Notes on…

Masterpieces this way

The Venice Accademia: is this the smallest great gallery in the world?

30 January 2016 9:00 am

The Accademia is one of the smallest of the world’s great art galleries, and picture for picture perhaps the most…

Like southern France — with added kangaroos

The lovely Clare Valley, like southern France with added kangaroos

23 January 2016 9:00 am

It is a century and a half since The Spectator noted the exceptional qualities of South Australia, a colony of…

Fairytale pretty: the island of Monte Isola

The world is about to discover the wonders of Lake Iseo

16 January 2016 9:00 am

If you’ve never heard of Lake Iseo, you’re not alone. Nestling shyly between chocolate-box Como and glamorous Garda, the smallest…

Unchanging: St John the Baptist parish church

Lions' wool and other wonders of Cirencester

9 January 2016 9:00 am

Everywhere you look in Cirencester there’s another animal: a cockerel, a hare, a sheep or a skulking lioness. I rather…

Charming: Skanderberg Square in Tirana

Visit Albania now, before it changes too much

2 January 2016 9:00 am

Seferis’s line about his native Greece, ‘Our country is a closed in place, all mountains’, haunted my mind as I…

View of the Bay of Naples, 1832

The delights and dangers of the Grand Tour

21 November 2015 9:00 am

The Grand Tour usually culminated with Naples, ragamuffin capital of the Italian south, where Vesuvius offered a visual education in…

Hallowed place: Alpine scenery near Grimentz

The secret ski resorts where the real sport lives

14 November 2015 9:00 am

Skiing holidays have a problem. They’ve lost their sense of adventure. Yes, the first flurries of winter which arrived recently…

Dresden’s Striezelmarkt dates back to 1434

What's so special about German Christmas markets

7 November 2015 9:00 am

Why the fuss about German Christmas markets? Surely they’re just schmaltzy shanty towns, full of stuff you’d never dream of…

The romanticism of fell and water

Wrestling with the romantic glory of the Lake District

29 October 2015 9:00 am

Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling is the best thing in the Lake District. I lived near Wigton, just north of the…

Sand that might be mistaken for Caribbean

Anglesey: la dolce vita in north Wales

24 October 2015 9:00 am

We teased our friends by saying that our holiday would be on a far-away island. The Maldives, perhaps? No, Anglesey,…

Adventures on the isle that seduced Odysseus

17 October 2015 9:00 am

Gozo — Malta’s tiny island neighbour — was once rather a crucial spot in the Mediterranean. The Knights of Malta…

Look out below: one of The Hague’s gargoyles

Look beyond ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ in The Hague

10 October 2015 9:00 am

What a fate it is to be hung next to the most famous painting in a gallery. To be overlooked,…

Transatlantic grandeur: A Cunard liner in 1932

Notes on cruising

3 October 2015 8:00 am

By the end of my ten-day Atlantic crossing to New York, a new wellbeing seemed to radiate from me. Lulled…

Autumn: time for a pie

Autumn, season of conkers and new boots

26 September 2015 8:00 am

Each year when I see the first conker of the autumn I think: fire up the ancestral ovens! This incendiary…

La Baule: the view from the beach

Having a ball in La Baule

19 September 2015 8:00 am

The reaction of the chap on the door at Le Bidule told me that they weren’t used to seeing English…

She knows who’s next

Six rules for a perfect pub

12 September 2015 9:00 am

Whenever one of those news stories appears about how many pubs have been forced to close in the last year,…

Dublin: a small town wrapped in a great city

Theatre, gossip and Guinness: the craic of Dublin

5 September 2015 9:00 am

What a delight it is to toy with a wooden newspaper-holder rather than a smartphone, tucked away in the cosy…

What happens when they’ve climbed the ladder?

The lessons of exam results season (and what to do about them)

29 August 2015 9:00 am

Every year without fail, as the trees start thinking about losing their leaves, the papers are full of the same…

Escape Antigua’s tourists (but be ready to confront some grim secrets)

22 August 2015 9:00 am

‘Tourism, tourism and tourism,’ said my Antiguan cab driver, when I asked what the country’s main industries were. Still, it’s…

The Alster: Hamburg’s centrepiece

Wealthy, cosmopolitan – and sometimes rough: the secrets of Hamburg (and my grandmother)

15 August 2015 9:00 am

‘What was it like growing up in Liverpool?’ a journalist asked John Lennon. ‘I didn’t grow up in Liverpool,’ he…

Oporto: a touch of North Africa and no hipsters

Tripe, pale tawny port and LSD: the delicious flavours of Oporto

8 August 2015 9:00 am

‘When he’s away, the thing he misses about Porto is the tripe.’ I was talking to Eduarda Sandeman, wife of…

Look homeward, angel: Glasgow Necropolis

The graveyard where old Glasgow lives on

1 August 2015 9:00 am

A wet walk in a Glaswegian graveyard might not be your idea of fun, but then you might not have…

Please don’t faint: Florence at sunset

The first things you should do in Florence

25 July 2015 9:00 am

The British have always been in love with Florence. First visits cannot disappoint. One friend recalls being herded around as…

Selling power: a Spitting Image Thatcher puppet

Which political souvenirs are worth hanging on to

18 July 2015 9:00 am

My first reaction on hearing of Margaret Thatcher’s death in 2013 was: ‘Great — now my autograph from her will…

Tides of wealth: Polzeath beach

Would Betjeman recognise anything about today’s north Cornwall?

11 July 2015 9:00 am

In a documentary filmed at the end of his life, Sir John Betjeman, who lived in the village of Trebetherick…