The hidden streets of Barcelona; Raval

The hidden streets of Barcelona; Raval

Among the most popular of European city breaks is Barcelona.   Its mild climate, vibrant culture and quick (and inexpensive) flights make it a perfect weekend trip from London. Many visitors are familiar with the popular areas of La Rambla, Place de Catalunya, Park Guell and Diagonal.   But visitors shouldn’t miss the historic area around the [...]

A weekend in medieval Girona

A weekend in medieval Girona

Girona is an historic city in Catalonia in north eastern Spain, close to the Costa Brava and Barcelona.   It has a warm climate, a fascinating history and fine restaurants.   And the city is served by an international airport with frequent, quick and inexpensive flights from London.   All these factors make it ideal for a short break! [...]

England’s Lake District in the life and legacy of Beatrix Potter

England’s Lake District in the life and legacy of Beatrix Potter

Beatrix Potter was born on the 28th July 1866 in South Kensington, London.  She died, 77 years, later in the village of Sawrey in the Lake District, Cumbria.   At the time of her death, she had made a fortune writing books for children.  She left fourteen farms and 4000 acres of land to the National [...]

The Mary Rose – new museum reveals it’s magnificence

The Mary Rose – new museum reveals it’s magnificence

King Henry VIII’s warship, the Mary Rose, sank in the Solent on the south coast of England during an engagement with the French Fleet in July 1545.   The disaster was witnessed by many, including the King.   It was 450 years before she was seen again - after the world’s largest underwater archaeological excavation brought her [...]

Red House – The Arts and Crafts home of William Morris

Red House – The Arts and Crafts home of William Morris

William Morris was an influential designer and one of the leaders of the Arts and Crafts movement - that started in Britain before becoming a world-wide phenomenon.  This is the house where the movement started!   'Arts and Crafts' rejected plain mass produced household furniture and fittings in favour of ambitious, creative and bespoke designs [...]

Hidden treasures of the Cotswolds

Hidden treasures of the Cotswolds

This article gives a route to visit some of the hidden treasures of the Cotswolds, an 'Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty' of around 800 square miles in size and sixty miles to the north-west of London.  Once in the Cotswolds, the route will take you around five hours allowing for stops. Head up the M40 [...]

48 hours in ‘The Athens of the North’

48 hours in ‘The Athens of the North’

Earlier this year, we set off to 'The Athens of the North' to visit some of my old haunts, see the key sights once again - and watch a rather important rugby match. In the early 1800's Edinburgh re-branded itself 'The Athens of the North' to reflect its growing importance.  It has been the capital [...]

How to watch the final stage of the Tour de France in Paris

How to watch the final stage of the Tour de France in Paris

The 105th Tour de France starts on Saturday 7 July in the Vendee.  Some 3500 km later, the 22 teams and 176 riders will aim to complete the 21 stages in Paris, on Sunday 29 July. To see the final stage in Paris, book an early departure (c.7am) on Eurostar (St Pancras to Gare de [...]

Where the Normans landed in 1066!

Where the Normans landed in 1066!

In September 1066, Duke William II of Normandy landed a French force at Pevensey, intent on taking the English throne from King Harold II.  Two weeks later, the English forces were defeated at the Battle of Hastings.  And in December 1066, William II was crowned in Westminster Abbey on Christmas Day - so called William [...]

Codebreaking at Bletchley Park

Codebreaking at Bletchley Park

Back from a fascinating (and technically mind boggling!) visit to Bletchley Park near Milton Keynes.  It's about an hour from London.    Featured in the film 'The Imitation Game', this was where the enemy codes and ciphers (Enigma and then Lorenz) were broken during World War Two.   See the early computing machines that did [...]