Notes on…

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…

First he brought limp salad, and now it’s drizzling

The pitfalls of picnics (and how to avoid them)

4 July 2015 9:00 am

Strange, isn’t it, that despite having such famously terrible weather, we Brits are so fond of a picnic. It’s something…

Brugge: best not to call it Bruges

Woe betide you if you try to speak French in Flanders

27 June 2015 9:00 am

Usually, one of the first indications that you’ve entered a bilingual country is that the road signs are in two…

How very English: picnics at Glyndebourne

Country house picnics (with some ace opera attached)

20 June 2015 9:00 am

I stole a blanket last night. Rather a nice one, in fact. I feel bad about it, of course, but…

Life on the fast track: Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv

13 June 2015 9:00 am

Just so you don’t get it confused with the City That Never Sleeps, Tel Aviv — my favovurite place on…

Would he rather have had the money?

How to buy a father’s day present (if you must)

6 June 2015 9:00 am

No man ever watched a £20 note flutter from an opened Father’s Day card and thought: ‘How disappointing — not enough…

Alpine joys in summer

You don’t have to be super-rich to enjoy St Moritz in summer

30 May 2015 9:00 am

Here’s a tip: when travelling to St Moritz, it’s best not to mention the name of your final destination to…

Guild houses in the Grote Markt, Antwerp

Antwerp: the compact, charming capital of a country that doesn’t quite exist yet

23 May 2015 9:00 am

Napoleon didn’t think much of Antwerp. ‘Scarcely a European city at all,’ he scoffed. If only he could see it…

Le Perche: every farmyard looks like a painting

Beauty, tragedy and black pudding: the delights of Normandy

16 May 2015 9:00 am

I am compiling a list of the best black puddings. It began in Spain when I encountered my first morcilla…

A stormy day in Hastings, Barbados

The swankier the hotel, the sulkier the tourists

9 May 2015 9:00 am

Unusually, I didn’t leave the British Isles until I was 35, when I went to the Maldives for a fortnight.…

A beautiful maze: Marseille’s Old Town

The pleasures of getting lost in Marseille

2 May 2015 9:00 am

If you haven’t been lost in Marseille then you can’t have been there. As Alexandre Dumas wrote, this is a…

A serious business

A wine pro finds himself out of his depth at the Varsity Blind Wine Tasting Match

25 April 2015 9:00 am

One of the great jokes of the wine trade is: ‘Have you ever confused Burgundy with Bordeaux?’ ‘Not since this…

Møns Klint as painted by Claudia Massie

‘Was the baby naughty?’: Gory frescoes, spectacular cliffs and herring with a toddler in Denmark

18 April 2015 9:00 am

The sky over the island of Møn, which is at the bottom right of Denmark, was cobalt and the whitewashed…

Preparations are already under way

Introducing the first Spectator readers’ cruise

11 April 2015 9:00 am

It’s a complete recipe for disaster of course. By which I mean being trapped at sea with The Spectator’s ‘Low…