Notes on…

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…

The Watford Locks on the Grand Union Canal

The truth about The Watford Gap

9 December 2017 9:00 am

In a shallow dip between two unremarkable Northamptonshire hills you will find a road, a motorway, a railway and a…

Improbable: a Sri Lanka grey hornbill

Forget temples and tea – Sri Lanka is all about its birds 

2 December 2017 9:00 am

Standing in sweaty silence for an hour on a precipitous sliver of muddy footpath above a waterfall may not be…

The best kind of poem: England on two wheels

The English countryside on two wheels is like the best kind of poem

25 November 2017 9:00 am

No seat belts. No airbags. Just air, and coming at you as fast as you like. Motorcycling shouldn’t be allowed,…

Much fun: Usain Bolt and Wenlock the mascot

Which town directly inspired the revival of the Olympics? Clue: it's not in Greece

18 November 2017 9:00 am

There were two mascots for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. One was called Mandeville, obviously because Stoke Mandeville’s games…

Irish chic: the Duchess of Cornwall with Dubarrys

Why does the Duchess of Cambridge wear French wellies when British is best?

11 November 2017 9:00 am

‘Foot – foot – foot – foot – sloggin’ over Africa — / (Boots – boots – boots – boots –…

Modigliani’s ‘Les deux filles’

Dinner at Modigliani’s

4 November 2017 9:00 am

When you arrive for dinner and your host is massaging a purple cauliflower, you know you’re in for an interesting…

Notes on Lewes

28 October 2017 9:00 am

Autumn is upon us, and the streets are full of families in fancy dress. People of all ages are dressing…

My new forté: shimmering Ravel on a shining sea

Cruise ship pianists

21 October 2017 9:00 am

When Crystal Cruises invited me to join their flagship as the guest classical pianist for a springtime voyage around the…

Right track: The trains are cheap and on time

Spain’s trains are fast, cheap and on time... so how do we get it so wrong?

14 October 2017 9:00 am

The first railway line in Spain, from Barcelona to Mataro a few miles up the coast towards the French border,…

Hidden den: Gerry’s Club on Dean Street

Step into Soho’s hidden drinking clubs, portals into another world

7 October 2017 9:00 am

When someone says ‘Let’s go for a drink at my club’, what do you imagine? A grand St James’s establishment…

The Old Town seen from the Charles Bridge

Notes on Prague, city of beer, music, and art-nouveau wonders

30 September 2017 9:00 am

Prague. Prague. It helps to say the name at least twice as a countermeasure to the ridiculous ease of modern…

School of thought: the site of the first college in Bishopsgate

Gresham College, the original school of thought

23 September 2017 9:00 am

How many people need to gather together before it becomes more likely than not that at least two of them…

Star attraction: A detail from Banksy’s mural

How Banksy’s Brexit mural put a smile on Dover’s face

16 September 2017 9:00 am

When people come to Dover, it’s usually to pass through. The magnificent castle on the cliffs may be a tourist…

Woven thread: a 19th-century Arthurian tapestry

Tapestries are beautiful, romantic – and half the price of wallpaper

9 September 2017 9:00 am

It is rare nowadays to see someone pull out a half-finished tapestry from their handbag and get on with their…

Oxford’s spires mark a new beginning

Never mind the Northern Powerhouse – here comes the Oxford to Cambridge corridor

2 September 2017 9:00 am

Oxbridge is an ivory-tower state of mind, perhaps, or at least two ancient rival universities, but how about this: in…

On the up: Saltburn-by-the-Sea’s funicular railway

Saltburn-by-the-Sea is having its Goldilocks moment

26 August 2017 9:00 am

When towns are on the up, there is a brief period when they inhabit what I would call the Goldilocks…