Inflated dreams

17 March 2012 10:00 am

When almost every tale about the Arctic has been told, when the major explorers have been assessed and re-assessed, when…

Africa’s excesses

17 March 2012 9:00 am

There are an awful lot of prostitutes in Africa and most of them seem to pass through the pages of…


A paralysed landscape

10 March 2012 11:00 am

‘Very, very, very sexy’, a field-researcher scratches in his Antarctic notebook. He is describing a meteorite the size of a…

Still roughing it

7 January 2012 10:00 am

We are all tourists now, and there is no escape. The first thing we see as we jet round the…

Not for sissies

3 December 2011 11:00 am

Nigeria is not exactly a tourist destination. A colleague chortles over the memory of trying to wangle his way in…

Rumbled in the jungle

26 November 2011 11:00 am

This book is a mess. Simon Mann may have been brought up on John Buchan, educated at Eton and Sandhurst,…

The call of the wild

27 August 2011 10:00 am

Christopher Ondaatje is best known as a member of the great and the good and a generous patron of the arts, notably the National Portrait Gallery. The pieces collected in this book give glimpses of another, quite different life as a traveller and writer.

A well-told lie

13 August 2011 12:00 am

Michael Ondaatje takes a journey into childhood

Heroes of the Ice Age

13 August 2011 12:00 am

Four new books on the great era of polar exploration


Junk, day and night

6 August 2011 12:00 am

A jeremiad against litter-loutish Britain

Don’t blur the lines

30 July 2011 12:00 am

Did you know that on the Central Line’s maiden journey to Shepherd’s Bush, one of the passengers was Mark Twain? Or that The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Sign of Four were both commissioned by the same publisher at the same London dinner? Or that Harrods dropped the apostrophe from its name in 1921, a full 19 years before Selfridges followed suit? My guess is that you probably didn’t — which is where Walk the Lines comes in.

The last place on earth

23 July 2011 12:00 am

Colin Thubron has called Siberia ‘the ultimate unearthly abroad’, the ‘place from which you will not return’.


Talking about regeneration

23 July 2011 12:00 am

Iain Sinclair, the London novelist and poet, is always on the move.

Wool of bat and lizard leg

16 July 2011 12:00 am

When Julia Blackburn and her Dutch husband Herman move into an old village house perched on a cliff high above the Italian Ligurian Riviera they become part of a dwindling community in a landscape of forests and deserted villages with roofless ruins almost swallowed up by the riotous undergrowth.


Good companions

16 July 2011 12:00 am

‘Choose your companions’, says an early Arab proverb, ‘thereafter your road.’ In the 1970s, Hugh Leach’s companion on his travels to Northern Yemen was Freya Stark, and she has become his companion again, in this affectionate hommage of photographs and short, scholarly texts.

The other man’s grass . . .

9 July 2011 12:00 am

Hundreds of thousands of hardy souls are preparing for a few nights under canvas this summer, often facing sunburn or trench foot while giddily jumping up and down in a muddy field as bands maul their better-known hits.

Ways of escape

9 July 2011 12:00 am

When I compiled a list of the top dozen travel writers of the past century for an American magazine the other day, it required some effort not to come up with an entirely British cast.


Bella vistas

9 July 2011 12:00 am

Many moons ago when I went to Sissinghurst to ask Nigel Nicolson (late of this parish) if I could write about his mother, Vita Sackville-West, he raised his hands, and eyebrows, in horror, ‘Oh! Not another book about my mother!’ These two titles on Italian gardens may provoke a similar reaction, for there has been a recent run of revisiting via Charles Latham’s vintage Country Life photographs, Edith Wharton’s Edwardian musings and Georgina Masson’s 1961 classic, now revived.


Relics of old Castile

11 June 2011 12:00 am

Christopher Howse describes Spain as ‘the strangest place with which Westerners can easily identify’.


Elegy for wild Wales

4 June 2011 12:00 am

If you drive West out of Carmarthen on the A40, you pass through a landscape of dimpled hills and lonely chapels and little rivers full of salmon trout.


Deep, dark mysteries

4 June 2011 12:00 am

For Peter Ackroyd, the subterranean world holds a potent allure.

Very drôle

28 May 2011 12:00 am

It’s nice to know that the trees lining the roads in Paris have microchips embedded in their trunks, that the city council is controlling the pigeon population by shaking the eggs to make them infertile and that the Café Voisin served elephant consommé during the 1870 siege.

Enchanting waters

14 May 2011 12:00 am

This is a book which is sometimes so private that reading it seems very nearly like an act of invasiveness.


Wheels of fortune

14 May 2011 12:00 am

There are among us a churlish few who consider the term ‘sports personality’ to be an oxymoron.


The trail goes cold

2 April 2011 12:00 am

For centuries, the history of the far North was a tapestry of controversies and mis- understandings, misspellings, dubious arrivals and equally dubious departures.