Notes on…

The land of lost content – best seen on horseback

Cathar country

8 July 2017 9:00 am

I once spent three months living in the Languedoc, writing my first novel. The highlight was the few days I…

Fine tuned: RCM students practising in the stunning Britten Theatre

The Britten Theatre

24 June 2017 9:00 am

When friends from overseas with the slightest interest in music ask for recommendations about what to see in London, I…

Sheep thrills: holidaying on a working farm

West Middlewick Farm

17 June 2017 9:00 am

In springtime in our family, we always have the same old argument: where should we go on our summer holiday…

The right kind of doorstep: Richmond in 1970

The doorstep

10 June 2017 9:00 am

You have probably been hearing a lot about doorsteps recently. Politicians love to demonstrate how much they care about ordinary,…

A vine romance: now with added sparkle

Kentish wine

27 May 2017 9:00 am

As a wine bore, holidays abroad are a battle with the family to cram in as many vineyard visits as…

The prettiest tourist trail, with added chocolate

Swiss trains

20 May 2017 9:00 am

When Theresa May went off to Switzerland on a walking holiday last August, she said it was the ‘peace and…

‘A spectacle of strength and savage wildness’

Scafell Pike

6 May 2017 9:00 am

Within a couple of miles of England’s deepest point is its highest. Towering a kilometre above the hidden depths of…

Glory days: Charlotte Rampling at the lido in 1965

Ruislip Lido

29 April 2017 9:00 am

Most mornings, if I’m not too hung-over, I go for a run around Ruislip Lido — a mile there, through…

Spread the news – it’s huge in Japan


8 April 2017 9:00 am

Marmalade’s had a rough old time of it lately. A recent report in the Telegraph declared it is dying out;…

Now with relatively little witchcraft: North Berwick

North Berwick

1 April 2017 9:00 am

My home town is better than yours. Don’t take my word for it. This month North Berwick was crowned ‘best…

Party time... blossoms at Himeji Castle in Japan

Cherry blossom

25 March 2017 9:00 am

In what I like to think of as The Spectator’s back garden — most people call it St James’s Park…

The Suffolk side of the Stour

The Suffolk-Essex border

9 March 2017 3:00 pm

You’ve already seen a picture of the Essex-Suffolk border. Assuming you’ve seen Constable’s ‘The Haywain’, that is: the Stour (the…

The Irish Jewish museum in Dublin

Dublin’s Jewish museum

2 March 2017 3:00 pm

I love small museums, and the Irish Jewish Museum in Dublin is a little gem, located in the neighbourhood once…

Good beer, cheap


23 February 2017 3:00 pm

Of all the stories I’ve heard about the fallout from Brexit — families divided, work jeopardised, friendships ended — the…

Rodin’s ‘Gates of Hell’: more than 300 figures, including a panther-like Eve

Rodin at 100

16 February 2017 3:00 pm

The girl who posed for Auguste Rodin’s figure of Eve on the ‘Gates of Hell’ was, the sculptor said, a…

Love unflinching: every child should know it

Dogs for children

9 February 2017 3:00 pm

Henry, our springer spaniel, has died, suddenly and prematurely. With the passing weeks, we are becoming accustomed to the strange…

A storm brewing over Hill Hill Hill

British placenames

2 February 2017 3:00 pm

British placenames are so good you can read the map for entertainment rather than navigation. Hardington Mande-ville, Bradford Peverell, Carlton…

The badge of an all-transcending fellowship


26 January 2017 3:00 pm

Every Christmas, I ask my loved ones for at least two pairs of corduroy trousers. Off with a sigh tramps…

Going off-piste: some people just can’t wait

Late-season skiing

19 January 2017 3:00 pm

There’s trouble brewing in the Alps. Skiers arriving in the mountains over Christmas were greeted, not by snow-clad chalets and…

Let someone else do the polishing

Not owning a car

12 January 2017 3:00 pm

On two occasions, sainted members of my family have offered me a car for nothing. Both times, I turned them…

‘Pub owners are particularly keen on quizzes, because quiz teams drink an awful lot’

Pub quizzes

5 January 2017 3:00 pm

For more than 20 years now, I have been trudging up the hill to the Prince of Wales in Highgate…


10 December 2016 9:00 am

Although drinking excessive levels of alcohol is up there with Olympic cycling and democracy as things the British excel at,…

She should have stuck to the vodka


8 December 2016 3:00 pm

Although drinking excessive levels of alcohol is up there with Olympic cycling and democracy as things the British excel at,…

‘Hello… can you put Nigel Slater on the line?’

A good night’s sleep

1 December 2016 3:00 pm

Have you, on hearing the story of the princess who felt a pea through 40 feather mattresses, ever thought that…

Zurich’s wild side

26 November 2016 9:00 am

On the green edge of Zurich, where this neat and tidy city melts into neat and tidy countryside, an icon…