12 of the best beach towns in southern Europe

Quiet islands, Venetian harbours, sumptuous seafood and golden sands … these seaside towns in France, Spain, Italy, Croatia, Greece and Portugal are ingrained with the spirit of summer

Get off the motorway: the best cafes and restaurants near busy junctions (in the UK)

Jolly up the Christmas schlep by avoiding overpriced motorway services and dropping in at smaller, friendlier places serving great local produce. Selected from new motoring guide The Extra Mile

Dunking sweet and salty osmania biscuits in Hyderabad, India

Fresh from the ovens, osmania butter cookies are the perfect accompaniment to a cup of Irani chai. At Nimrah bakery, thousands of both are consumed every day

The Royal Mile – Edinburgh

Excerpt from the book 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. In September 2017, Scotland was voted the most beautiful country in the world by a respected travel company, Rough Guides.

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The Royal Mile is the name given to a succession of streets forming the main thoroughfare of the Old Town. With all the historic buildings along this street, it came as a surprise to me to learn the name ‘Royal Mile’ was only coined in 1901 in W M Gilbert’s Edinburgh in the Nineteenth Century. The name was further popularised as the title of a guidebook, published in 1920. The Royal Mile runs uphill from Holyrood Palace to the Castle. East to West it comprises Abbey Strand, Canongate, High Street, Lawnmarket, and Castlehill.

Visitors can spend an entire day sampling all the delights and sights along this single street in Scotland’s capital and that’s without doing any shopping. It’s always better to see a few things well than to see many things fleetingly, so pick your favourites and choose to spend more time at them.

Abbey Strand is the shortest of the five named parts of the Royal Mile and is only as long as the Queen’s Gallery, where items in the Royal collection are exhibited in the former Holyrood Free Church. There are also the remains of the gatehouse of Holyrood Palace built by James IV. The coat-of-arms set in the wall belong to James V and is not an original. With Holyrood at your back and looking up the Royal Mile, the modern building to the left is the Scottish Parliament. Work began in June 1999 and Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) held their first debate on 7 September 2004. Enric Miralles, the Catalan architect who designed the building, died before its completion.

The best winter light festivals across the UK

Switch on the Christmas spirit at one of these illuminated spectacles taking place up and down the country this season