The Roscoe Head (24 Roscoe Street) is an authentic English public house bursting with character which has survived the onslaught on the super pub chains. It’s a local city centre pub which remains unspoiled; with patrons from all walks of life – regulars like Zutons singer Dave McCabe and ‘The Wire’ playwright Jimmy McGovern make for some interesting backroom debates. Pop in on quiz night and you may well meet Billy Hatton, former band member …

There’s a quiet culinary uprising catching on in Norway; a new-found pride and a change in attitude towards food traditions. This has given rise to the production of local and organic produce which people in the know claim is the result of their climatic conditions and landscape. To find out what makes fjord food so distinctive, I sought the advice from food producers, chefs, artisan bakers and farmers.

From Cheese…

Following a brief ferry trip …

If you are bored with the uniformity of five-star hotels and prefer personalized treatment, a daily gourmet food experience, sport followed by wellness to recover, you want to read on.
The 89-roomed Grand Park, with its understated elegance and obliging service staff, is Bad Hofgastein’s only five-star hotel. Its location is perfection, in the midst of the Alps, the gateway to world-class hiking and skiing. The hotel itself, Georgian in style, is located well for …

Here’s a fact seldom discussed when the topic of travel agents arises. When the airlines began cutting commissions to travel agents in the mid-90′s, the real problem wasn’t commissions. No, the airlines had another reason for wanting travel agents out of the picture. Travel agents told clients how to obtain the lowest fare. Call American Airlines directly and they don’t tell you Delta has a lower fare. But a travel agent would.

Know what? They …

Fifty-two miles south of Salzburg, surrounded by the imposing Austrian Alps, with their broad slopes and wide runs, is the piste-perfect ski resort of Grossarl – an idyllic winter sports mini break in a picture postcard setting.

The hotel to call home is the 4 star-superior Grossarler Hof, a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World group. They opened in 2009 and already have a host of awards and accolades.

Committed to nature

Who has not been captivated by tales of knights and dragons, of medieval feuds, battles and betrayals? Serving as the backdrop for each of these stories is a castle. Visiting a castle can provide a playground for the imagination, allowing the mind to revel in legend and lore. Walking through grand halls past suits of armor, torches and tapestries, one cannot fathom so many stories embedded in stone. More than a getaway from the stresses …

In the 19th century, Flachau was Austria’s regional centre of iron smelting. Now though, it’s one of the largest ski resorts in Ski amadé with 270 lifts and 760km of slopes, snowboarding, tobogganing, tubing, cross-country and downhill skiing. The village has combined technology with top-class ski facilities and has modern lifts sweep skiers above manicured slopes, whisking them to the top of the mountain. Long quiet runs cater for everyone – from beginners, to connoisseurs, …

Considered the jewel of the Austrian Alps, the Gastein Valley lies an hour south of Salzburg, in the heart of the majestic Austrian Alps. Other than the fantastic thermal spa and panoramic views of the Hohe Tauern National Park, the mountains surrounding Gastein are what it’s all about.

From the west side of the valley, cable cars rise two miles to the summit of Stubnerkogel. From there, a variety of ski runs and several lifts …

Austria’s Ski amadé is a sensory experience; a colourful explosion of blue sky, white snow and emerald green trees; interspersed with aromatic aromas of local cuisine and the silken taste of Austrian wine (their secret weapon!). It sharpens your senses – it’s chaotic, intoxicating, raw, in-your-face and utterly exciting.

Like the perfectly groomed pistes which give you access to viewpoints such as the Kraftorte recovery point, where nature comes into focus and opens up unexpected …

Now is the time for wine and nature lovers to rejoice; not only do Sussex vineyards produce beautiful wines, they also provide opportunities to sample, tour the vineyards and meet the Vintners.

Fizz On Foot, who offers guided walk and wine tasting tours, combine the great outdoors with walks through great British wine country. From a one-day buffet lunch and wine-tasting tour to a four-day, several vineyards trek, you’ll see the spectacular Sussex countryside as …

Lately I’ve had a lot of bad luck with my luggage while traveling on long-haul flights. My bags were delayed three trips in a row – reaching my destination only 1 to 3 days after I had arrived. After these three consecutive luggage mishaps, I was confident the airlines could not mess up a fourth time.

They didn’t – but my bout of bad luck did not end with that fourth flight. Arriving at Paris …

EUROSTAR

Forget short-haul flights, delays and the rigorous security inspections that come with it – take the train instead! Train travel is not only environmentally friendly but pleasurable and remarkably quick too. It’s easier than flying and you get to see the country you’re traveling through.

Eurostar is the high-speed passenger train from London to Brussels and Paris via the undersea Channel Tunnel. Eurostar trains leave London St Pancras station almost every hour for the …

There’s nothing like boarding a plane, sitting back in the seat and enjoying a movie, reading or some sleep before landing at your holiday destination. But with the cost of airfares on a steady increase it’s becoming harder to find the right price for that desired destination. Airfares change throughout the week and even during the day, so, how do you know when is the best time to get more bang for your buck? Well, …

DEAL (COUNTY KENT) & BENTLEY

Like all of England, the rural landscape is manicured, clean and precise – the habits of an old and fastidious land where the great British tradition of an afternoon tea in a quirky worn-around-the-edges Tea Room is a prerequisite. Driving a Bentley Continental GT Speed (Conti Speed) through the rolling vastness of Kent’s achingly beautiful countryside, I head to Deal and the promise of finding one such remote temple to great …

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