Notes on…

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…

The writing on the wall: some of the well-preserved hieroglyphs at Karnak

Tourists are trickling back to Egypt – to beat the crowds, go now

4 April 2015 9:00 am

Egypt’s revolution of 2011 didn’t just get rid of President Mubarak: it did a pretty good job of clearing out…

Let there be light: Saint Peter’s at dawn

Rise early to see the Vatican at its best

28 March 2015 9:00 am

The sun has only just risen in Rome and we are standing bleary-eyed in a short queue outside the Vatican.…

The guilty man: Johann Strauss

Vienna is a crossroads of the world again – but something’s missing

21 March 2015 9:00 am

People get the wrong idea about Vienna and I blame Johann Strauss. His plinky-plonky waltzes have become the soundtrack to…

Manet would recognise it: the Jardin des Tuileries

Seeing Paris through Impressionist eyes

14 March 2015 9:00 am

The spectre of the Charlie Hebdo killings still hangs over Paris. Outside the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, opposite the…

A reliable escape: Mikrolimano

Grim, generous, decaying and hip: the paradoxical charms of Athens

7 March 2015 9:00 am

My first visit to Athens as a student gave me a set of impressions that the present crisis has only…

Dramatic mountains and hidden bays

A cruise around Cleopatra's wedding present

28 February 2015 9:00 am

Legend has it that Mark Antony considered Turkey’s Turquoise Coast so beautiful that, in about 32 bc, he gave it…

An earthquake with a Baroque legacy in Sicily

21 February 2015 9:00 am

Syracuse is a handsome place, steeped in a rich historical broth. At the tip sits Ortygia, an island offshoot, which…

A sniff of the ancient world: Fez’s tanneries

A walk through Fez is the closest thing to visiting ancient Rome

14 February 2015 9:00 am

Fez is one of the seven medieval wonders of the world. An intact Islamic city defined by its circuit of…

Calm and colourful: Burano

How to walk along canals in Venice without feeling like a tourist

7 February 2015 9:00 am

I arrived in Venice believing it would reek of sewage. It didn’t. The walk into the centre went through cobbled…

Decades in the making: Glasgow School of Art

The long ordeal of Mackintosh’s Glasgow School of Art

31 January 2015 9:00 am

I was working on the final edit of my book — a fictionalised account of the year Charles Rennie Mackintosh…

Old mill boards and sea-green slates: Yeats’s tower

On the Yeats trail in Galway

24 January 2015 9:00 am

The Go Galway bus from Dublin sounds an unlikely pleasure, but it is both comfortable and punctual. There is free…

Beauty and exhilaration: hunting in Norfolk

The sheer joy of hunting

17 January 2015 9:00 am

This time three years ago, I hadn’t jumped a single thing for almost ten years. This season, I am happily…