In pictures: Poppies at the Tower of London

Poppies at the Tower of London

As you approach the Tower of London, the moat is a sea of red, with tightly packed flowers as far as the eye can see. It’s an awe-inspiring sight, and even more so when you realise that every single bloom equates to a life lost in the First World War. It’s all part of an art installation called Blood Swept Lands And Seas Of Red, created by ceramicist Paul Cummins, which centres around the symbol of remembrance – the poppy. … 

Read More »

In pictures: The ruins of Lindisfarne Priory

Lindisfarne Priory ruins in Northumberland

Northumberland’s Lindisfarne Island has such religious significance they even named it Holy Island – and its holiest site is its priory. The region’s earliest Christian monastery was founded here by Irish monk St Aidan in 635 AD. Despite its remote location it was close enough to Bamburgh’s castle for protection, making it the perfect base for converting the local pagans to Christianity. Over the years the priory was also home to St Cuthbert, who’s commemorated by a statue amongst the ruins today, and the illustrated Lindisfarne Gospels were written here. But after a series of Viking attacks at the end of the 8th century, the monks packed up the Gospels and Cuthbert’s body and relocated to Durham. … 

Read More »

In pictures: Amongst the ruins at Ephesus

Ancient ruins at Ephesus, Turkey

On the western coast of Turkey, Ephesus has some of the Mediterranean’s best-preserved, grandest ruins. As a major port for trade routes to Asia it grew from a coastal town in the 10th century BC to the second largest city in the world. A series of rulers over the years left their mark – from the Greeks and Romans to the Byzantines and Ottomans. But when its port silted up, Ephesus was abandoned and fell into ruin. … 

Read More »

In pictures: Santorini in blue and white

Blue and white in Fira, Santorini, Greece

Santorini is the classic Greek island – its blue and white shades featuring on magazine covers across the world. But would it be as impressive in person? Docking in the port, we dodged the cable car queue and the donkey handlers and climbed up the 650 steps to the town of Fira. Despite 30 degree heat it was worth every step for the views that greeted us at the top – a maze of whitewashed buildings spilling down over the edge of a steep cliff, with the backdrop of the deep blue Aegean Sea. … 

Read More »

In pictures: Bryggen, the old heart of Bergen

Bryggen old town in Bergen, Norway

Along the waterfront in the Norwegian city of Bergen is one of its most historic and beautiful areas – Bryggen. A row of colourfully painted shopfronts face the wharf, but down the narrow alleyways in between you’ll find a jumble of overhanging balconies and walkways. This is the oldest part of Bergen, which was first built on back in 1070. … 

Read More »

In pictures: Cruising out of Venice

Sailing out of Venice, Italy

When I found out our cruise was departing out of Venice, I knew I’d have to try and fit in a glass of prosecco in Piazza San Marco on the way. But my plans were thwarted by a rainstorm and a flight delay, and instead we had to head straight on board our ship. That didn’t mean we missed out on the views though – or the bubbly. As we set sail, we toasted the start of our trip from underneath an umbrella on our balcony. … 

Read More »

In pictures: The fjords from Flåm

The Sognefjord as seen from Flam
Norway has no shortage of fjords, but the longest and deepest of them is the Sognefjord. It stretches over 200km inland from the ocean, and the tiny town of Flåm lies at the end of one of its most scenic stretches. The best way to see the fjords is by boat, but before we got to that there was time for a taster with a walk along the waterside in Flåm. In one direction, steep cliffs rose out of the water, with trees clinging perilously to sheer rock faces. … 

Read More »

In pictures: Catania’s volcanic coast

Aci Castello on the Catania coastline, Sicily

For a coastal city, it’s strangely easy to spend time in Catania and forget the sea is even there. Most of the city’s seafront is filled with its busy harbour, but you don’t need to go far to get a taste of sea air. Just north of the city are a string of former fishing villages, where dark volcanic rocks formed by Mount Etna’s eruptions meet the clear turquoise waters of the Ionian Sea. Off the coast at Aci Trezza you can see three tall, rocky outcrops known as the Cyclops Islands. … 

Read More »

In pictures: A carpet of bluebells in the Forest of Dean

Bluebells in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire England

After what always feels like an endless winter in Britain, the first bluebell I see is a sign that days are getting longer and temperatures are getting warmer – summer is finally on its way. Near my home in Gloucestershire, the Forest of Dean is one of the best places in the country to see native English bluebells. … 

Read More »

The Epic Adventures photo competition

Epic adventures photo competition

Outdoor gear store Blacks have teamed up with adventure holiday company Explore for a new photo competition which is all about epic adventures in the great outdoors. The top prize is £2000 to spend on one of Explore’s trips across the world and four runners up will each get £150 to spend at Blacks. Explore have an amazing range of trips on every continent – top of my shortlist would be their safari and wine trip around South Africa or maybe their tour around the Mayan ruins in Belize and Guatemala. … 

Read More »