All posts filed under: Travel

dog on holiday

Taking your dog to France: 6 things you need to know

A dog-friendly roadtrip to the French Alps With our grown-up kids all working this summer, we decided instead to take our dog Jacob, along on our latest holiday to the French Alps.  And what a joy! With a bit of preparation before we set off,  and given the French are very dog-friendly,  we discovered a great four-legged holiday companion. If you are thinking of taking your dog to France, we hope our experience will inspire you. 1 Preparation and packing for a dog Meeting passport and travel requirements It’s not difficult taking your dog to France. But we did find we needed to be sorting out Jacob’s travel docs a few months before we set off. A dog (cat or ferret…not sure why the third one is listed on government websites?) has to be microchipped, have all its vaccinations up-to-date and have a rabies jab before the vet can sign off on a pet passport.  Our local vet Sarah also flagged that we would need to find a vet in France to administer a worming …

I Ain’t Got Nothing But Love: Visit Liverpool in 24 hours

Whether you’re into the Beatles or not, there’s much more in a visit Liverpool than you might think. When we went recently, Emma and I found a vibrant city, full of great places to eat and drink alongside tons of culture and history. It’s changed beyond recognition from the down-at-heel city that we first dated in, back in the 1980s. My last visit to Liverpool was thirty odd years ago, when Emma was at university there (around the time of the Toxteth Riots and huge unemployment on Merseyside). My memory of the place then is a lively but desperately poor city that had certainly seen better times. So I was really interested to spot the differences when we went there recently. What a transformation! And what a great opportunity to practice my photography skills… Albert Dock and the Waterfront Dating back to 1841 the dock was in use until 1972. It fell in to dereliction until it was renovated and reopened in 1988. It’s now a major tourist draw with bars, cafes and restaurants occupying the colonnades on …

Discover hidden London: a country walk in the capital

If you enjoy exploring off the beaten track, you’ll love this short country walk, part of hidden London. It takes you past two glorious stately homes, across the River Thames by boat and into a quirky rural hide-away where you’re as likely to brush past a dramatic glass chandelier as you are a leafy branch! Dogs are welcome. It’s easy for kids, buggies and bikes. And you can get great coffee at stopping off points along the way. We treat ourselves now and then to this walk with our dog Jacob on sunny Sunday mornings.  Start discovering hidden London at Marble Hill Park, Twickenham Marble Hill House is a picture-perfect 18th century stately home sitting in the centre of 66 acres of parkland. It was built in the 1700’s for the former mistress of George II on the banks of the River Thames. The lady in question, Henrietta Howard, the Countess of Suffolk, allegedly used her payoff from the king, when he moved on to his next mistress, to fund the work on this Palladian mansion. …

A day out in West Sussex: town, country and beach

If you’re looking for a day out in West Sussex combining the beach with town and country, you can’t go far wrong partnering historic Arundel with bucket and spade Bognor. In 8 hours, or less, you can easily fit in a country walk, a spot of shopping, lunch and some history as well as dipping your toes in the sea and savouring a fish and chip supper. Here’s what my #GLO50 Book Club friends and I got up to on our day out in West Sussex. Mooch around the quaint lanes of Arundel: 1 hour You can spot the historic castle and cathedral of Arundel long before you get there. Our first stops when we arrived in this hill-top town though were the charming streets and lanes that lead up to the castle. The shops are eclectic and quaint and we quickly lost ourselves browsing through the bits and bobs in antique markets, design and houseware stores, bakeries and even an outlet selling dog-themed everything, alongside lovely painted furniture and other pretty household items. Dinky Donkey Delights …

Iceland Mountains

10 hidden gems of Iceland

Although this was our second trip to Iceland – it most certainly won’t be our last. We failed, yet again, to see the Northern Lights, but this country has so many wonderful experiences to offer that it would be churlish to complain. Accompanied by our #GLO50 friends, Rachel and David, we not only took in some of the more well-known sights in the south-west of the island –  to be found in all good guide books – but we also discovered some real, hidden gems along the way. Here are our top 10. Visiting Reykjavik Hidden gem 1: Eric’s walking tour Eric is a local history graduate who’s turned his passion for the city into his job. His ‘Classic’ Tour highlights some of the most famous sights and then takes you beyond them, to reveal  more of the history, the culture and the stories of Iceland’s capital city.   Beginning outside the ‘pocket-sized’ Parliament building, he guided us through the old quarter of the city, through bustling shopping streets, past the  dramatic Hallgrímskirkja (the church below …

Six Secrets of South East Sicily

Ok there’s nothing particularly secret about the biggest volcano in Europe but I liked the alliteration and if you’re planning a trip to Sicily,  I hope you’ll discover some nuggets in here that you won’t find elsewhere – to make your trip extra special. 1. Taormina It’s busy, it’s touristy and it’s the most expensive place on the island but you’ve still got to visit Taormina because it’s so damned cute! It has a fantastic main street with lots going on but go for restaurants in the side streets.  The views over the sea are beautiful. Go for dinner or a drink up to el Jabel to see one of the best. There’s a  Greek amphitheatre that has regular performances throughout the year. We saw La Boheme there, tickets were just €23. Down the hill to Mazzaro via cable car will take you to good beaches with really expensive sun loungers. 2. Etna It’s dormant right now but that doesn’t mean Mount Etna is dead. Far from it.  As recently as December 2015 there was an …

Emma Pepys into the past

I admit it, I am a self-confessed Samuel Pepys groupie. Ever since I picked up the ‘Shorter’ version of his Diary about 25 years ago, I’ve been hooked. His lifestyle, his opinions, his experiences are rooted in the 17th century but the voice in this extraordinary diary feels so very contemporary too. Humour, hubris, dalliances, affairs, gossip, greed and jealousy spill from his entries, as well as the every-day, down in the dirt detail of Stuart London. So I was really excited when I heard about the opening of the Samuel Pepys exhibition: Plague, Fire, Revolution. These days without the kids in tow John and I can please ourselves when it comes to indulging our interests. So we booked our tickets and headed off to the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. For me, Samuel Pepys diary is the next best thing to a time-machine. It lands you in a London recovering from the turmoil of the English Civil War and the rule of Oliver Cromwell, opening with the triumphant return of Charles II from exile. …