holiday

  • The best hotels near Buckingham Palace for the Jubilee bank holiday celebrations

    If there was ever a month (and a year) to stay near Buckingham Palace, June 2022 is the one to pick. With so many pockets of celebrations happening for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee it makes perfect sense to bed down and be right in the thick of the events for maximum enjoyment. Spots like Victoria, Westminster and St James's Park provide a great base for jumping off into the fun, but also crucially offer a much-needed calming retreat to escape to when party fatigue sets in. Within walking distan

  • I visited the cheapest and most expensive Maldives resorts: here's what you get for your money

    As someone fortunate enough to have seen a lot of the world, I am resolute in my view that the Maldives is the best holiday destination on Earth (unless you find sand and sea boring). Having developed considerably from 1970, when the Indian Ocean archipelago was still a largely uninhabited collection of 1,192 fishing islands, today there is little to distinguish one from another (there are more than 150 operating as resorts, with about a dozen new offerings launching each year).

  • Where to find a last-minute bargain on the most expensive bank holiday ever

    With flight prices skyrocketing in recent weeks, it seems like you might have to be royalty to afford a holiday abroad over the Platinum Jubilee bank holiday. A Greek island getaway to Zakynthos will cost at least £541 while a cultural break to Dubrovnik comes in at an eye-watering £740 – and this is before accommodation is factored in. Meanwhile, flights to classic destinations in Spain and France are similarly extortionate.

  • The ancient corner of London that’s scandalously overlooked by tourists

    When guiding in the City of London at weekends I often see little family groups, dwarfed by glass and steel skyscrapers, looking around them in bewilderment. Where’s Big Ben? Where are the theatres? Where are the lights? Where is everyone?

  • 10 grand UK hotels to celebrate the Jubilee bank holiday in style

    The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee is fast approaching and while many are using the double bank holiday as an opportunity to head abroad, those of us staying at home will have plenty to enjoy with hotels up and down the country commemorating the occasion by putting on street parties, Jubilee-themed afternoon teas and even offering private views of the Crown Jewels. While much of the activity is centred around London’s grande dame hotels, outside of the capital others are making the most of their more

  • 10 grand British hotels where you can celebrate the Jubilee in style

    The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee is fast approaching and while many are using the double bank holiday as an opportunity to head abroad, those of us staying at home will have plenty to enjoy with hotels up and down the country commemorating the occasion by putting on street parties, Jubilee-themed afternoon teas and even offering private views of the Crown Jewels. While much of the activity is centred around London’s grande dame hotels, outside of the capital others are making the most of their more

  • ‘I fell in love with a forgotten corner of Cornwall in the 1940s’

    My favourite beach in the country is Downderry, in the southeast of Cornwall. I spent the early years of my childhood there, in a coastguard’s cottage overlooking the sea.

  • Why we love Center Parcs – even though it costs a bomb

    An army of Sweaty Betty-clad mothers with vanilla lattes, searching for the nearest baby changing area; a sea of children pestering their fathers for another round of crazy golf; ten-pin bowling; endless sourdough pizza. This could be your nightmare of suburban Middle England – or it could be a postcard from any of Center Parc’s six holiday villages around the UK and Ireland this half term. And if you’re thinking of going, don’t bother – the villages are fully booked.

  • How staff shortages are ruining cruise holidays

    Staff shortages have been hindering air travel in recent weeks, with queues of passengers snaking around Birmingham Airport’s terminal building, logjams at Bristol Airport’s check-in desks, and carnage at Manchester Airport’s security checkpoint. Meanwhile, EasyJet is cutting the number of seats on its Airbus 319s this summer to allow the aircraft to operate with three cabin crew members rather than four, and British Airways is trending on Twitter as customers vent their anger over swathes of fl

  • The six-drink rule that will make or break Magaluf

    “It’s outrageous. How dare they restrict me to six pints!” slurs Rob, as he takes another slug from his tenth.

  • The secret to talking to the French – what to say, and the topics to avoid

    The dinner party was going OK. Our American and French guests were getting to know one another. Right around the arrival of the pork fillet, conversation turned to water and then to water softeners, for ours is a devil-may-care household. Things were, though, about to go belly-up. One American friend had lately bagged a contract to sell US softeners in France. Across the pork, gratin dauphinois and asparagus à la vapeur, he grasped the opportunity to launch into a sales spiel, as if he’d just bu

  • How the one per cent fell in love with private jet travel

    “If you want to fly to your villa or your yacht in July or August, book now. Jets and slots are being snapped up and there are only so many of them out there,” says Toby Edwards, co-CEO of private jet broker, Victor. It’s 9am on Monday morning and the phones are already ringing every few minutes in his office in Fulham, west London.

  • Everything you need to know about BA's Avios points – including the best ways to spend them

    The Avios travel loyalty programme was set up a decade ago by IAG (International Airlines Group), the owner of British Airways, when it took over the BA Airmiles scheme. You can earn and spend Avios points by joining the British Airways Executive Club.

