A weekend break in Dublin, Ireland

Listen into conversations as you take a coffee break and you may well overhear Dubliners joking about their politicians failings, life’s everyday challenges and the differences between their city’s north- and south sides. The dividing line for that debate is the River Liffey. Roddy Doyle captures its spirit in his Barrytown Trilogy, the series of humorous, culturally observant novels consisting of The Commitments, The Snapper and The Van.

Visiting Durham Lumiere 2017

The fifth edition of Durham Lumiere will take place in Durham City from 16 to 19 November 2017. The UK’s largest light festival features 29 artworks in locations across the city. “It’s world class. Durham shines bright on a global scale,” said Simon Henig, the leader of Durham County Council, at an event unveiling the...

With a Local: Saint John, New Brunswick

The city of Saint John, in New Brunswick, offers a fine night out. After an unexpectedly late finish to the previous day I pulled back the curtains in my waterfront hotel room to reveal a view of the mouth of the Saint John River, which opens into the Bay of Fundy, which was even foggier...

Day trips in Alberta from Calgary

If you enjoy the dinosaur exhibits at London’s Natural History Museum, you’re likely to love the Royal Tyrell Museum in Drumheller. The palaeontology museum stands in Alberta’s Badlands, a dramatic eroded landscape with exposed rock stratification, coulees and mushroom-like formations known as hoodoos.

Reasons to visit Northumberland, England’s most northerly county

Alnwick Castle is the modern-day family home of the Dukes of Northumberland. Sculpted stone figures depicting medieval soldiers top the crenallated tower above the castle’s bailey. Many visitors recognise the castle from the films Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. It has been used by filmmakers as sets in numerous movies, as well as Brancaster Castle in special editions of the popular Downton Abbey television series.

Calgary: an introduction to Alberta’s biggest city

Calgarians embrace their Western heritage, which is celebrated each summer during the Calgary Stampede. Rodeos, chuckwagon racing and line dancing are all elements of an event that’s dubbed ‘the greatest outdoor show on earth’. You’re likely to see police officers wearing broadbrimmed hats, reminiscent of sheriffs in Western movies.

Whale watching in the Bay of Fundy, Canada

I lean over the inflated side of the boat, photographing a shearwater taking a rest just out of touching distance from the boat. A cry of excitement causes me to spin around and I catch a glimpse of a humpback whale in mid-air, twisting amid spray before splashing back down into the sea. I know I’ve missed a golden photo opportunity but feel blessed for having seen such a magnificent sight.

With a Local: Campobello Island, New Brunswick

The island became an international park in 1964. Administered jointly by Canada and the United States of America, the 1,134-hectare park was created in memory of US President Franklin Delaney Roosevelt, who first visited the park in the company of his parents, aged just one year old. The Roosevelt’s affectionately called Campobello their “beloved island”.