Notes on…

Going it alone: The Tibbets cottage on Lundy

No wi-fi, no TV and no neighbours – staying with the Landmark Trust is bliss

16 June 2018 9:00 am

About halfway across Lundy, if you’re trudging from the landing bay towards the north lighthouse, there’s a tiny holiday cottage…

The nuclear plant at Dounreay

Notes on... Nucleus, the shiny new slightly secret nuclear archive

9 June 2018 9:00 am

Doubtless Spectator readers based in Caithness will scoff when I say that the old fishing port of Wick (top right…

How to silence Henry James: the Pont du Gard

Only the south of France could silence Henry James

2 June 2018 9:00 am

‘Saint-Tropez?’ said the French mother of a friend. ‘C’est un peu… “tacky”.’ She was distressed to think of our taking…

Inspired touch: Asterix creators René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo (seated) in 1967

Asterix and the sheer brilliance of his creators

26 May 2018 9:00 am

A sterix, te amamus! For those not lucky enough to learn their Latin from the dazzling René Goscinny and Albert…

Back to the 1950s: You can’t beat an English beach scene

Nothing quite beats a British beach

19 May 2018 9:00 am

‘May I take a picture of your snake?’ I asked the tattooed man with a python around his neck, regretting…

Shirtmaker Simone Abbarchi

12 May 2018 9:00 am

The Premio Rezzori literary prize — held every May in Florence — is named after the Austrian writer Gregor von…

Hot spot: ‘The Switzerland of Derbyshire’

Welcome to Matlock Bath, the ‘Switzerland of Derbyshire’

5 May 2018 9:00 am

Revisiting cherished childhood memories can be dispiriting; everything appears diminished and one leaves questioning the nature of perception. Were we…

Community spirit: Chelsea Green high street

In praise of Chelsea Green, a London oasis

28 April 2018 9:00 am

Splats of calves’ liver in a puddle of blood; rabbits, headless, stretched and stripped of fur; and plucked poussins, nestling…

The joy of University Challenge

21 April 2018 9:00 am

One programme that still shines out as a beacon of intellectual rigour among the sea of dross on television is…

Pace and quiet: walking can be therapeutic

The highs – and occasional lows – of long-distance walking

14 April 2018 9:00 am

Long-distance walking is all the rage these days. There are all-nighters staged by charities, for instance the annual MoonWalk in…

Barren, windswept beauty: the town’s beachfront

Southend-on-Sea has long been a running joke – until now

7 April 2018 9:00 am

Standing at the end of Britain’s longest pier, on a cold and misty morning, looking out across the Thames Estuary,…

‘Waterloo Bridge, Overcast Weather’ (1899-1903)

Monet painted London not brick-by-brick, but light-by-shade

31 March 2018 9:00 am

The Savoy was too sumptuous, complained Claude Monet, returning to the hotel in 1904. His rooms — one for sleeping,…

Magdalen College Chapel

The joy of evensong

24 March 2018 9:00 am

When Palestrina wrote his Mass settings and motets, or J.S. Bach his cantatas and passions, they could not have imagined…

Contessa Teresa Guiccioli

Notes on… Lord Byron in Venice

17 March 2018 9:00 am

‘I want to see Venice, and the Alps, and Parmesan cheeses.’ So wrote Lord Byron in 1814, some two years…

Katherine Mansfield (1888-1923) in about 1920

The Katherine Mansfield House

10 March 2018 9:00 am

One of the more surprising attractions of Wellington, New Zealand’s small but perfectly formed capital city, is what might be…

Moorish: Otmoor’s beautiful, desolate landscape

Why Evelyn Waugh, Lewis Carroll and the Romans loved Otmoor

3 March 2018 9:00 am

‘Don’t sit down too long my duck, you might be doing nothing,’ reads the inscription memorialising Barbara Joan Austin (4…

Night at the museum: the city’s skyline

Majestic Vienna makes a point of selling the right kind of celebrity

24 February 2018 9:00 am

Two things always strike me when I visit Vienna. The first is how easterly the city lies. This was more…

Founded by Constantine: the Catholic cathedral

Marx in Trier

17 February 2018 9:00 am

‘Trier hates you,’ reads the graffiti outside the Karl-Marx-Wohnhaus in Trier. Actually, that’s a bit unfair. Trier doesn’t hate Marx,…

For ever France: the Abbaye Saint-Michel

Abbaye Saint-Michel, a little corner of England that’s forever France

10 February 2018 9:00 am

‘A little corner of England which is for ever France, irreclaimably French.’ That is how the Catholic priest Monsignor Ronald…

A nose for trouble: the beagle

Playful, adorable – and with a real nose for trouble: In praise of the beagle

3 February 2018 9:00 am

Harvey’s finest moment, he would tell you, was the chicken kiev. I’d just made the garlic butter and inserted it…

Superfood: Salty shellfish straight from the sea

The salty charms of Leigh-on-Sea

27 January 2018 9:00 am

I have fallen in love with the c2c, a whisker of a train that is never delayed. It operates between…

No strings: padel is played with a solid racquet

Padel power! But will this crazy new sport ever be a hit?

20 January 2018 9:00 am

When we arrived, we discovered that our villa had a padel court. Few of us had seen one before and…

Canals and calm: Enjoying life in the slow lane

Britain’s real-life canals are as mystical and marvellous as Philip Pullman’s books

13 January 2018 9:00 am

Philip Pullman’s latest missal, La Belle Sauvage, once again features the boat-dwelling Gyptians. Rough and honourable, they emerge from the…

A cure for wanderlust: 23 hours in economy

Spending 23 hours in economy class will cure anyone’s wanderlust

6 January 2018 9:00 am

For some reason, I decided to go to the other side of the world for Christmas. I may never do…

Forman smokes wild salmon, too — for a price

Why smoked salmon doesn't taste anything like it should

16 December 2017 9:00 am

I’m just about old enough to remember when smoked salmon was a rare treat. Then, around 1986 or 1987, suddenly…