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.
Budapest is one of my favourite cities for a weekend break and – I’ll be honest – that has as much to do with its, erm, lively ruin bars as it does with its hot baths and stately architecture.
I returned to Budapest earlier this summer to drink palinka in courtyard gardens, sip beer beneath boar-shaped disco balls and live to regret slamming slots of Unicum under two watchful bright green eyes.
Yep, one of the best nights out ever, that one. Read (almost!) all about it on the Times Insider City Guides site.
Imagine a Spanish costa with no people… that’s what you get along the coast around Huelva, in Spain’s far southwest. Here sand bars stretch for miles and you’ll almost certainly spot more birds than people.
I visited this secret part of Spain recently for the Times. You can read my article about my trip here.
I write a lot about the Canary Islands, and am always banging on about how misunderstood these perpetually sunny islands are.
One thing I rarely get to do though is to write about the smaller islands, those that most visitors to Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura are not even aware make up part of the same archipelago.
So I’m delighted to have been able to write about La Gomera, La Palma and El Hierro for The Times. My article on these three largely unknown isles was in the travel section on Saturday February 13th. If you missed it, you can read it on the website here.
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.
One of the countries I specialise in (and write part of the Rough Guide to) is Spain, and so I try to keep my finger on the pulse when it comes to new developments.
One of the most exciting for this year is the opening of Castellon-Costa Azahar airport, with direct flights from the UK starting up with Ryanair in September. These new flights will make Castellon, as well as the largely unknown (outside Spain) Costa del Azahar, more easily accessible to British visitors. So I went to see what the area had to offer, for the Times.
Tenerife is one of my favourite islands, but it is a destination that is greatly misunderstood. Yes, you can just fly here and flop, or party hard in the clubs of Playa de las Americas, but that it not the island I know and love.
Mine is one of verdant rainforest and lunar landscapes, of black sand beaches, volcanic rock pools and gorgeous ancient towns. And now thanks to a new direct flight into the north of the island from Heathrow you could even see all this on a weekend break.
Read my piece on Tenerife’s northern side for the Times to find out how.