  • The best spa hotels in London for a soul-soothing city break

    The term 'spa break’ conjures up ideas of grand country house getaways or residential retreats but what if you choose your spa experience to be in the city? Who says you can’t combine the two elements? It’s actually a stroke of genius because when you’ve been pounding the streets and rinsing the city for all it has to offer you can retreat to your hotel for a pampered slice of welcome respite. Gone are the days of spa breaks in London simply being a classical massage in a tiny room, the spa expe

  • What does Dubai’s 40 days of mourning mean for your holiday?

    Following the death of President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE has entered a 40-day period of mourning.

  • The idyllic European lake with fairy-tale towns but hardly any British tourists

    It’s 7am on a cold and sunny morning, and I’m sitting in a little boat in the middle of Lake Constance, Central Europe’s largest and loveliest lake. There’s not a cloud in the sky, nor a wave upon the water, but the air is freezing and I’m shivering. Yet right now creature comforts are the last thing on my mind.

  • The best dog-friendly hotels in Cornwall

    Cornwall is all well and good for humans, but it’s nothing short of paradise for dogs. Bounding along great expanses of sandy beach, splashing about in the surf, going for long walks on the moors or along the Southwest Coast Path. And in turn, the Duchy loves its four-legged visitors. Most pubs and cafés are dog-friendly, and a great many hotels lay on a special welcome – beds, biscuits and toys – for guests’ pet pooches. So if you are looking to bring your canine companion on a Cornish holiday,

  • Frozen shampoo, and six other airport hacks you didn’t know about

    Airports are an experience to endure rather than enjoy, particularly in 2022 when stories of staff shortages and queue chaos emerge almost daily.

  • My battle for a cancelled flight refund, and how it finally broke me

    About 20 minutes into my call with KLM customer services, I finally broke. It was my second attempt that morning to ask for a refund because the flight I had booked only a day earlier – for August – had been cancelled.

  • Corsica vs Sardinia: which is the Med's ultimate holiday island?

    The old adage that good things come in small packages, while hardly untrue, does tend to ignore the idea that good things come in large format, too. Big can be beautiful – and it achieves a rare artistry in two of the biggest islands in the Mediterranean. Run an eye across the European map and you cannot miss them, dominating the western half of the continent’s defining sea. Corsica – France’s southern satellite – shimmering off the coast of Tuscany; Sardinia, Italy’s “other” vast outcrop, waiti

  • Britain’s ‘Goldilocks Zones’ – just right for a crowd-free (and cheaper) holiday

    In the pursuit of the perfect UK getaway it’s easy to get too hot or too cold. That is, so close to the flame of natural beauty or historic intrigue that you are caught in a flurry of moth-like tourists. Or so far from anything worth visiting that you find yourself bored to death in a listless corner of the country.

  • The unexpected advantages of being an old tourist

    Good news for young people: getting old isn’t so bad. You can look forward to it. I’m not saying there aren’t downsides. Seniors fall over if we turn too quickly, are foxed by TikTok and, while easily remembering the name of the lead singer of the Troggs’ (Reg Presley), may forget what we had for lunch yesterday.

  • The ultimate (post-Brexit) guide to travelling with your dog

    Travelling has gone to the dogs – but not in the way you might imagine. Oddly, hounds can now holiday in Europe longer than their owners – dog travel certificates are valid for up to four months, whereas we lowly non-canines can only stay up to three months in a six-month period. An estimated 2.3 million pets were bought during the pandemic, and a third of British households now live with a dog – there are roughly 13 million of them, twice as many as a decade ago. As a result, there are going to

  • Why the 'luxpedition' is my favourite kind of cruising

    Trapped on a hulking great ship with hordes of half-cut passengers. Cramming into tiny ports to buy tourist tat. Returning to the lounge where a singer in a spangly top is strangling Wind Beneath My Wings. Then death by a thousand buffets. This is what people seem to imagine when I tell them cruising is my favourite kind of holiday by several nautical miles. Clearly, they haven’t experienced “expedition cruising”, which is a very different kettle of line-caught fish.

  • Monday marks the end of the Covid travel nightmare in Europe – but there's a catch

    It started with a sock. The date was June 15, 2020 and I had a ticket for easyJet’s first flight after Lockdown One: the 7am from Gatwick to Glasgow. This was a symbolic flight for the low-cost carrier. Britain was moving again, back in the air. And it was also the first time the UK airline had demanded all passengers to wear a face mask on board. I didn’t own one yet, so I made a mask out of a (clean) old sock instead.

  • The family-friendly summer holiday option you've probably never thought of

    We Brits love our winter sports (we did, indeed, invent them) and flock during the ski season to the pretty Tyrolean villages of Austria. However, if we only visit this lovely region when it’s snowing, we may be missing a trick. Rather like dogs for Christmas, it turns out Austria is not just for winter – head there during the summer months, and there’s a whole range of glorious warm-weather pursuits on offer, each more wholesome and sun-dappled than the last.