A night at Langley Castle in Northumberland

As the location for surprise meal and overnight stay, Langley Castle proved memorable. I enjoyed the experience and would happily visit again. When it comes to choosing date night locations the gauntlet is down — to use saying derived from issuing the challenge to a duel medieval times. I’m now going to have to raise my game.

Best weight loss retreats in the UK

The idea that every residential boot camp is a fat camp isn’t necessarily true. Weight loss is often a key objective for participants. Focusing on fitness may be too. Getting away to focus on mental well-being may be driver alongside the physical training.

The Cookie Jar in Alnwick, Northumberland

The Cookie Jar is in premises previously occupied by the Convent of Mercy. If you’re looking for a special treat, reserve the Chapel, a suite whose stained glass windows and name provide unmissable hints as to the room’s former use. We popped in for a glance around and were impressed by the sinfully opulent decor.

Abode Hotel Chester

Abode Hotel Chester is a smart, modern hotel located an easy ten minute stroll from the half-timbered buildings of the city’s historic centre. The hotel overlooks England’s oldest active racecourse and the distant hills of Wales.

Hope and Anchor South Ferriby gastropub

The building dates from Victorian times and underwent extensive repairs and refurbishment following flooding caused by the Humber’s tidal surge of December 2013. The pub reopened in March 2015 with wood-panelled walls and maritime-themed details, including framed pictures of sailing ships, decorative ropes and a female figurehead complete with strategically placed shells to protect her modesty. British cuisine forms the mainstay of the menu, which changes seasonally. As you’d now expect, vegan and vegetarian choices are available. The glass-fronted meat aging cabinet is a clear hint that steak counts among the specialities of the kitchen

The Victoria Falls Hotel, Zimbabwe

The Victoria Falls Hotel is one of those places that you really should go out of your way to visit for a drink or a meal even if an overnight stay is beyond your budget. If you can afford to stay at the hotel then do so: it provides a sense of the Victoria Falls’ heritage. I found it a thoroughly pleasant place to stay and a hotel that’s easy to recommend to lovers of luxury.

Bandos Maldives resort in the Maldives

The island was one of the first to open as a resort, back in 1972, when the Maldives began promoting tourism. The nation’s one island, one resort policy has been a factor in the Maldives gaining a reputation as an exclusive holiday destination. As I discovered during my stay, it’s possible to participate in a range of activities and you don’t necessarily need to be planning a honeymoon to justify a trip to the Maldives.