Tag Archives: Fiction

South West England’s 2015 Hotspots

Docks and Painted Houses overlooking Bristol waterfront

2012 was all about London courtesy of the Olympics and the Golden Jubilee, whereas 2014 saw Yorkshire in the spotlight thanks to the Tour de France, resulting in a tourism boom that lasted long after the cyclists had left. As for 2015, I predict it’ll be South West England’s year. Here’s what you should aim to do when you visit the region.

Step Inside Wolf Hall at Montacute House, Barrington Court and Wells Cathedral, Somerset

The latest BBC period drama is based on Hilary Mantel’s hugely popular novels, Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies, which cover life at Henry VIII’s court for Thomas Cromwell and others close to the king. Historic locations across England, particularly in the South West, were used as backdrops to the program. Montacute House (open for the season from 3rd March) stands in for Greenwich Palace, with scenes shot here including jousting sequences and Anne Boleyn’s arrest. The house itself is Elizabethan and contains a series of Tudor and Elizabethan paintings loaned by London’s National Portrait Gallery. A whole generation of my ancestors used to work at Montacute so I’m particularly fond of it! read more

Hunting for Second-Hand Books Around the World

Traditional Penguin books in a row

There’s nothing like the joy of finding a great pre-loved book – set me up in a branch of Oxfam or a car boot sale and I’m happy as a sandboy, browsing through the goods. I also find they make great souvenirs when I’m travelling (not so much souvenirs for other people, as not everyone appreciates a dog-eared Penguin classic when they were hoping for a nice fridge magnet). Over the last few years I’ve been on quite a few bookish adventures, and these are some of the best… read more

The Grand Budapest Hotel: Tourism on Film

Who fancies a trip to the fictional state of Zubrowka, across several decades? You’ll need to bring an enthusiasm for stealing priceless paintings, an appetite for Mendl’s cakes (think pimped up Laduree macarons and you’re half way there) and an eyeliner pencil to draw on a false moustache like the lobby boy in the very best hotel Zubrowka has to offer. Oh, and a rich old lady clad in Fendi and Prada, if you know any.

No, I haven’t gone completely mad: I’m talking about Wes Anderson’s brilliant new film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, which is an unashamedly quirky tale of tourism, family ties, money, murder and prison etiquette. I fell in love with the film at a recent screening, and I wanted to share some of its best travel-related talking points in more detail. read more

Photo Essay: Vintage Fever at Plaza de Armas, Havana

Ok, so it’s time to focus on the kind of sights that drew me to visit Havana in the first place. Of course, I knew that the crumbling buildings in candy colours would appeal to my love of all things vintage, but one particular spot leapt out during my research: Plaza de Armas, a beautiful square lined with independent stalls selling all kinds of retro pieces, including a hefty amount of books. As a regular visitor to vintage fairs across the south of England, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to find my own piece of kitsch in Cuba. read more

The Centenary Calls in Flanders Fields

As the centenary of the Great War approaches, it’s fair to say that things are already hotting up on the tourism and publicity front.

Whilst I unfortunately missed the WWI talk at World Travel Market last year, due to clashes in my schedule, I did manage to pick up some poppy seeds from the Visit Flanders area and I will be planting them (despite my not-so-green fingered gardening ‘abilities’) in an effort to bring a part of this very real, global event home – I think that offering poppy seeds is a great marketing tool, but also a really personal way to get people involved. After all, the Great War was something that touched the lives of normal citizens and changed the future and fortunes of a whole generation. read more

Travel Blogging in the Future: Time, Space and Cryogenic Freezing

I love the travel blogging community – always one step ahead of technology, never afraid to try something new, these guys really are fearless. So, knowing what an intrepid lot they are, I let my imagination drift towards the future, about 100 years from now, imagining what they’d all be up to (assuming most of little old Planet Earth had been done to death). Here’s what I came up with, based on brief Twitter-style updates.

  • Check out my new post: discovering a new wormhole on my lunchbreak #wormholetravel
  • Still undecided on whether to take your Gap Decade on Mars or Jupiter? See my 3D videos
  • Cryogenic freezing blogger meet-up: don’t forget to request your defrost date for Independence Day in 2200, people! #Brr
  • So, I went back in time to the Middle Ages and made this virtual reality photo diary…
  • Clone holidays: what it’s really like to go on holiday with yourself and fight over the breakfast buffet
  • An expat’s view: why I emigrated to the Planet Zog
  • Read my new e-book guide on holidays for the over-120s – greycationers rule
  • Google Psychic: now Google can read our thoughts, what does this mean for bloggers?
  • Exclusive: vintage photos of the lost Brazilian rainforest
  • #TravJournoReq Can anyone recommend hotels in Hollywood with great flying car parking?
  • Street food on southern Mercury: my top ten suggestions
  • National Rail live debate: will trains ever run on time?
  • Post-Apocalypse travel seminar: how to beat the odds and survive

Whatever weird and wonderful inventions and discoveries that come to affect how and why we go on adventures, you can bet that a travel blogger will be the first to report back and they’ll give you the inside track. I, for one, can’t wait to see what happens next. read more