Holidays

Welcome to Robin Hood's merry England

By Anthea Gerrie, May 13, 2010

Robin Hood will be riding through the glen yet again this month, at least on the silver screen - and no doubt Ridley Scott's epic is not the last we'll see of Friar Tuck, Maid Marian or Robin himself.  Nor of Merlin, Lancelot and King Arthur, for that matter, given the fact that myths and legends are woven into our national psyche, and we seem to love keeping them alive.

To make it easier to follow in the footsteps of Robin and other legendary heroes - not to mention a fair few real and legendary villains - Visit England has launched a new Myths and Legends map and website.  

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As ash clouds fell, I went wild for the forest

By Anthea Gerrie, May 6, 2010

As friends' plans for exotic holidays were dashed by volcanic ash clouds, it was hard not to feel smug as we strolled, dog in tow, through the dappled sunshine of the New Forest on a perfect spring weekend. When heaven lies on the coastal fringes of Hampshire and Dorset, who needs to take to the skies?

It is no surprise that the odd coven of white witches has settled in this corner of ancient Wessex - and that should be taken as encouragement to visit.  

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Why I found Portugal the natural choice

April 28, 2010

I had been in Portugal for less than 12 hours when I had my first pinch-myself moment. Five courses into an epic supper at Restaurant Arte Náutica near the beach at Portimao, I caught a glimpse of the starry sky. There, twinkling above me, was the plough. A few metres away, the calm waters of the Atlantic gently lapped the sandy shore.

And all around me was nature: palm trees, white sands, mysterious sounds from night owls and other birds. It was idyllic, and there wasn't a golfer, binge drinker or package holiday maker in sight.

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Florida coast gave me Keys

By Andy Mossack, April 22, 2010

I have to confess I fell hopelessly and completely in love with the pelicans. It became my morning ritual to go out the back door of my beach condo and watch them forage around the ocean looking for fish for an hour or so. It was just the birds, me and a glorious stretch of powder-white beach. This was Florida's western Gulf coast, a world away from what many of you would think of Florida.

This coast of Florida and in particular Sarasota and her neighbouring islands Siesta Key, Longboat Key and Anna Maria Island, offer temptingly tropical retreats that are simply too hard to resist.

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On the edge? Visit the Hill

April 15, 2010

Utter the words "holistic retreat" to most people and visions of lentil eating, sandal-wearing, superannuated hippies inevitably pop into their heads. But near Urbino, in Italy's south-west, the Hill that Breathes is a holistic (and, conveniently for the kashrut observant, vegetarian) retreat which is a lot less earnest and a lot more fun than you might expect from the genre.

Indeed, the name of the course - cover your children's ears, now - the "F*** It Week", is probably a clue.

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Chagall, Emin and the joys of Sussex

By Anthea Gerrie, April 8, 2010

The genteel seaside resort of Easbourne may be an unlikely setting for world-class modern art, but its Towner Gallery is one of Britain's best. So good, in fact, that within a year of reopening in a new building, this excellent institution has already been shortlisted for the nation's top museum award, the national Art Fund Prize.

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Hip hotels that breathe life into the historic corners of London

April 1, 2010

It Is a sign of the times that you can pay as much, or more, to stay in a converted car park in a grimy London mews as in a purpose-built palace hotel in leafy Park Lane. And why not, if both offer beautiful rooms, excellent restaurants and five-star service, and the mews is right in the heart of the capital's creative action?

Hip hotels are transforming developing areas of London in the same way they have made New York's Bowery and Meatpacking District unlikely new centres of cool.

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Into the Red and no risk of baby blues

By Stephen Pollard, March 25, 2010

Can I be honest? The thought of our first holiday with Sophie, our six-month-old daughter, filled me with foreboding. Sophie is the sweetest natured baby you could ever meet, but the five hour flight to Eilat, the kerfuffle which always accompanies any flight (especially with El Al security) and the airport transfers were - even before I started to worry about seven days away - enough to make me think that the best holiday would simply involve a few days off work pottering about the house.

I guess that's why I'm not a war reporter: I like to travel in comfort.

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Philadelphia's tourism gains independence

By Andy Mossack, March 18, 2010

Right now it is a building site, a block away from the birthplace of American freedom and opposite the Liberty Bell. Not much to look at yet, but by November it will have been transformed into the National Museum of American Jewish History.

Stretching over five floors and 100,000 square feet, it will showcase more than 350 years of American Jewry and will become the definitive centre for all things Jewish in the USA. Located beside the iconic landmarks of America's birth, it is both a tribute to the US community and a reminder of the role Jews played in shaping America.

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Curtain up for a Lille of what you fancy...

By Sharron Livingston, March 4, 2010

Garish pink and silver curtains drew open, drums rolled and out came the dancing girls. A moment later Phillipe, the compere asked the audience (in French) 'anyone here from Pas de Calais?' Hands went up accompanied by cheers. 'Étrangers bienvenus' – welcome strangers – he chuckled.

Strangers? We were enjoying a dinner/cabaret spectacle at Le Prestige Palace, av du People Belge, (think mini Moulin Rouge) in Lille, located in the Nord Pas de Calais region of Northern France bordering Belgium.

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