Holidays

Lille’s non-stop arts festival

By Sharron Livingston, April 30, 2009

Lille is hosting a city-wide festival of contemporary art until July and celebrations are in full swing.

Getting there is just a 90-minute ferry hop across the Channel to Calais followed by a 45-minute dash by car, or in less than two hours as a foot passenger by Eurostar to this gorgeous Flemish town, one of Europe’s hottest destinations for culture vultures.

More..

Ireland: Making a reel song and dance of it

By Dana Gloger, April 30, 2009

Despite being so close to home, Ireland is one of those places I have never quite got around to visiting, so the Galway Arts Festival seemed like the perfect excuse to take a trip to the republic.

Two weeks of theatre, dance, comedy, music, parades, and with a chance to sample the west coast of Ireland struck me as an ideal way to spend a long July weekend.

More..

Is this really Benidorm?

By Jeannine Williamson, April 23, 2009

I’m sitting on the terrace of the Luxor restaurant, in the shadow of the Acropolis and Europe’s longest wooden roller coaster, when the waitress uncorks an excellent bottle of Spanish wine and sets a gourmet selection of starters on the immaculately laid table. Where am I? One of the last places you’d guess would be a theme park in Benidorm.

More..

Vancouver, Canada becomes hip

By Jan Shure, April 23, 2009

It is Vancouver’s little vanity, with its location on the Pacific Ocean, to think of itself as an outpost of America’s West Coast. Or, in more realistic moments, as an annexe of Seattle, its closest US big-city neighbour. Certainly, the coffee culture, for which Seattle is most famous, has migrated north with a branch of Starbucks or a local chain on every block of every street of south-west Canada’s premier city.

More..

Thailand: Answering the de-stress call

By John Nathan, April 16, 2009

It wouldn’t occur to me to go anywhere for health reasons unless I was feeling unhealthy. But apparently some of the world’s healthiest people go to health spas. Such bodily perfect members of our species as David Beckham, Serena Williams and Kate Moss, to name but three, have all signed the guest book at Chiva Som, Thailand’s top health spa.

More..

Madeira: Peace in the land of Ronaldo

By Marcus Dysch, April 7, 2009

Hurtling down the side of a mountain in a wicker basket supported by wooden slats and steered by two slightly tipsy gentlemen who don’t speak English may seem a rather peculiar way to spend a supposedly relaxing break. But in Madeira this is about as exciting as it gets. And that’s the whole point.

The birthplace of World Footballer of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo does not pretend to share his pace and flamboyance, but is instead, a quiet retreat for those enjoying their golden years and for those who want a restful break from the stress of city life.

More..

Touring the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

By Charlotte Eder, March 26, 2009

Darwin’s initial impression of the Galapagos Islands was not promising: “Nothing could be less inviting than the first appearance,” he declared when, in 1835, he arrived at this archipelago, straddling the equator, 630 miles west of Ecuador.

When I arrived last autumn with my husband and two children for a sailing trip around the islands my first impression was more positive. Sunshine, calm blue sea and the promise of wildlife of a variety and exuberance that would keep our cameras clicking throughout our trip.

More..

Paris in a day? Check out Le Marais

By Jan Shure, March 19, 2009

The person who originally said that to travel was better than to arrive, could very well have been talking about the Eurostar service from London to Paris following its move north from Waterloo.

More..

Bali is beautiful even away from the beaches

By Anthea Gerrie, March 19, 2009

If there could be a greater treat for the spirit than swinging gently in a hammock taking in the fragrant scents and exotic sounds of a warm Balinese night, it could only be having a clutch of wellness gurus waiting in the wings to tend to mind and body when a new day dawns.

Rural Bali is a healer’s dream of peace, stillness and beauty — think shimmering rice paddies, silent stone temples and exquisite little offerings of carved fruit and flowers set in trays outside every doorway.

More..

How a Cotswold hotel slaughtered my day

By Stephen Pollard, March 12, 2009

Lower Slaughter Manor, in the Cotswolds village of Lower Slaughter, is described on its website as displaying “regal luxury”. Not just any old luxury; “regal luxury”. The village so perfectly fulfils the imagined idea we all have of the Cotswolds that it might have been created by Disney. It wasn’t; it’s real. And the drive through the Cotswolds to reach Lower Slaughter is as beautiful a drive as England has to offer.

The first sight of the hotel is imposing and tantalising.

More..