Liz Rowlinson

Liz Rowlinson is a property writer and Editor of A Place in the Sun

Why Crete is the ideal island for a second home

Crete has a long and illustrious history: birthplace of Zeus, king of the Greek gods, and the seat of the Minoan ruler King Minos who is said to have ruled from a palace of 1,000 rooms.  The largest Greek Island, and nearly the one nearest to Africa (bar it’s tiny neighbour Gavdos) it’s also the

Inside the new commuter belt: from Oxfordshire to Essex

The rise of hybrid working has meant buyers are willing to endure a longer commute so they can have a bigger house. London’s newly expanded commuter belt now includes many locations within a 90-minute ride, which have become hot spots in the ‘race for space’. But access to the capital is still important for part-time

Solar panels in, swimming pools out: 2023’s property trends

Inflation has finally dipped a little but is still riding high, and mortgage rates may still rise further: Britain’s households are suffering a pay squeeze. But what are home-owners still spending their money on – and what has fallen out of favour? Here is Spectator Life‘s guide to the winners and losers in the property

What’s behind the bungalow boom?

‘Bungalows are almost perfect,’ as the old gag goes. ‘They only have one floor.’ But these once unfashionable properties are rapidly becoming anything but a joke. While the mortgage crisis is cooling most sectors of the housing market, demand for bungalows is growing. Estate agents report the properties receiving dozens of offers, selling for tens

Move over Brighton: is Folkestone the next coastal property hotspot?

As the recent heatwave simmered on, tempura oysters were being washed down with chilled rosé on the beachfront tables at Little Rock, an offshoot of Folkestone’s Michelin starred Rocksalt restaurant. Looking from the shipping container that houses it past a handful of palm trees down the long shingle beach, a huge crane punctuated the clear

Forget Florence – try Lucca

Better located, conveniently compact and free from busloads of tourists, the city of Lucca is emerging out of the shadow of Florence. Tourists and holiday home buyers are discovering that the northern Tuscan province is an excellent alternative to Chiantishire.  Within an hour of both Pisa and Florence airports, it’s the perfect weekend getaway, but

Blooming expensive: the growing cost of a garden

As Cicero is often (mis)quoted as saying, if you have a garden and a library, that is all you need. And since the pandemic, our love of a garden has only got greater. Yet these days it’s often less about getting your hands dirty in the flowerbeds and more about having somewhere to kick back

How to spend 48 hours in Hiroshima

Tourism is well and truly back in Japan, with packed flights and full hotels during the popular sakura (cherry blossom) season last month. And from today, all eyes will be on Hiroshima as it hosts the 49th G7 summit – an event that Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has promised will showcase the ‘charms of

The Eurovision effect: how Liverpool is changing its tune

Few British cities can rival the musical heritage of Liverpool – and as the Eurovision Song Contest arrives back in the UK after 25 years, Merseyside is getting ready for its moment in the spotlight. An extra 150,000 visitors are expected to descend on the city for the sell-out event this weekend. While the world’s

How padel courts became hot property

Peloton has peaked and troughed, wild swimming has made its splash – and now, it seems, it’s padel’s turn for the prime spot. Said to be the world’s fastest-growing racket sport, the game – a hybrid of tennis and squash, with a dash of ping pong – is fun and sociable (it’s played in doubles)

In defence of the 15-minute city

At the end of last year, the subject of the ‘15-minute city’ began to creep into neighbourhood WhatsApp groups, interrupting the usual discussion of lost cats, car crime and blocked drains. Oxfordshire County Council had proposed a traffic-zoning scheme to reduce car usage in the city – and suggested that to address unnecessary journeys, every

The rise of the ‘workation’

The biggest single driver of last year’s property boom was the surge in working from home. For many, the commute went from daily chore to occasional concern, enabling them to move to areas that previously seemed beyond reach, from the Cotswolds to Cornwall. But others have gone further still – swapping ‘work from home’ for

Not enough snow on the slopes? Try Tromsø

Europe’s ‘winter heatwave’ has left large parts of the Alps and Pyrenees bereft of snow over the past fortnight, causing grassy pistes and cancelled ski holidays. So where to go for a guaranteed winter wonderland? Well, Tromsø in Norway is 350km north of the Arctic Circle, so reliably snowy. In an average winter, it sees

Would you co-own your holiday home?

Imagine dividing up your holiday time between your farmhouse in Tuscany, your villa on the French Riviera, your Mallorcan townhouse, your cottage in the Cotswolds and your apartment in Chamonix. Instead of dealing with the hassle of renting such properties, or the upkeep of owning each one of them, you just turn up and everything

The remaking of Margate

The faded splendour of 1980s Margate is the backdrop for Sam Mendes’s new film Empire of Light, starring Olivia Colman and Colin Firth. Coming to UK cinemas on 9 January, it’s about a romance in the north Kent seaside town and the revival of a striking 1930s cinema with a distinctive brick ‘fin’ tower. Renamed

A house-hunter’s guide to Somerset

It’s famed for cider, cheese and Glastonbury, but there’s much more to love about Somerset.  Alongside a popular private members’ club (Babington House) and a global gallery outfit (Hauser & Wirth), its most in-vogue country house hotel (The Newt) has helped to attract a steady stream of creative emigres. Among those embracing the county’s way

Why househunters are heading to Royal Berkshire

When the Prince and Princess of Wales announced they were moving their family to the Royal County of Berkshire this summer, estate agents reported a ‘flurry’ of enquiries about properties around Windsor and the village of Bucklebury, 50 minutes west on the M4. The Middleton family had already been increasing their interests in and around

In the dog house: how pets are reshaping the property market

Since the pandemic, the UK’s dog population has boomed to more than 12 million, with a third of households owning one. But while once we might have been content to kit them out with their own kennel, now it seems they’re dictating what sort of home we want for ourselves.  Buyers are increasingly seeking out properties

How to join the Greenwich set

The steamy Netflix period drama Bridgerton might not immediately put you in mind of the Tory inner circle. (Liz Truss for one has professed to be fan of grittier TV dramas such as Scandi crime thriller The Bridge.) Yet the two have some common ground – and it can be found in Greenwich, south-east London.

Where to invest on Italy’s islands

A world away from TV dating reality shows, raucous party boats and the VIP areas of nightclubs in the Balearics, the Italian islands are hard to beat when it comes to understated chic. Harder to reach too, and generally more arduous places to purchase a home in, the islands can offer property hunters something special.