Latest Travels


Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerych-wyrndrobwllllan-tysiliogogogoch – Try Saying That Three Times In A Row!

Llanfair PG sign outside the visitor's centre

What do you do when you’re a sleepy Welsh town looking to increase your tourism numbers? Simple! Just add a few more words to your town’s name so you can become the town with the longest name in Europe.

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Betws-y-Coed: Beautiful Buildings and Ugly Houses

Row houses

While driving through Snowdonia National Park, we stopped for a morning tea of coffee and Welsh cakes in the town of Betws-y-Coed. Although it feels small, it is one of the main towns in Snowdonia. Walking down the main road in order to stretch our legs, we passed many of the pretty stone and slate houses that make Betsw-y-Coed a picture-perfect town.

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Pontcysyllte Aqueduct: A walk alongside the stream in the sky

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

Pontcysyllte. It’s fun to say: PONT-KEE-SILL-TEE. It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the first time I heard the name of Thomas Telford.

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Eilean Donan Castle: The Most Photographed Castle In Scotland

Eilean Donan Castle

Eilean Donan Castle is one of the most recognisable of Scotland’s many hauntingly beautiful castles. Standing on its own island where Loch Duich, Loch Long and Loch Alsh converge, the lone castle shrouded in mist, set against the stunning backdrop of the tree-covered mountains makes for the ideal photograph!

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The Long Way to Lews Castle

Lews Castle

What does a castlephile do when she has a spare couple of hours in Stornoway? Convince her new travelling companions to visit the local castle, of course!

Our target for today was Lews Castle. After consulting the map, it looked like we would have to take the scenic route to get to the castle, which (rather strangely) would take us right through the middle of the local golf course.

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The Randomness of Calton Hill

Calton Hill

An observatory. A set of Greek columns. A tower. Oh, and a Portuguese cannon. I’m sure they all tie together somehow. But when you first make the climb up to the top of Calton Hill, what you’ll find seems all a bit … random.

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A Day Out to Saint-Martin-de-Ré

Saint-Martin-de-Ré

I had no expectations about the Île de Ré. All I knew was that it was an island to the west of La Rochelle, and to bring my bathers because there would be a beach. As the bus drove across the causeway that links the island to mainland France, the scenery changed. Gone were the quaint villages, green fields and endless forests. Now we were driving past campgrounds perched on the water’s edge, by salt marshes and through seaside towns as the bus made its way towards Saint-Martin-de-Ré.

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Finding the Phantom at the Palais Garnier

The Grand Foyer of the Palais Garnier

The Palais Garnier – home to the Opera Nationale de Paris – may well be one of the most lavish places I have set foot in. Designed by Charles Garnier (who also designed the Casino de Monte Carlo), it is spread over seventeen storeys and contains two ballet companies.

Having read Gaston Leroux’s book The Phantom of the Opera, and being a fan of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, I was curious to know what the real Paris Opera was like. I booked a guided tour of the Palais Garnier, and was on the lookout for signs of the opera house’s most infamous resident.

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A View Over Paris: From The Galeries Lafayette

The Opera Garnier

Did you know that you can look over the rooftops of Paris from the top floor viewing deck of the Galeries Lafayette? From here, you can look down over the busy Boulevard Haussmann and the back of the Opera Garnier, across to La Défense in the distance, or at the domes of the Grand Palais and Les Invalides flanking the Eiffel Tower.

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Visiting the Grand Trianon

The portico of the Grand Trianon

After I had been awed by the grandeur of Versailles, and fallen in love with the cosy Petit Trianon, the Grand Trianon had its work cut out in order to win me over.

And it certainly tried its hardest.

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Travelling the world … one castle at a time