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.
I grew up in Wiltshire and school trips were always to Avebury. I thought that everyone knew about this large but unassuming stone circle amid the rolling plains and corn fields of my home county, but when I left for London it turned out I was wrong.
Because most people ignore this prehistoric site in favour of its far more famous sibling, just up the road. Yes, I blame Stonehenge, with its glitzy new visitor centre and unmissable location next to the A303.
I love Stonehenge but allow me to sell Avebury to you as well. Check out my blog for Cool Places on the stone circle and the other amazing prehistoric sites that lie nearby.
Glasgow is a strong contender for my favourite city. I love its vibrancy, its Victorian and modern architecture, its sense of style – and, above all, its famously friendly people.
So I was delighted to return to the city this summer to write about it for Going Places, the in-flight magazine of Malaysia Airlines.
See a PDF of this article, with photography by Robin McKelvie, here.
If you would like to follow in my footsteps I recommend a stay at the Hotel Du Vin.
I have recently starting working with Active Traveller, writing pieces for both their print magazine and the website.
Read my article on climbing Mount Teide or on via ferrata in Yorkshire and look out for more soon.
I have just returned from my most epic trip of the year so far – sailing out to the UK’s most isolated islands, the St Kilda archipelago with Hebrides Cruises.
Just reaching these abandoned islands is a feat in itself. Read all about my journey through three days of Atlantic waters and Hebridean islands to reach land on Hirta here.
I was also lucky enough to spend a full day walking on Hirta. Read my article on this here.
One of my favourite trips in recent months has been the week I spent exploring Cornwall for the Guardian. I saw shiny new hotels, much-loved local restaurants and more perfect beaches than you could shake a beach towel at.
It was tough to narrow these down to my top picks, but you can read about my favourite places on the northern Cornish coast here and the southern coast here.