• Castle in the care of the Scots guard
    My Own Back Yard

    Edinburgh – A royal guide

    Many monarchs have had a fondness for Scotland throughout the centuries and in Edinburgh, there are symbols of these royal relationships everywhere. Among the city’s elegant street of towns both old and young, sit memorials and monuments to the Kings and Queens of the past. Edinburgh Castle has been a royal home for over 1000 years set upon Castle Rock. It is not yet known how far back the first inhabitants settled here with estimates currently dating back to the 1st century AD. St Margaret’s Chapel sits in grace within the citadel walls as the oldest known building in Edinburgh and the birthplace of King James VI and I of…

  • Edinburgh skyscape
    My Own Back Yard

    Edinburgh – A historical guide

    If there is anywhere that could rival Oxford as the City of spires, it would be Edinburgh. The Scottish Capital has a history spanning centuries, with layer upon layer of streets that guide you through the city’s lifeline. It would be impossible for me to cover every facet of this sensational location. However I will try to pinpoint the aspects that stood out to me in four different Edinburgh guides and here..is the first one. Enjoy! Edinburgh’s old and modern town exist side by side, reminiscent of many continental cities.  With a station valley in the middle, the Georgian new town rises up on one side blending into the elder…

  • Out of the blue orb image
    Explore

    Out of the blue – Musings from Faraway

    We have all come across travel threads with questions that seem a little strange. It might have been about the oddball hot topic of the moment or something that seems completely off the wall. What were your thoughts? While roaming about online recently, I came across one such thread on one of my regular travel groups. The question was from a traveller asking about the safety of a location following reports of attacks on tourists in the last few months. It seemed like a case of some simple reassurance and I was surprised to see the negative comments from other members directed at the enquirer. As a long-time traveller, I…

  • Venice Grand Canal View
    Travel Guides

    Solo Adventures in Venice

    Venice is a place where you can learn the meaning of the Italian phrase ‘Dolce far niente’ – the sweetness of doing nothing. It is the place in Italy I have visited most and my favourite location to visit solo. Here is a place you can feel completely anonymous. No-one notices that you are walking around on your own, most are looking down at their mobile apps whilst trying to navigate themselves in the right direction. The rest are trying to get around tourists to find their way as quickly as possible to wherever they are going.  This provides a sort of security for solo travellers who can feel comfortable…

  • Giant's head at Heligan
    My Own Back Yard

    Cornwall Part 3 – Secret Steps to Megavissey and The Lost Gardens of Heligan

    On my last day in sunny Cornwall, I decided to spend some time getting back to nature by viewing one of the region’s beautiful gardens. So I journeyed east through St Austell to the small fishing village of Megavissey in search of The Lost Gardens of Heligan. The first thing you should know about Heligan is that The Lost Gardens are well and truly lost. Set in the midst of the Cornish countryside, this work in progress is an ever-changing landscape, meaning you will never see the same gardens twice. With sections dedicated to different plantlife from around the World, you can find yourself emerging into an Italian kitchen garden…