I first visited the Great Barrier Reef 13 years ago, during my very first trip to Australia. My visit was just a day trip from Cairns to Green Island, which is a small island located about 90 minutes out to sea from Cairns. It was a wonderful experience, but I have always wanted to go back and take one of the trips to the outer reef, to see more of this truly beautiful part of the world.
Spread across 219 square miles of beautiful Hampshire countryside is The New Forest National Park. The New Forest is about an hours drive from my home in Sussex, and even though I pass through here quite frequently it had been years since I had actually stopped to enjoy some of this stunning area of the country.
One thing I had planned to do in December 2014 was pay a visit to the Christmas Markets in Bath, UK. Being used to visiting the markets on the continent, I had assumed that the Bath Christmas Markets would be open right up until Christmas Eve, and so I planned to visit on December 23rd. This was a big mistake on my part as the Christmas Market in Bath only ran until December 14th. This did, however, teach me a valuable lesson of the importance of thorough research before planning a trip. So this time around I did just that.
The 2005 Radio Times poll named the Jurassic Coast the fifth-greatest natural wonder of Britain. It is definitely at the top of my list, alongside Glen Coe in Scotland. The Jurassic Coast is located on the South coast of England, running 96 miles from Orcombe Point in Devon, to Old Harry Rocks near Swanage in Dorset. In 2001 the Jurassic Coast was designated a World Heritage Site, the second site in the United Kingdom.
The Tinwood Estate is located just three miles from my home, on the edge of the South Downs national park. Tinwood first set up their vineyard in 2007, and since have been producing three fantastic varieties of sparkling wine. From their Blanc de Blancs, and their Estate Brut to their cool refreshing Rosé.
This year celebrated the 20th year of the West Dean Chilli Fiesta. To my shame West Dean is less than ten miles from my home, and this was to be my first visit to the Fiesta. The Chilli Fiesta is a three day event, from Friday to Sunday, and its aim is to celebrate everything about the humble chilli.
We have had a quite a warm spring, and the temperatures in southern England, and the whole of the UK are set to stay hot for most, if not all of summer 2015. I can hear your thinking "are we not told this every year?" Well, being as optimistic as I possibly can, I have made the decision to spend most of summer 2015 in the UK to explore and seek out some hidden treasures in the south of England.
When you are in Porto it is highly likely that you will sample some finest Port at least once. Either with a meal or on its own, or perhaps you will make a trip to one or Porto's famous Port cellars for a professional Port tasting. This was at the top of my to-do list for my recent trip to Porto. I would recommend booking a tasting for the afternoon, perhaps after lunch.
The Isle of Wight, with its stunning coastline and beautiful beaches, has long had a reputation for being a holiday destination aimed at families who want a budget summer holiday close to home. The result is that the island has also gained the reputation as offering nothing more than beaches and amusement arcades.
Spitbank Fort is one of four forts built in the Solent as part of the 1859 Royal Commission to protect Portsmouth's dockyard from a possible French invasion. They formed the most expensive defensive system undertaken by Britain during peacetime. By the time the forts were completed all perceived threat to Portsmouth had passed, and because of this the forts became known as the Palmerston Follies, named after the Prime Minister at the time, Lord Palmerston, who had defended the enormous build cost.
One of my local wine stores, Hennings Wine Merchants of Chichester often holds wine tastings on Friday evenings. Each evening is usually themed on a specific wine region or wine. A couple of weeks ago they held a Croatian wine evening, and after having been to Croatia a few times and enjoyed the local wines, I decided to book to go with some friends and experience more of what Croatia has to offer the wine world.
On my recent visit to Lisbon I decided to go on a day trip to the coastal town of Cascais. Cascais is located about 20 miles away from Lisbon, along the coast. You can drive there if you like, or you can take the train from the station Cais do Sodré, that operates coastal train services from Lisbon, for as little as 4.80€ for a day return.
When booking a trip to Australia from the UK you have many airline choices, and with that comes the question of whether to have a stopover or not. To me a stopover isn't just a break between flights, but a chance to explore somewhere new, or maybe even a city break in itself. On recent trips to Australia I have experienced stopovers in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, but this time I wanted to see somewhere new, and the destination at the top of my list was Hong Kong.
We arrived at Carr Taylor Wines on a warm Sunday afternoon. It was a beautiful day, with hardly a cloud in the sky. After checking in for our vineyard tour and wine tasting at their cellar door we were shown to a sun-kissed terrace, where a handful of other people were sat around wooden picnic tables (the kind you would find in a traditional pub garden) happily chatting while waiting for the rest of the guests so the tour could commence. The terrace area was absolutely beautiful, an old rustic farm house to the side, the cellar door in front of us, and just fields of vines as far as the eye could see.