Notes on…

Fine tuned: RCM students practising in the stunning Britten Theatre

The Britten Theatre

24 June 2017 9:00 am

When friends from overseas with the slightest interest in music ask for recommendations about what to see in London, I…

Sheep thrills: holidaying on a working farm

West Middlewick Farm

17 June 2017 9:00 am

In springtime in our family, we always have the same old argument: where should we go on our summer holiday…

The right kind of doorstep: Richmond in 1970

The view from the doorstep

10 June 2017 9:00 am

You have probably been hearing a lot about doorsteps recently. Politicians love to demonstrate how much they care about ordinary,…

Crowning glory: McCaw at Twickenham in 2015

A rugby legend

3 June 2017 9:00 am

‘There’s a chance we’ll meet up with Richie McCaw in Christchurch,’ proffered the PR on our New Zealand press trip.…

A vine romance: now with added sparkle

The vineyards of Kent

27 May 2017 9:00 am

As a wine bore, holidays abroad are a battle with the family to cram in as many vineyard visits as…

The prettiest tourist trail, with added chocolate

Why Theresa May would love Switzerland’s railways

20 May 2017 9:00 am

When Theresa May went off to Switzerland on a walking holiday last August, she said it was the ‘peace and…

Winston Churchill’s favourite dinner guest

Kaspar the Savoy cat

13 May 2017 9:00 am

How to solve the problem of an unlucky 13 people at dinner? Developing a rational mind is the obvious answer,…

‘A spectacle of strength and savage wildness’

Scafell Pike

6 May 2017 9:00 am

Within a couple of miles of England’s deepest point is its highest. Towering a kilometre above the hidden depths of…

Glory days: Charlotte Rampling at the lido in 1965

Ruislip Lido

29 April 2017 9:00 am

Most mornings, if I’m not too hung-over, I go for a run around Ruislip Lido — a mile there, through…

‘The tightest topographic tangle in the world’

The bewildering, chaotic beauty of Genoa

22 April 2017 9:00 am

Some say Genoa takes its name from Janus, the two-faced god of time and doorways. Perhaps. What’s certain is the…

Elegant and gilded: the Everyman in Cheltenham

Frank Matcham

15 April 2017 8:00 am

Go inside the Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham, preferably when it is empty. Look round. Look up. And there it is, with…

Spread the news – it’s huge in Japan

Notes on... marmalade

8 April 2017 9:00 am

Marmalade’s had a rough old time of it lately. A recent report in the Telegraph declared it is dying out;…

Now with relatively little witchcraft: North Berwick

Witchcraft trials, extinct volcanoes — and the best place to live

1 April 2017 9:00 am

My home town is better than yours. Don’t take my word for it. This month North Berwick was crowned ‘best…

Party time... blossoms at Himeji Castle in Japan

Let’s cherish the cherry blossom: its fleeting beauty is like life itself

25 March 2017 9:00 am

In what I like to think of as The Spectator’s back garden — most people call it St James’s Park…

We all love a winner: T.E. Lawrence

Will the tide ever turn on Lawrence of Arabia?

18 March 2017 9:00 am

The centenary of General Allenby’s capture of Jerusalem falls later this year. On 11 December 1917, the commander-in-chief of Britain’s…

The Suffolk side of the Stour

The beauty and heartbreak of Haywain country

11 March 2017 9:00 am

You’ve already seen a picture of the Essex-Suffolk border. Assuming you’ve seen Constable’s ‘The Haywain’, that is: the Stour (the…

The Irish Jewish museum in Dublin

Dublin’s Jewish museum

4 March 2017 9:00 am

I love small museums, and the Irish Jewish Museum in Dublin is a little gem, located in the neighbourhood once…

Good beer, cheap

The wonder of Wetherspoons

25 February 2017 9:00 am

Of all the stories I’ve heard about the fallout from Brexit — families divided, work jeopardised, friendships ended — the…

Rodin’s ‘Gates of Hell’: more than 300 figures, including a panther-like Eve

Why Auguste Rodin preferred to sculpt women who couldn’t sit still

18 February 2017 9:00 am

The girl who posed for Auguste Rodin’s figure of Eve on the ‘Gates of Hell’ was, the sculptor said, a…

Love unflinching: every child should know it

Why every child should know a dog

11 February 2017 9:00 am

Henry, our springer spaniel, has died, suddenly and prematurely. With the passing weeks, we are becoming accustomed to the strange…

A storm brewing over Hill Hill Hill

The magic and strangeness of British placenames

4 February 2017 9:00 am

British placenames are so good you can read the map for entertainment rather than navigation. Hardington Mande-ville, Bradford Peverell, Carlton…

The badge of an all-transcending fellowship

Corduroy

28 January 2017 9:00 am

Every Christmas, I ask my loved ones for at least two pairs of corduroy trousers. Off with a sigh tramps…

Going off-piste: some people just can’t wait

In praise of late-season skiing

21 January 2017 9:00 am

There’s trouble brewing in the Alps. Skiers arriving in the mountains over Christmas were greeted, not by snow-clad chalets and…

Let someone else do the polishing

Why I turned down two free cars

14 January 2017 9:00 am

On two occasions, sainted members of my family have offered me a car for nothing. Both times, I turned them…

‘Pub owners are particularly keen on quizzes, because quiz teams drink an awful lot’

How pub quizzes became normal

7 January 2017 9:00 am

For more than 20 years now, I have been trudging up the hill to the Prince of Wales in Highgate…