Tag Archives: scotland

SkyeCorruisk

Hiking and foraging on the isle of Skye: piece for the Times

I called in to Skye briefly earlier this year on the Hebridean Princess. Despite the rain and the leaden skies I fell instantly in love.

I returned in September, this time to explore properly. I discovered that this breathtaking Scottish island has so much to offer, from challenging hiking to bountiful foraging, boat trips to remote lochs and seaplane flights above an otherworldly landscape.

Find out more about the isle of Skye in my piece for the Times, published in October 2015.

View of the keep from the outer bailey at Corfe Castle

UK and Ireland articles for Skyscanner

I’ve been around the globe many times, but the islands of Britain and Ireland remain my favourite place – bar none.

Epic castles, sweeping beaches, eccentric villages and pubs packed with character (and characters) – what more could you ask for?

Check out my guides to the best of the UK and Ireland for Skyscanner to get the best out of your next trip around these endlessly fascinating isles:

Top 10 UK villages

Top 10 UK castles

Top 10 Irish beaches

Top 10 UK walking routes

London’s best restaurants with a view 

More to follow…

 

StKilda

Rough Guides: 8 unknown UK islands

I love the UK. Despite travelling to dozens of countries every year I always enjoy travelling around our islands the most. There is no place like home, after all – especially when that home is full of beautiful, unspoiled secrets.

Yes, much of the UK has been well and truly discovered, but there are still plenty of hidden corners and unsung isles. I unveiled some of my favourites for Rough Guides recently. Read my feature on the best 8 unknown UK islands to discover a few more of the British Isles’ secrets.

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Hebridean Princess: piece for TTG

Earlier this year I spent a week cruising the Scottish Hebrides on the Queen’s favourite ship, the fabulous Hebridean Princess.

I visited Plockton where I found the largest prawns I’ve ever seen, the beautiful isle of Skye and the incomparable Outer Hebrides, where I hiked on Lewis and cycled across Harris.

My itinerary was one of Hebridean Cruises more active Footloose itineraries and it certainly kept me busy!

Read all about what I got up to on my cruise in the July 2nd issue of TTG.

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Guardian articles: the best British road trips

I love travelling in Britain – and I especially love a road trip. So I was delighted to be asked to offer some of my best itineraries and tips to the Guardian, for their Open Road project, in associated with Enterprise.

I gave my thoughts on everything from the best picnic spots and the quirkiest places to stay to the ideal road trips for golfers and the best way to explore the Scottish Highlands.

Read my recommendations at the links below:

Top tens:

Top ten picnic spots

Top ten scenic drives

Top ten quirky places to stay

Britain’s best beaches

 

The best itineraries:

For cyclists

For golfers

For bargain hunters

 

Top drives:

Driving the Pennine Way

Driving the Causeway coastal route

 

Along the way:

Best road trip playlists

Best boredom busters

Best child-friendly pit stops

 

HdVStAndrews

Hotel review: Hotel du Vin, St Andrews

I normally hate chain hotels. The homogenous décor, the basic rooms, the textbook service – it can all just feel a bit, well, uncaring.

But then there is Hotel du Vin, the hotel chain that somehow manages not to feel like a chain at all. Individual décor, opulent rooms, five-star service, everything about this brand screams luxury – and the newest addition to the family, in St Andrews, is no exception.

As soon as I checked in I was instantly at home, my luggage spirited away, the front desk staff like old friends asking about the journey. And then came the room – where I discovered one of the best views in Scotland. Four separate windows, each with a view of the world-famous golf course, each one looking out to sea. I could have gazed out at it for hours, watching the tide fill and empty the saltwater swimming pool, assessing the swing of every golfer on the 18th hole, but there was dinner to be had – and that turned out to be even more special.

We sat in a bay window, looking out over the water, watching the sun set, and ordering cote de boeuf from the josper grill and Anstruther lobster, baked in garlic butter. We washed it down with Marlborough sauvignon blanc and a bottle of Malbec, tough choices made from the slimmed down but tightly edited wine shortlist. We could have stayed for hours, but our bedroom was calling, with its huge bathtub and vast bed. We slept like golfers having played a full 36 and woke to find the sun rising over the water and into our room.

From the hotel it is a short walk to the castle, the cathedral and the university – a trio of historic sights that are not to be missed – and a worthwhile stroll to Janetta’s ice cream parlour where the 20-plus flavours almost flummoxed me and the 2014 Golden Cone Award was proven well deserved.

Every time we returned to the hotel we were glad to be back, sinking into the sofas and plunging into the bath, and each time I had to remind myself that there are more of these – a chain of hotels that doesn’t feel like one, and to which I am always happy to arrive.

Explore the St Andrews hotel and book your stay.

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Big beds and bay windows at Hotel du Vin, St Andrews