A Wee Jaunt to Arran and Tiree

Not all tartan is made into kilts!

I knew I’d arrived when my taxi driver said, “Enjoy your wee Hebridean jaunt.” But I was left in no doubt when I discovered tartan carpets and upholstery in my room. Later, I even saw tartan VW vans! In fact, my adventure was not wee at all, but fifteen islands and three weeks long. I began in the south on the Scottish Isle of Arran, an easy drive and ferry ride from Glasgow ... Read Full Article

A Small Ship Cruise in the Scottish Hebrides

Glen Tarsan anchored off the Isle of Staffa with a misty Mull in the background

Every September morning I wondered why I hadn’t explored the Scottish Hebrides before. White sand beaches and turquoise sea, purple-washed mountains and golden glens lured me every day. Dry weather heightened my enchantment as I lapped up the islands’ ancient history wherever I found it. The Hebridean islands, formed by ancient volcanoes and sculpted by the restless Atlantic, run north-south off ... Read Full Article

Touring the Roman Gold Mines in Wales

We’re overlooking a huge valley opposite where another mining technique, called hushing, was used by the Romans.

Welsh gold. This rare and soft lustrous gold is the most expensive gold in the world. It fetches up to $4500 per ounce, or three times what standard gold sells for in the London market. Pure Welsh gold is worth more than platinum and is considered by many metallurgists to be the world’s most precious metal. So it’s no wonder the Welsh have mythical goblin-like creatures that hide in mines and ... Read Full Article

Top 5 Cornwall Festivals for 2015

Newquay Fistral Beach coast PhSR 01

Cornwall sees its fair share of festivals and events, but if you had to choose just one, which would you attend? Holidaycottages.co.uk has put together their top five annual events to help you decide the best time to visit Cornwall. Flora Day, May Celebrated for hundreds of years, Flora Day isn’t quite like any other festival in Cornwall. The folk festival brings the town of Helston to life ... Read Full Article

Sampling Traditional English Fare in York

My favorite carvery: The York Roast Co. on Stonegate

The Romans knew it as Eboracum. To the Saxons it was Eoforwick. Then the Vikings named it Jorvik. Today we know it as York. From Roman times onward, Eboracum would become such a well-established political and commercial center that people continued to live here for millennia. Due to the numerous uncovered artifacts (many of which can be seen in the town’s numerous museums), and its plethora of ... Read Full Article

Exploring Inis Meain, the Lesser-known Aran Island

Some old ruins on Inis Meain

Visitors to Ireland's Aran Islands, located off the west coast from Galway, will undoubtedly know that the famous Irish comedy "Father Ted" is based on a fictional island fashioned after the smallest of the Aran Islands, Inis Oir (named Craggy Island in the television series). Likewise, the biggest of the three islands, Inis Mor, attracts the most tourists for its remarkable stone fortress, Dun ... Read Full Article

The Oxford Experience: A Summer Learning Program

Hall of Residence

And that sweet City with her dreaming spires, She needs not June for beauty’s heightening, Lovely all times she lies, lovely to-night! “Thyrsis,” Matthew Arnold, April 1866 A century after Arnold penned those words about the city of Oxford a latter-day pop manifesto urges us to “Open your mind, arms and heart to new things and people.” If you think you are ready for some time under the ... Read Full Article

Touring the New BBC Broadcasting House

We enter the BBC Broadcasting House through a wide courtyard, thirty meters across, and 60 meters deep.

In March 2013, the venerated BBC consolidated its news, Online, TV and Radio branches and brand new technology in London into one center, the new BBC Broadcasting House on Portland Place. All of the BBC’s newscasters came together in this new studio, now London’s headquarters. A 1.5-hour tour of this new facility is now offered, and in July I was able to squeeze this tour into my London ... Read Full Article

Windsor Great Park: 5,000 Acres of History

Autumn view of Virginia Water

Even on a cold winter’s morning, the hedges of rhododendron in Windsor Great Park are jungle green and glossy. Ducks tread over the wafer-thin ice of Wick Pond and coots bob along, unfazed by the frigid waters. Most visitors come to Windsor for the castle, spilling off trains and coaches for history’s sake. They jostle their way up the High Street, perhaps pausing for a glance at Wren’s Guildhall ... Read Full Article

Eight Great Reasons to Visit Scotland

The  Isle of Skye

What’s not to love about Scotland? Home to a rich history, spectacular scenery, and some of the kindest people around; Scotland should be at the top of everyone’s “Must Visit” list. Here are eight particularly great reasons to plan a trip to Scotland now: Stirling With a beautifully preserved Old Town that is jam-packed with worthwhile Medieval and Renaissance era sites, ... Read Full Article