Holidays

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.

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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.

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UK for better or for verse

By Anthea Gerrie, November 4, 2010

Hull is not Britain's most obvious tourist destination, but Philip Larkin has put it firmly on the map. Several buildings closely associated with the controversial poet - who lived in this coastal city for the last half of his life - have been highlighted on a trail recently launched to mark the 25th anniversary of his death.

A logical place to start is Paragon Station, where a statue of the writer, born in 1922, will be unveiled on December 2. He took many rail journeys and was a regular at the nearby Royal Hotel, where he enjoyed many a lunch in the Brigantine Room.

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Cocktails and casinos? Try a trip to Ostend

By Sharron Livingston, October 28, 2010

Ostend enjoyed its heyday in the 1950s, '60s and early 70s but - like the clothes, furniture and hairstyles of the period - it is making something of a comeback. And with LD Lines offering a new direct ferry service from the UK, autumn - or spring - is a great time to acquaint yourself with the Flemish seaside city that was a favourite of Belgium's kings, Leopold I and II.

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Freewheeling and high on mountain air

By Paul Berger, October 26, 2010

It is 10am and I am sitting on a hillside on the southwestern shore of Kinneret, puddles of sweat collecting on the ground below. I have been riding, with a friend, in the July heat for four hours. We are not sure where we are or how we are going to get down the hill. I ran out of water half an hour ago.

I am in the Galil to explore two short sections of the 85-mile bike trail that winds up, down and around the hills that surround Lake Kinneret, the lowest freshwater lake in the world.

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Bubbles at the double

By Sharron Livingston, October 14, 2010

It was a warm, sunlit day in the cathedral city of Reims, France's Coronation City, in the Marne region of Champagne Ardenne. But inside it was a cool 10 degrees with 85 per cent humidity, the lights were dim, Je t'aime - the song Radio 1 banned for being too sexy, remember? - was playing. Above me were a bas relief of frolicking naked cherubs, and at the bottom of the stairs was Silus, a Frenchman, waiting to take me into a room full of guitar-playing finches.

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The white stuff and the right stuff in France

By Lucy Tobin, October 7, 2010

The first - and last - time I went skiing was when I was 14. It was a school trip to Alpe D'huez in France, and the teachers told our parents that since we might not enjoy the feeling of hurling down a white mountain in freezing temperatures, it wasn't worth spending hundreds on kit - better to borrow.

So I spent the week in a borrowed all-in-one in bright yellow, purple and brown, and completely a relic from the 1980s.

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Take to fairytale Tallinn for a taste of the Baltic without the beer

By Jennifer Lipman, September 28, 2010

As you stroll around Tallinn, you realise that you're in a place where history hasn't just happened – it has left a lasting mark. The result is that the Estonian capital, which will be European Capital of Culture in 2011, is actually two towns, one wrapped around the other.

There's the quaint old town whose battlements serve to remind visitors of past invasions, not to mention the structures within it that still bear the wounds of devastating Second World War bombings. Graffiti remains from what Estonians soberly call "the Soviet times".

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Tales of the riverbank with Hurley as the star

September 21, 2010

Living in London, as I do, one tends to think of the Thames as nothing more than a dividing line between the lovely North and the grotty South. Unfair on many levels, but mainly because, having just spent a weekend in the Berkshire village of Hurley - midway between Henley and Marlow as the river flows - I now know it to be a divine stretch of waterway teeming with life and beauty.

And what's more, if, like me, you were under the aforementioned illusion, it can be shattered moments after arriving in this delicious slice of England's green and pleasant land.

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Italy's Greek island is perfect for a touch of autumn sun

September 16, 2010

The Greeks knew a good thing when they saw it. Arriving on Sicily's lush eastern coast nearly 3,000 years ago, they settled, prospered and expanded until they had colonised most of this fertile island suspended between Europe and Africa.

Their spirit remains alive and well in what is today an exquisite holiday playground. The fact that the warmest welcome and loveliest hotels and villas are concentrated in the east is attributed by locals to the nous of the commercially-minded Greeks whose descendants are Sicily's congenial hosts.

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