The UK has never had a rival to America’s Route 66 or to Australia’s Great Ocean Road – until now, that is.
The North Coast 500 loops around the far north coast of Scotland, starting and ending in Inverness. It runs for around 500 miles, through epic Highland scenery and past fantastic seafood restaurants, pubs and distilleries. It’s even home to the world’s best hot chocolate.
I’ve driven the North Coast 500 a few times now and it is one of my favourite road trips anywhere in the world. I was delighted to write about it for the Sun’s Fabulous magazine recently. You can read my piece here.
Australia is one of the world’s most popular holiday destinations – so it can get pretty crowded, especially in the hotspots such as Bondi Beach, Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef.
Fortunately there are plenty of places you can head to that are far less busy, and just as wonderful. I was delighted to share some of my favourite alternative Aussie destinations with Sunday Times readers this weekend.
Read my Alternative Guide to Australia to find out which places made the list.
I’ve found the best beach in Spain – and that is saying something.
It is called Praia de Rodas and it is not on the country’s well-known and perpetually sun-soaked southern coast, it is out to the northwest of the mainland on an island off the coast of Galicia.
This is a beautiful coastline, strung with gorgeous white sand beaches. But to find the very best, the one that looks like it could have been lifted from the pages of a Caribbean holiday brochure, you ave to board a boat and head out to sea – or more precisely to the Islas Cies.
Rodas beach is a stunner. White sands, turquoise waters, the works. But there is more to these islands than just a place to switch off and sunbathe. There is also a simple but quietly spectacular restaurant serving fresh fish on a ramshackle terrace, a dramatic walk across the cliffs to a towering lighthouse and hundreds of birds wheeling overhead.
Read my recent article for the Times to find out more.
I am often asked where I would live if I could live anywhere.
If we’re talking outside the UK (because, honestly, the answer is London!) then it has to be Palma.
Mallorca’s capital city is a stunner. And on my most recent visit I got to see her from a new angle – from the top of her world renowned Gothic cathedral.
I also gazed out over her rooftops from my rooftop infinity pool at the Hotel Nakar, a wonderful hotel, and got to know her a little better on a tapas crawl through Sa Gerreria.
You can read more about what I got up to on my weekend in Palma in my article in the Times.
I have long loved Mallorca, but it was only recently that I discovered a new reason to love the largest Balearic island – it is also the jumping off point for Cabrera, the smallest of the (inhabited) Balearics.
I visited for a few days in April and found deserted walking tracks, secluded beaches and calm, clear waters home to plenty of fish and even the odd octopus. Sure, the accommodation here is basic (actually it’s so basic you need to bring your own bedding) but I found that that was part of the fun – and that it meant I had the island more or less to myself once the day boats left.
Check out my article for the Times on Cabrera here.
This article was shortlisted for Best European Feature at the British Guild of Travel Writers awards 2017
Madeira has a terrible reputation. Cruise ships, coach parties and, well, plenty of visitors of a certain age.
But there is so much more to this tropical island marooned in the Atlantic. There’s excellent walking for a start, along levadas (precipitous aqueducts) and up volcanoes, not to mention delicious fresh seafood, a burgeoning arts scene and some of the tallest cliffs in Europe.
Check out my guide to the island for Sunday Times Travel magazine to find out why you should head to Madeira this year.
New Zealand is a gorgeous country. It’s a country of marching glaciers, soaring white peaks and plunging green valleys. But it’s also a country of quieter scenic pleasures, such as Akaroa.
This small coastal town on the south island is like a little piece of France on the other side of the world. Here you can sit over breakfast baguettes or a bowl of snails in the cafes and walk along rues to distinctly French looking cottages. But you can also explore a distant volcano, a watery inlet home to dozens of dolphins – and one very weird “giant’s” house.
Check out my article in Journey magazine to find out more.