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The true British tourism champions (no fancy campaigns required)

It was a story that led me to Aldeburgh in the first place. I recently read Scapegallows by Carol Birch, a book that follows the life of Margaret Catchpole, a feisty young lady who was twice sentenced to hang and eventually shipped off to Australia. Her true-life account is told in the context of the […]

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Catalina on Vatersay: a plane wreck with more than one story

If you take a walk around the island of Vatersay in the Outer Hebrides, you’re likely to stumble upon a very interesting discovery, behind which lies a tragic tale. Just off the road (there’s really only one) as it runs around the east of the island you will find a black stone memorial, and scattered […]

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Lübeck, York and the Baedeker Raids

What links the German city of Lübeck, a well-known guidebook and the several of England’s more attractive cities? Wandering around Lübeck recently I was struck by the way the city has been so comprehensively rebuilt since the end of the war.  As with much of central Europe Lübeck was not spared the ravages of war and […]

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From Palau to Rotherhithe: the story of Prince Lee Boo

  Less than two months after discovering this picture in the blissful air-conditioned cool of the Etpison Museum in Palau’s main town of Koror, I stood by a south London graveside, teeth chattering in the bitter cold despite my hat, scarf, gloves and multiple layers. The two settings couldn’t be further apart, geographically or in […]

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On London’s notorious Ratcliffe Highway, in search of tigers and dragons

Sometimes the most remarkable stories can be found right under our noses. Nowhere does this appear to be more true than in London, where every other street hides an intriguing tale from the city’s fascinating past. Visit The Highway in east London and you’ll be forgiven for thinking there wasn’t much to trouble the historians […]

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Ryder's Exhibition Hall (now Cafe Rouge) in St Albans

St Albans and Samuel Ryder: A Tale of Two Cities

Over the weekend we had the chance to explore two cities in the south east of England that have a fair amount in common. Both are a short train ride from London; both have enough olde worlde buildings to be regularly used as a filming location for period dramas; and of particular relevance to this […]

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Full English Breakfast

Why nothing beats a full English Breakfast

It’s not unusual in an English bed and breakfast to wake up to the smell of frying bacon. Whether you’re staying away from home on business or pleasure and whatever the day holds in store for you, there are few better ways to kick off proceedings than with a no-holds barred full English breakfast. Yet […]

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The Campden Wonder: How history can bring a place to life

As so often happens, the comments section of my recent post looking at what inspires us to choose our travel destinations has proved to be more interesting than my original entry. Both Maxine Sheppard and Pam Mandel highlighted the role that the history of a place can play in enticing us to visit; I was reminded […]

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Prime Minister’s Questions: one pantomime we should all take time to see

Many British people view the exchanges in the House of Commons as something of an embarrassing pantomime. That 650 grown men and women should holler at one another every week like overgrown schoolchildren is bad enough; that those 650 happen to be the people we have elected to serve as our representatives in government is […]

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“London’s burning”: is Britain really a dangerous place to visit?

“England is burning and you’re risking life and limb if you step out on the streets”. That’s what you may be led to believe if you listen to the media coverage of this week’s riots. I had several messages via Facebook and Twitter this week checking if we are ok and advising me to stay […]

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