Travelrss

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Onsen: dive into another side of Japan

3 January 2015

I’m hovering starkers beside a hot spring, or onsen, in a faded resort in southern Japan, while the Japanese grandmother standing naked next to me explains the form for the… Read more

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The beautiful Balkans on horseback

3 January 2015

My husband and I decide we are up for a horse-riding adventure. We’ve done a few and have realised it’s the only way to travel: the truest way to experience… Read more

maldives

My perfect island – and the posher one next door

3 January 2015

The Republic of Maldives is the lowest country in the world and has the highest divorce rate. Is there correlation between altitude and fidelity, I wonder? Male, the capital, is… Read more

Dallas’s art deco Fair Park

Dallas, city of culture

3 January 2015

When George W. Bush was outed as an artist, after a computer hacker uncovered his nude self-portraits, jaws dropped around the world. Could Cowboy George, a man whom even Kim… Read more

Johannesburg: a city trying hard to revamp its image

Low life’s Limpopo legend

3 January 2015

‘You’ve got a lot to live up to,’ said the ranger. ‘The last Spectator journalist who stayed here was Jeremy Clarke. He made quite the impression.’ Like some sort of… Read more

The parks are empty and the landscapes are yours

If you want a real safari, head to Botswana

3 January 2015

As a boy camping with my father on safaris deep in the African bush, there were no tents involved; we just slept by the fire like cowboys in the open… Read more

Photo: David Benett/Getty

Joan Collins

13 December 2014

Every year Christmas comes earlier and earlier in America. Cards, baubles and imitation trees were being sold in the big department stores in August, and the street decorations have been… Read more

Bridge on the 3,798-metre-high Baroghil Pass, leading from Badakhshan in Afghanistan to northern Pakistan

The powerful steppe empires of Central Asia were bound together by silken thread

13 December 2014
The History of Central Asia, Volume II: The Age of the Silk Roads Christoph Baumer

I.B. Tauris, pp.398, £25, ISBN: 9781780768328

It is difficult to fault this remarkable volume. The publishers have created a book of quality with stunning illustrations and lucid maps. It will, I believe, become a standard reference… Read more

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Fortune tellers, pound shops and Orville: why I love Blackpool

13 December 2014

‘Jesus is the light of the world,’ reads the sign outside Blackpool’s Central Methodist Church, but all along the promenade the lights are going out. I’d returned to my favourite… Read more

The Old Coastguard

The hotels trying to turn Cornwall into Kensington

29 November 2014

Mousehole is a charming name; it is almost a charming place. It is a fishing village on Mount’s Bay, Cornwall, beyond the railway line, which stops at Penzance, in an… Read more

Three glamorous guests, 1921

A miracle: French hotels actually like dogs

22 November 2014

The first time I checked in to a French hotel with a golden retriever — his name was Gregory, predecessor of the incumbent Douglas — I left him, clearly unhappy,… Read more

A Man Reads A Newspaper

What you’re missing now that you don’t read this in print

15 November 2014

The internet is a frighteningly efficient place for hunter-gathering – but the pleasures of undirected browsing are harder to find online

Mummy Exhibition Opens At The Art Science Museum

A buffet in an Egyptian tomb

15 November 2014

Atlantico is a vast buffet inside the Lopesan Costa Meloneras Resort Spa and Casino in Gran Canaria. The Lopesan Costa Melonoras Resort Spa and Casino — or, as I will… Read more

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The one economic indicator that never stops rising: meet the Negroni Index

25 October 2014

This dispatch comes to you from Venice — where I arrived at sunset on the Orient Express. More of that journey on another occasion, I hope. Suffice to say that… Read more

Laos

Discover the blissful peace of Laos

25 October 2014

There’s a company I came across the other day called Value Added Travel. And despite the horrible name, it seems to be doing good business — which got me thinking.… Read more

Beauty in ruins: the Temple of Isis on Delos

Visiting the Greek islands in a reverse Tardis

25 October 2014

In Huddersfield, where I grew up, a town-centre department store boasted a ‘cruise wear’ section. In the window display the gentleman dummies wore deck shoes, starched white shorts and flannel… Read more

Jumbo-sized: the first of the Big Five makes an appearance

It takes an elephant to get my teenage son up early

25 October 2014

Having just turned 13, my boy Ferdy doesn’t really do early mornings. Indeed, during the summer hols we rarely glimpsed him before noon and then only fleetingly whenever he chose… Read more

Sea change: the old fishing town of Warnemünde has been transformed into an affluent resort

A voyage along my grandfather’s coastline

25 October 2014

My grandfather was born in a huge white house on the Baltic coast of eastern Germany, and ever since I was a child I’ve been fascinated by this enigmatic tideless… Read more

Riverside artwork: Jean-Luc Courcoult’s ‘La Maison dans la Loire’

Eight of the best river cruises

25 October 2014

While ocean liners are hardly butterflies, they have a habit of flitting carelessly between countries, often visiting several within a week. A river cruise, however, takes its (relatively few) passengers… Read more

newyork

Saratoga Springs: the opposite of a one-horse town

25 October 2014

In the sweltering heat of Manhattan, even the prairie plantings on the High Line looked dusty and tired. I usually steer clear of the city in summer, but this year… Read more

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Prue Leith

18 October 2014

‘Please God, make me good, but not yet.’ I know the feeling. As I get older and more deeply retired, I globe-trot more and my carbon footprint is horrendous. And… Read more

Knockout lemon sorbet: Gelateria Bonaparte

Napoleon's birthplace feels more Italian than French

11 October 2014

Napoleon’s birthplace, Casa Buona-parte, in Ajaccio, Corsica’s capital, is pretty grand. It has high ceilings, generous, silk-lined rooms and a gallery that could double as a mini-ballroom. The house fits… Read more

Michael Palin performs on the closing night of 'Monty Python Live (Mostly)'

The hell of being Michael Palin

4 October 2014
Travelling to Work: Diaries, 1988–98 Michael Palin

Weidenfeld & Nicolson, pp.592, £25, ISBN: 9780297844419

In these diaries, which I found excellent in a very specific way, Michael Palin tells us about his life between the late 1980s and the late 1990s. At the start… Read more

Nature comes first: Lower Mill Estate

On safari in Gloucestershire

9 August 2014

The heat was still sweltering as we headed off at dusk towards the hide to watch wildlife with our enthusiastic guide, Leonie. My wife and I were on our first… Read more

holiday-sunbathing

Four gadgets to take on holiday — and two to leave behind

2 August 2014

One inarguably good thing about electronic publishing is that it solves that old quandary about what books to pack for your holiday — you just take a tablet or Kindle… Read more