I love a train journey. For me, there is nothing better than sitting in a bar car, drink in hand, watching the world slide past the window, and on my most recent trip to Australia I finally got to travel on the Indian Pacific.
This luxury train crosses Australia from Sydney to Perth (and vice versa) once a week, a journey of some 2,700 miles. I saw countless kangaroos, travelled on the world’s longest section of straight railway track and hopped off to check out the Barossa Valley, Broken Hill and the ghost town of Cook. The journey takes three nights but didn’t last a moment too long – especially with those included Aussie wines!
Read my article about the journey in today’s Times.
My favourite country to visit in the whole world is Scotland and am currently writing a book about my 2017 journey around the country.
On my travels I stayed in some truly exceptional places, from cosy inns to full-on luxurious five-stars, and I was delighted to share some of these with Times readers today, in my 20 best places to stay in Scotland feature.
Look out for my book soon!
Ever since family holidays to the Canaries in the 1990s I have loved these islands in the sun. I visit at least once a year and have spent plenty of time on all seven main islands as well as several of the smaller islands.
But there is one resort that keeps pulling me back, Corralejo in the far north of Fuerteventura. I love Corralejo because it is not just a tourist resort, it is a real town where visitors mix with locals. The main street along the seafront turns to sand here, so few walks into town don’t involve getting my toes in the sand, and the local community keeps restaurant standards high.
Find out more about this fantastic Canarian resort in my piece for the Times on a Weekend in Corralejo.
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
When it comes to the Canaries, misconceptions abound. Isn’t it all high-rise hotels and all-day breakfasts?
Well, no. There is so much more to these Atlantic islands than their “Brits abroad” reputation – a reputation that is, in my opinion, extremely unfair.
Because Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote in particular have exciting, diverse and high quality food scenes. Here you’ll find Michelin starred restaurants, local produce from fresh seafood to the juiciest tomatoes you’ll ever taste, and some of Europe’s best – but least widely exported – wines.
I visit the Canaries several times each year and on my last visit I set out on a gourmet odyssey around Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote for The Times.