Mark Palmer

Mark Palmer is the Daily Mail’s travel editor.

The Terry Venables I knew

You didn’t have to like football to feel some sort of affinity with Terry Venables. He had bags of East London charm, oodles of enthusiasm and glossy good looks (as long as you didn’t mind the gold medallion around his permanently tanned neck). As it happens, I like football very much – so it was

Migrants should want to go to Rwanda

  Kigali The Supreme Court’s ruling that sending migrants to a former hostel in Kigali is illegal strikes another hammer blow to the government, not least because Rwanda gets to keep the £140 million that set up the proposed deal in the first place. Never mind what happens now – and this story is far

Katy Balls, Toby Young and Mark Palmer

15 min listen

On this episode of Spectator Out Loud, Katy Balls discusses the challenges facing prospective PM Liz Truss (00:52). Toby Young shares why he is defending a pro-Putin apologist (06:45) and Mark Palmer reads his notes on hand luggage (11:29). Produced and presented by Oscar Edmondson.

The brutal truth about holiday packing

The general flying advice this year, with airports resembling cattle markets and when you can’t be sure if you’re ever going to take off, is: only travel with hand luggage. Packing a fortnight’s holiday into the tiniest of bags has become an art form. Social media is awash with tips on minimalist packing and dedicated

Britain’s travel ban brings risks of its own

No one knows for sure how many cars are on the road without insurance. The Motor Insurers Bureau puts it as high as one million, and a good number of these won’t have a valid MOT either. Come to think of it, many such uninsured cars without MOTs are likely to be in the hands

The quarantine debacle could cripple Britain’s travel industry

The government’s battle cry in the fight against the pandemic is ‘Follow the science’. But it is hard to see the science behind the disastrous and potentially crippling 14-day quarantine rule which came into effect on Monday — or, rather, failed to come into effect in any meaningful sense of the word. It’s not been

Why Tuscany always beats Provence for me

A family of peacocks is sunning itself in our villa garden. They all look extraordinarily happy and composed, especially the baby one, for whom (like us, come to think of it) this is a whole new experience. But then, the 150 hens wandering in and out of their coops painted like beach huts don’t look

London City Airport

The late Frank Johnson — former editor of The Spectator — had a thing about London City Airport. ‘I never want to fly from anywhere else,’ he would say, often after returning from Germany, a country he loved, not least because of its Wagner connections. He was right, of course. Even today, more than 30

Prophets of gloom

There’s a lot of anger about — and it’s not pleasant. But at least it means people are engaged as well as enraged. What’s more worrying and increasingly irritating is the negativity, the drip-drip of despondency that’s been allowed to seep into so much of daily life. Everything is broken! All is lost! The end

Boxed in

Friends in Herefordshire said they were both fit and well but confessed to ‘watching far too much television’. I thought nothing of it until a Wiltshire couple whom my wife and I have known for ever said almost the same thing but with more foreboding. ‘We’ve got to break the habit of watching so much

Tuning up to Linz

You never know who you might meet on a river cruise. It was my 89-year-old father-in-law, Noel, who first recognised a tall, professorial man only a few years younger than him remonstrating with an uninterested official at Munich airport about a pre-paid taxi to Passau, where we were due to board our ship. ‘That’s Humphrey

Home truths | 29 November 2018

King’s Cross station at 10.30 p.m. is not a happy place. Most commuters have long returned to their centrally heated homes, leaving the concourse free for the homeless to roam randomly in search of a few coins from stragglers. I was there to catch a late train to Potters Bar last week and almost missed


My wife and I have a set routine after landing back at Gatwick. We collect our bags, clear customs and are reunited with our car (Meet and Greet parking is by far the best value for money and avoids an hour or so of inhaling a mini-cab’s ‘vehicle deodoriser’). Then we head for the McDonalds

Durban Notebook

No one likes uncertainty and in Britain we’ve got more than our fair share. But spare a thought for South Africa, where the uncertainty is in danger of morphing into national paralysis. ‘What are your plans for the future?’ I ask a friend who lives near Durban. ‘We have no plans. We might be packing

Political football | 24 May 2018

Politics and sport should never mix is the hoary old chestnut — but they always do. It’s a thrilling concoction. In just under three weeks, the World Cup kicks off in Russia and while I can’t vouch for the quality of the footie, the whole extravaganza is likely to be edge-of-the-seat stuff. At the end,

Good grief

Just over a year ago, my best friend dropped dead. He was in his early sixties and many of us expected him to die, because he was hugely overweight and desperately unhappy — and the ciggies can’t have helped. ‘If you don’t look after yourself, we’re going to lose you,’ was the polite refrain from those

My football lesson

Every now and again my Tube ride to work on the District line is enlivened by children on a school outing. Presumably they are heading for the Science Museum or possibly the National Gallery. Often, they have different coloured badges stuck to their jumpers. As far as I can work out, if, for example, you


When we arrived, we discovered that our villa had a padel court. Few of us had seen one before and no one knew the rules, so we invented them as logically as we could and got on with it. Within a couple of sets we were hooked. Some people started to get up early to

Low spirits

You may have noticed that we’re in the throes of a 21st-century Gin Craze. It’s not as serious as the one which began in the 1720s, when London was awash with the stuff, much of it adulterated with turpentine, alum and sulphuric acid, but it’s still an irritation with no signs of an imminent hangover.