Penrith has for a long time been a stepping stone of a town, the one you might take the train to if you’re spending a few days in the Lake District. So warmly have the locals embraced this status that they’ve even put a 14th-century castle ruin by the station, the better to lure rail passengers to linger.
With popular TV show The Cruise back on our screens, Sally Howard talks to the captain who has become one of its latest stars
From the gram-worthy tiles in Porto to the chic Yves Saint Laurent garden, these are the bluest spots across the globe to add to your bucket list.
Queen of the Plate, Paris of the South, Tangopolis: the nicknames reveal why Buenos Aires doesn't disappoint. A beguiling conflation of European historic outpost and contemporary Latin American sprawl, BA – as expats call it – was once the capital of one of the world's wealthiest nations. Its French and Italianate buildings, graceful plazas and cultural life are the envy of most Old World cities. Thirteen million people live in Greater BA, its suburbs fanning out into the surrounding pampas.
You could probably argue that the mind of the architect has never dreamed up a style of building quite as romantic as the Gothic fortress. There is something about its points and precision - sharp turrets pointing towards the heavens, a room at the top perfect for a trapped princess or a fairytale character in some curious peril - that sings across the centuries. What, after all, is the Cinderella Castle - the fibreglass fantasy which adorns Disney theme parks across the planet - but a modern evocation of this grand design?
Walk along Queen Victoria Street, just around the corner from St Paul’s Cathedral, and you will see a chalkboard in the middle of the pavement. It doesn’t say something zany like ‘Sex sells! Unfortunately we sell coffee’ or ‘It’ll rain now I’ve put this board out’.
A.A. Milne observed the adventures his son, Christopher Robin, had with his toys in the woods by their home in Ashdown Forest, East Sussex, gaining inspiration for the beloved Winnie the Pooh books. To mark the renowned author's birthday (also known as Winnie the Pooh Day), we explore this corner of south-east England.
Low-slung Vientiane hugs the middle Mekong and is the growing capital of landlocked Laos. Originally known as the City of Sandalwood, it’s a quirky mix of beautiful Buddhist temples, Communist monuments, smart French colonial villas (plus a raft of neglected ones), cosmopolitan cafés, and an excellent foodie scene. It’s an essential visit for cruise passengers looking to understand this Southeast Asian nation.
It’s time to flee the winter chill and get roasting on a beautiful Caribbean escape. Pick an island and set your dial to chillout mode.
The hand-written sign leaning against the old stone wall that protects Norfolk Island’s historic former Legislative Assembly building declares: “Norfolk Island under siege!!!”
In mid-afternoon at the South Rim, it was hard to believe that Americans once had to be encouraged to visit the Grand Canyon. Daytrippers, fresh off the train after a two-hour journey from Williams, pouted at the end of selfie sticks; hikers sweated the last yards up the Bright Angel Trail; diners in the El Tovar Hotel gazed through the windows over the crumbs of their club sandwiches; and browsers in the gift shop dithered over the Grand Canyon thirstystone coasters, the Grand Canyon prickly pear taffy, and the beige cotton Grand Canyon National Park bandana, complete with topographic map of the Colorado River, that carver of the chasm.
Staying safe when skiing or snowboarding in the mountains is crucial – an important part of that is being aware of the risk of avalanche where you are, being prepared when heading off piste, and knowing what to do should an avalanche happen.
Five hundred years ago, on May 2 1519 in Amboise, in the Loire Valley, Leonardo da Vinci died. There is a romantic legend that he breathed his last in the arms of his 24-year-old patron, François I. In fact, the French king was at least a day’s ride away at the time. Leonardo probably died in the bedroom of his grace and favour château Clos Lucé, before burial in the Chapel of Saint-Hubert in the grounds of the royal Château d’Amboise.
Los Angeles has long been looked down on by its East Coast counterparts, but now that the rest of world has caught up with California’s green juice and wellness obsession, the city is having something of a moment. No longer deemed a cultural wasteland, LA is bursting with new art galleries and museums, a flourishing fashion scene and some of the most talked about restaurants in America.
An insider's guide into the top palace hotels in India, including the best for royal residences, opulent interiors, romantic settings, extravagant architecture, extensive lawned gardens and refined Indian cuisine, in locations including Rajasthan, Mumbai, Kolkata, Jaipur and Udaipur.
In 2019, San Diego celebrates its 250th birthday. This Southern California city is perfect for starting and finishing cruises along the Pacific Coast and out to the Pacific islands. Contributing to its laid back vibe are great beaches, shopping, restaurants and sunshine: summer temperatures average 22°C/72°F; winters are a steady 16°C/61°F.
Sure sun-lashed Oahu, of which Honolulu is the capital, is a bit of a schlepp from anywhere. However, when it comes to finding an island that has it all – spectacular beaches, some of the world’s best surfing spots, protected marine life, history (Pearl Harbor, anyone?), culture, scenic hiking trails, ono grinds (good eats) and a buzzing nightlife scene – "the heart of Hawaii" delivers. And then some.
Stavanger is the gateway to the Norwegian fjords. It’s also a great introduction to the country with plenty of interesting sights both in town and within easy reach. You get old and new here – Europe’s best preserved wooden house settlement and the capital of the continent’s oil and energy industry.
Dutch Harbor is part of Unalaska, one of the Aleutian Islands, and is visited by cruise vessels en route for Japan or – increasingly – by expedition vessels heading through the Bering Straits to the High Arctic and Northwest Passage. Its appeal lies in its stark beauty, extreme remoteness from the rest of Alaska, abundant wildlife, unique World War II history and daily life of the largest fishing port in the United States (the town features in the popular TV reality show Deadliest Catch).
An insider's guide to the most romantic spa breaks for couples in the UK, featuring the top places to stay for massages, couples' spa suites, hot tubs, hammams, saunas, steam rooms and swimming pools, along with Michelin-starred restaurants and luxurious rooms, in locations including the New Forest, Cornwall, Yorkshire, London, Bath, Lake District, Cotswolds, Scotland and Ireland.
Accused of draining the life out of picturesque towns and cities by encouraging a flood of tourists, Airbnb is seeking to make amends, albeit on a modest scale, with a new project in the sultry south of Italy.
Whether you love tearing around all over the mountain on or off piste, you’re a powder-seeking freerider or a freestyler who loves sessioning the terrain park, there are snowboards to suit all budgets and levels.
Long regarded as Lisbon’s quieter sibling, Portugal’s second city is currently undergoing a magical moment of rejuvenation. Centuries ago, British merchant ships would cluster in Porto’s medieval harbour to ferry the region’s eponymous port wines back home. Now, the city’s river banks are crowded with hip new bars and cool pavement restaurants. Helping drive Porto’s transformation is its resurgent cultural scene, from world class concerts at Casa de Musica to exciting art exhibitions along Rua de Miguel Bombarda. But this ancient metropolis is not about to tart itself up and pimp itself out for the tourists like so many other popular European destinations. Portuenses love their old world ways too much to give them up. So staying put are the city’s cobbled streets and beautifully tiled churches, its lazy lunchtimes and touching friendliness. In short, what’s on offer is the best of both worlds.