberance of the cities to the wide-open desert. Wonderfully located just under seven hours from London in a perfect stopover destination, it has a lot to offer travellers regardless of their length of stay.
Dubai seems to develop at an unbelievable rate and currently houses the world's tallest building, largest shopping mall and biggest water fountain, all within a few hundred metres of each other. There are activities to suit everyone (including skiing in the snow dome) and a shopping mall on almost every corner as well as long sandy beaches to laze on.
Abu Dhabi is the capital and more has a slightly more relaxed pace of life. It is marketing itself as more of a cultural destination, with plans to open a Guggenheim and a Louvre on Saadiyat Island in the near future.
Outside the cities there is the amazing Liwa desert to discover where stargazing comes into its own. Here, in complete contrast to the cities and their diverse residents, you are likely to come across just Bedouins, their camels and miles of rolling sand dunes.