The charm of Belgium’s gentle gem: How to spend 48 hours in Ghent

Talk to any shopkeepers in this Belgian city and they’ll tell you they’re excited.  Excited because Ghent, a sleepy university city just 30 minutes from Brussels, is seeing a new wave of visitors charmed by its beguiling cobbled streets, Gothic architecture and laid-back atmosphere. Once the seat of the Counts of Flanders, whose castle has … Read more

Review of Parklane hotel, in Limassol, Cyprus, which offers football coaching from Dimitar Berbatov

My son Joseph passes to the unusually tall winger out wide on the right, who then splits the defence with a perfectly weighted ball. Joseph runs onto it and then his teammate’s deep Bulgarian voice booms out around the pitch: ‘Feenish!’ Joseph dutifully slots the ball past the keeper to secure his hat-trick, then sprints … Read more

A review of the Cat Inn in the West Sussex village of West Hoathly

An Inspector Calls… at the Cat Inn in West Sussex, which charms with ‘wonky ceilings’, a candle on the dresser and ‘stupendous confit duck’ The Cat Inn, in the West Sussex village of West Hoathly, has four rooms The Inspector says it’s the food that brings people from miles away He described his breakfast as ‘perfect’, … Read more

Great British Boltholes: A review of the Kingham Plough in Kingham, Oxfordshire

Great British Boltholes: Take a tour to Jeremy Clarkson’s local in Oxfordshire, which offers six bedrooms and tender pheasant pie The Kingham Plough in Oxfordshire is ‘handsomely decorated’, says T. D. Isacke The restaurant has just been given a Good Food Award for Gastro Pubs There are also six bedrooms spread across the main building and an … Read more

A Dickens of a town in the heart of Medway, Kent, that inspired Great Expectations

Britain at its best: A Dickens of a town in the heart of Medway, Kent, that inspired Great Expectations Charles Dickens ‘adored’ Rochester, writes the Daily Mail’s Rob Crossan This year marks the 150th anniversary of the author’s death  To mark the occasion, Rochester will be opening a gallery focusing on his life  By Rob … Read more

My novel take on Athens! Best-selling author Victoria Hislop’s guide to the Greek capital

Even after something like 50 visits to Athens, I still find the geography occasionally baffling. Still, that’s part of the charm of this beautiful European city, and, the longer you spend there, the more you realise just how much there is to discover. By all means visit one of the spectacularly glamorous shoe shops on … Read more

The holiday guru solves traveller queries about Sri Lanka and travelling alone as a pensioner

Group travel on a £5k budget, cancelling trips to Sri Lanka and journeying alone as a pensioner: The holiday guru solves traveller queries To get updates around terrorism risks before travelling visit the FCO website Trailfinders can fix personalised tours for those travelling alone  Landmark Trust has historic holiday lets which are perfect for big … Read more

Bruges for under £100 a night! Visit this medieval masterpiece of a town without breaking the bank

Swans, cobblestones and lace shops: Bruges doesn’t disappoint if your hopes for a weekend away includes old-fashioned charm.  But this medieval masterpiece of a city, reached from London in little more than three hours on Eurostar, also has avant-garde musical installations, irresistible chocolate shops and a thriving beer scene all set on winding, ancient lanes.  … Read more

His latest book’s banned in Russia… but Jeffrey Archer still says St Petersburg’s a real thriller

There’s only one downside to visiting St Petersburg. You quickly realise you’ll have to return again and again if you want to see everything. I’ve visited the Russian city six times over the past 30 years and still feel I’ve only scraped the surface. The Winter Palace is second only to Versailles in architecture and … Read more

Experiencing what it’s like to run a five star hotel at Dukes in London

On the dot of 9.30am, there is a knock on my office door — and in troop the senior management team. There’s the food and beverage supremo, the head of housekeeping, the financial controller, the maintenance man, the boss of ‘guest relations’, the hotel operations manager, the director of human resources, the receptionist, the duty … Read more