TRAVEL

Rulantica, Europa-Park’s new indoor water world

Rulantica, Europa-Park’s new indoor water world

I’m ushered into what looks like an upright glass coffin, told to fold my hands across my chest in the classic corpse position – and then push a green button. I’m wondering exactly what I’ve got myself into when the trapdoor falls open and I plummet into a tube of fast-flowing water. It’s up my […]

Journeys from your sofa: 10 great travel book gifts for Christmas

Journeys from your sofa: 10 great travel book gifts for Christmas

Elsewhere, by Rosita Boland Doubleday Ireland, £8.99 It’s not entirely a travelogue nor is it a memoir. Rather, it’s the point where the two intersect, and that for me is the essence of enlightening travel. How exactly does meeting new people and seeing new places affect you, change your attitudes and increase your self-knowledge? Sometimes it’s […]

A local’s guide to Cork, Ireland: top 10 tips

A local’s guide to Cork, Ireland: top 10 tips

Best of the black stuff There’s a pub on George’s Quay called Callanan’s. It’s one of my favourite places to take someone who’s from out of town to have a pint of Beamish and watch the old men playing rings in the back room. I’ve taken Steve Reich there, and Aidan Gillen and Camille O’Sullivan. We […]

10 traditional winter festivals in Europe

10 traditional winter festivals in Europe

Across Europe festivities and parades full of spirits and demons, dances and drinks bring cheer – and sometimes mayhem – to the winter months  Chasing away winter … Kurentovanje parade in Ptuj, Slovenia. Photograph: Matjaz Corel/Alamy Slovenia Kurentovanje, Ptuj, 14 February-25 March 2020 Whip cracks split the slate-cold February sky. You hear their echo before […]

Forever in fashion: a tour of Naples’ finest arts and crafts makers

Forever in fashion: a tour of Naples’ finest arts and crafts makers

In Naples the build-up to Christmas is chaotic. Pilgrims descend on the city, pushing their way through narrow streets to Via San Gregorio Armeno, where workshops sell handcrafted miniature nativity figurines. The religious scenes, which are made year-round to keep up with demand, are beautifully crafted in wood, terracotta and silk. They are prized by […]

A local’s guide to Treviso, Italy: 10 top tips

A local’s guide to Treviso, Italy: 10 top tips

Hire a bicycle Treviso is a cycling city. We all get around the historic centre on two wheels: it’s a good way to avoid traffic jams, and tourists have to get used to bikes weaving between them in what look like pedestrianised streets. The surrounding region is perfect for both serious 70 to 80km routes […]

Cider, cheese and cool scenery: a car-free adventure in Somerset

Cider, cheese and cool scenery: a car-free adventure in Somerset

The train glides west. Uncompromising-looking grey clouds are shedding icy raindrops on to Bath’s spires and crescents and Bristol’s colourful terraces. But I’m hoping at least three things will warm this wintry West Country jaunt: cheese, cider and the scenery of Sanditon. Several scenes in ITV’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s unfinished “beaches-and-ballgowns” novel were filmed in […]

Healthy break: an escape to Devon for a stay in a restored cottage hospital

Healthy break: an escape to Devon for a stay in a restored cottage hospital

Pleurisy, fracture at elbow, scalded buttocks, horse bite – who knew that a list of ailments on a hospital’s patient register could be so gripping? The one I found in my holiday accommodation (newly renovated Winsford Cottage Hospital in Devon) told the stories of people from a dozen local parishes. Within its handwritten pages I […]

A local’s guide to Nantes, France: top 10 tips

A local’s guide to Nantes, France: top 10 tips

Isle of culture It must be hard for today’s visitors to imagine the Île de Nantes, in the middle of the Loire, as the industrial wasteland it became once shipbuilding finished in the 1980s. But from 2007, it has been transformed from virtual no-go area into cultural hub – giving the island back to the […]

Surf and the city: Bristol’s new artificial surfing lagoon

Surf and the city: Bristol’s new artificial surfing lagoon

Yeee-ees!!” cries my coach, Oliver, as we near the water’s edge. Wave after wave surges towards us, peeling sideways before crumbling at our feet. No closeouts, no guessing where waves will break, just perfect peaks stretching into the distance. Most surfers would be stoked to see this at any beach in the world, but I’m […]

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