How to book and travel by high-speed train around China

China’s rail network is a fast-paced wonder that makes exploring this huge country – including Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen – much easier

Travel Poetry – 2

Travel poem number 2 about Istanbul.

Returning from drinking a sage tea in a cafe near some tombs I get off the tram;

the cars screech to a halt at the red light as I dodge by the man selling dancing mutant zebras.

People are buying clothes from a pile on the pavement as a salesman calls out the prices.

The humidity is high.

A stallholder presses fresh orange juice and the restaurant is still open;

men are sitting on wooden chairs on the pavement chatting as the traffic zooms by on the flyover.

Cats miaow and hiss over a discarded kebap and a dolmus is waiting to travel to a distant suburb.

The tour operator still wants me to go to Georgia tomorrow.

It is nearly midnight in Aksaray in Istanbul


10 top tips for taking amazing travel photographs

Expert advice on capturing great travel shots

My new book

My new book is called: Travels through History – Northern Ireland and Scotland 

Belfast and the Causeway Coast has been rated best region in the world to visit in 2018 by Lonely Planet.

Lonely Planet praised its “timeless beauty and high-grade distractions – golf, whiskey and some of the world’s most famous rocks. The region may be famous for Game of Thrones but its many scenic filming locations are just the start.”


Travels through History : Northern Ireland and Scotland covers not only the murals and Titanic Centre in Belfast, but also the world-famous rocks of The Giant’s Causeway, Dunluce Castle, and the Beaghmore Stone Circles, situated in Northern Ireland’s darkest area.

The original owners realised it was time to leave Dunluce Castle when the kitchen along with their cooks and the dinner they were preparing fell into the sea during a particularly bad storm.

In September 2017, Scotland was voted the most beautiful country in the world by a respected travel company. Rough Guides, the leading publisher of travel and reference guides, tasked its readers to choose the top 20 most beautiful countries in the world, and Scotland came out on top.

Travels through History : Northern Ireland and Scotland covers not only the capital Edinburgh, but also the Isle of Lewis, the border abbey at Dryburgh, and the mysterious chapel at Rosslyn as featured in the famous book The Da Vinci Code.

On Lewis, itself voted Europe’s top island destination in 2014 by TripAdvisor, I write about the 5,000-year old stone circle at Callanish, the 2,000-year old rock house at Dun Carloway, and the black houses at Arnol where people lived until the 1960s.

In Edinburgh, I describe the sights that can be seen along The Royal Mile from Holyrood House to The Castle including the cafe where JK Rowling wrote some of the Harry Potter books. I visited the botanical gardens with its magnificent Victorian Temperate Palm House, the tallest in Britain and a Chinese garden, home to the largest collection of wild-origin Chinese plants outside China.


The best 2018 holiday deals and January sales

Flight offers, family holiday packages and affordable spa breaks all feature in our roundup of New Year travel deals, to destinations such as Italy, the Azores and Canada

Travel photography competition: 2017 – the winners

Here are the top shots from each month. Scroll down to see the overall winner, whose prize is a fabulous wildlife holiday for two to Costa Rica with Exodus Travels