Notes on…

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…

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…