Europe

Flirting with danger in the Maltese sun

June 10, 2010

There was an episode of the classic TV comedy show Alan Partridge that featured the hapless TV host suggesting programme ideas to a BBC1 executive. Monkey Tennis, Inner City Sumo and Arm Wrestling with Chas and Dave were his creative gems. Well, how about this, Alan - Flirting in Malta?

Flirting in Malta sounds like the latest in the series of those horrible Sky Three programmes about drunken louts trying to mate on holiday, but it is an actual holiday idea.

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Solitude and fresh air under a glass roof

By Miriam Shaviv, June 3, 2010

On our first morning in Centre Parcs, my three-year-old daughter stood staring out the patio window of our cottage, into Longleat forest.

"Imma," she turned to me. "Is that a dog?"

I'm not quite sure what I imagined - a snarling dingo? One of the neighbour's pets preparing to pounce? I rushed to the window.

There, right on our doorstep, stood a deer and a bambi. Completely oblivious to our presence, they grazed for a minute or two and quietly trotted off.

It was a stunning moment, which for me encapsulated the Centre Parcs experience.

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Rolling hills and nature's cycle lanes

By Jessica Elgot, May 27, 2010

Zipping along skinny country roads, past craggy moorland and sweeping fields as puffs of clouds drift in bright blue skies, it's hard to place this hidden corner of England. It's wilder than the Cotswolds and quieter than the Lakes, and hidden is how those who know about it would like to keep it.

The Forest of Bowland is one of England's most beautiful country escapes, for ramblers, foodies, cyclists and city-slickers seeking a slower, simpler pace of life.

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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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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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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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Alice's England is just wonderful

By Anthea Gerrie, March 4, 2010

It only opens today, yet half of Britain is already geared up for Alice in Wonderland fever. The new film has inspired catwalk creations, and now it's hoped it will also inspire tourists.

Everyone knows the fictional Alice dreamt of her surreal world while napping by the Thames, but director Tim Burton's wild interpretation of Lewis Carroll's book was based on locations in Devon and Cornwall, while the Carroll trail itself starts in Cheshire.  

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Car-free resort is the peak of perfection

By Alan Montague, February 25, 2010

The Swiss mountain village of Wengen - home of the famous Lauberhorn downhill race - hit the headlines at the end of last year in the worst possible way.

A 23-year-old British man, Myles Robinson, disappeared in the early hours of the morning after a night out in a local bar. His body was found a few days later at the bottom of steep, icy slope, but no one has come up with a convincing explanation as to how it got there.

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