How I tried to get the most out of Africa

By Sharron Livingston, January 20, 2011

'I'm afraid I can't land the plane," announced the pilot. "Because there are animals on the runway."

We had left Nairobi's Wilson airport 45 minutes earlier on a 13-seat Safari Link plane but no one minded the short delay circling the skies before touchdown at Kenya's Masai Mara because we were enjoying the floor show below.

The runway was a strip of mown field and we had a bird's eye view of the loitering zebras and giraffes who were being shooed away.

Landing was smooth and we were met by the drivers of the waiting trucks from our hosts from a tour company called &Beyond.


Going down, but I managed to keep up

January 13, 2011

Toppling over the edge of a ledge of the black piste at Brévent, skis asunder, was a little demoralising for my holiday companion, Samson. He was one of a party of six in the top-level grade four ski group, speeding down the Charles Bozon slope from a height of 2,525 metres, so perhaps he should have known better than to hang back from the posse.


A magnificent land full of memory lanes

By Julie Burchill, January 6, 2011

I always love the feeling of voluntary solidarity with Israel which I experience when going through security with El Al. When the young man or woman says "There is a reason I am asking you these questions", tears spring to my eyes and I really have to stop myself from blurting "I know. I know it all. My life for you, Israel!" in case they think I'm a loony and stop me from boarding.

But this time I had been mucked about so much by the Fattal Hotel chain PR, that my brain was experiencing turbulence before I even set foot on the plane.


Enjoy the white slopes - but do keep it green

By Kathy Carter, December 29, 2010

Flanked by Courchevel and Val Thorens, Méribel turns from a picturesque mountain village in summer into a thriving winter ski resort by December. The pretty alpine flowers give way to crisp, white snow as the temperature drops.

Hikers hang up their boots and winter sports enthusiasts flock here for some of the world's best skiing and snowboarding.

Since being founded by a Briton just over 70 years ago, the resort has stayed popular with British skiers and has managed to retain its reputation as a discerning destination.


This Titanic certainly floated my boat

December 22, 2010

The landscape was unremittingly Yorkshire. Bruise coloured hills and lush green dales speckled with old stone houses and relics from the area's industrial past. Having escaped the family home with my husband for a child-free mini spa break, it was a that the drive itself was so broodingly picturesque. It's fair to say that my other half is not a man who puts pampering high on his to-do list. Let's just say his idea of grooming is cold water, a rough towel and that old bottle of aftershave he picked up at Ben Gurian duty free.


Cozy Landmark get-away you can trust

By Gerald Jacobs, December 9, 2010

Is there anywhere in England more beautiful than the Cotswolds? And is there anywhere more Cotswoldish than Chipping Campden? Its very name has an irresistibly bucolic ring, evoking images of milkmaids and swains, village greens, and pubs serving foaming tankards of ale. And, while it can be relished for its own sake, Chipping Campden is encircled by such radiant villages as Broadway, Moreton-in-Marsh, Stow-on-the-Wold and Shipston-on-Stour, not to mention such splendid, historic towns as Evesham, Cheltenham and Stratford-on-Avon.


Polished up and perfect for a cultural break

By Rebecca Raven, December 2, 2010

You would have little inkling of Hungary's turbulent history from its elegant, unhurried capital, Budapest, which bears a striking resemblance to Paris in the layout of its wide boulevards and Empire architecture, much ofit adorned with exuberant stone decoration.

Until the Chain Bridge was built in 1849, Pest was linked to historic Buda by ferry. When the unified city emerged as the capital in 1872, Jews were an integral part of it, having arrived during the Roman period, and forming a quarter of Budapest's population by 1939.


The Maldives measure up for relaxation

By Barry Toberman, November 25, 2010

Looking out from the privacy of our villa terrace at Coco Palm Bodu Hithi, the view is almost exclusively sun, near cloudless sky and sea, punctuated on rare occasion by a fellow guest snorkelling in the lagoon. Other than the waves of the Indian Ocean lapping against the stilts on which our secluded villa stands, barely a sound intrudes.


Pass the port please, I'm cruising in style

By Jan Shure, November 18, 2010

Sibling rivalry can be a painful business. One moment you are the focus of family attention: pretty, petite, gorgeously turned out and perpetually seen in all the most chi-chi spots. Then along comes a younger sister, more beautiful, better attired and with other enviable assets.


Let a train take you back to the days of the Raj

By Jenni Frazer, November 15, 2010

There is nothing like a train, as the old song nearly had it. Just how true that is I am about to learn. Cruise ship old hands will know the joy of not having to pack and unpack for a multi-centre holiday. Now the last word in luxury travel in India, the Maharajas' Express has launched itself as a palatial hotel on wheels and my home for a glorious week.