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.
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.
Last summer I embarked on a cruise with Majestic Line around the Scottish Isles. I was pleasantly surprised by the wealth of different scenery, seafood and even sunshine on offer and returned with a camera full of pictures and a head full of beautiful Scottish memories.
Read my feature for Woman’s Own on this wonderful cruise here.
I grew up in a small town in Wiltshire called Devizes, a little-visited place that has far more to offer than it might first appear. There’s a brewery for a start. And a canal with one of the world’s longest lock flights. Plus an ancient market square and a museum that is a world leader in Bronze Age exhibits.
I have been lucky enough to write about my hometown several times now and most recently had a feature published in the Guardian to coincide with the town’s very first boutique hotel, The Peppermill, opening.
Read this feature on the Guardian website.
Many thanks to Visit Wiltshire for assisting with this trip.
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 ten picnic spots
Top ten scenic drives
Top ten quirky places to stay
Britain’s best beaches
The best itineraries:
For bargain hunters
Driving the Pennine Way
Driving the Causeway coastal route
Along the way:
Best road trip playlists
Best boredom busters
Best child-friendly pit stops
In June, I sailed out from Oban on Scotland’s west coast, to St Kilda, the furthest outpost of the United Kingdom.
It was an adventure – the biggest one I’ve been on in the UK – and I will never forget the sheer excitement of arriving in Village Bay, the jagged rocky landscape rearing above me, the puffins wheeling above my head.
I wrote about the experience for About Travel. You can read about my voyage to the islands with Hebrides Cruises as well as my thoughts on walking on the main island of Hirta.
Location, location, location. What more could you ask for from a hotel? Well, how about an indoor swimming pool? And an on-site restaurant? Perhaps sweeping views over an ancient city?
The Best Western Queens hotel in Perth has all these things – plus an enviable location right next door to the bus station and across the road from the train station.
It is also just a short walk from the city itself, and I spent my days strolling through the parks that hem in this stately ancient city and sitting outside cafes enjoying the sun and the excellent
local produce – soft fruits from Perthshire, seafood from the Scottish isles.
Each time I returned to the hotel my room seemed to expand. I had what amounted to a dressing room, with just the wardrobe and suitcase stand to occupy the floor space, plus a large desk, a separate table and chairs and an armchair, all arranged around the bed.
And then there was that view. Out over the rooftops of Perth towards the hills, seen from three different aspects from my multiple windows.
It tempted me out again and again, but each time I was glad to return, making full use of the swimming pool and the comfortable lounge bar with free wifi.
Yes, location is important, but so too are facilities – and so the Best Western Queens has plenty to offer, whether you’re catching that bus or train or not.
Check out the latest offers from Best Western.