Art in Valencia and the Joys of Spring

Valencia is full of visual delights this month. Head to IVAM, where this excellent modern art gallery is celebrating its 30th anniversary, with a dazzling major exhibition, showing the work of modernist painter FERNAND LEGER. Fernand Leger and Modern Life brings together 100 of his works, including paintings, drawings, textiles films and photographs. It’s a brilliant, wonderfully curated show and … Read More

Taulellets for Semana Santa in El Cabanyal

As I write this from my usually sun-filled office in Valencia, rain is lashing against the window and the big palm tree in the square below is blowing in the wind. This is British Bank Holiday weather, with no hint of Mediterranean warmth and light. I am feeling a bit cheated, particularly as Britain is basking in record-breaking sunshine. However, … Read More

England in May

A perfect field, a tree tinged with pink blossom, brilliant yellow gorse, a stately horsechestnut, bluebells washed with rain, creamy Hawthorne. All these I saw on a rapturous walk through the Staffordshire countryside in May my heart singing all the way.

Taulellets – a History of Tile Art in El Cabanyal

Anyone who has wandered around the Poblats Maritims area of Valencia will have noticed that many of the houses are covered with the most beautiful tiles, which enrich the charm and character of this entrancing neighborhood. Of the 700 protected houses, 300 have tiled facades whose spectacular designs range from traditional, delicate and pretty to wild, abstract and surreal. When … Read More

A mini Trundle from Lisbon to Porto – Coimbra

The cultural city of Coimbra couldn’t be a better stopover or short break destination. It’s famed for its unique Fado renditions and its gracious university, which is the oldest in Portugal, originally established in the 12th century. There are more steep hills to climb in Coimbra’s magnificent medieval centre but it’s worth scaling them to reach the university and visit … Read More

A Mini-Trundle from Lisbon to Porto – Step One

The Hills are Alive in Lisbon > Portugal is easy to explore by public transport and April is a wonderful time to visit this gentle country. Prices are still low and the fresh Spring sunshine is as yellow as the Pastel de Nata. These little pastry cases filled with a sticky eggy custard are in every bakery and the first … Read More

Swimming Through London

Cool Spots for a Hot Day In London London in the heat is a mixture of heaven and hell. The heady combination of sun, traffic fumes and crowds bring an intensity which makes me want to run for the Welsh mountains. It’s also an intoxicating place to be in a heatwave. Tourists stupefied by the unexpected warmth mingle with Londoners … Read More