Taking in the Views in Wales

Views from Carreg Cennen Castle in Wales

For stunning Welsh countryside views and an eerie step back in time, climb up to Carreg Cennen Castle, one of the most photographed castles in Wales. One of Great Britain’s great castles, Carreg Cennen is one of the most photographed castles in Wales. This fortress sits on a high limestone cliff, overlooking the area farms in the Brecon […]

Exploring Cornwall


It is naive to think that just one city sets the tone for an entire county. I quickly learned that just because you have visited London does not mean that you have visited England. I love London don’t get me wrong, but it is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to understanding […]

Channelling Jane Austen at Box Hill

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They had a very fine day for Box Hill; and all the other outward circumstances of arrangement, accommodation, and punctuality, were in favour of a pleasant party… Nothing was wanting but to be happy when they got there. Seven miles were travelled in expectation of enjoyment, and every body had a burst of admiration on first arriving.

So writes Jane Austen in Emma. Unfortunately things do not continue so happily for that little party, but Box Hill is certainly a heavenly picnic spot, high in the Surrey Hills, with idyllic English countryside stretching as far as the eye can see.

Box Hill, Surrey

When I signed up to judge an international English competition, I was excited to find my venue was Box Hill School, in the village of Mickleham. When I arrived at the cottage where I would be staying, I exclaimed that I felt like Jane Austen. It was immediately apparent that my manager was not familiar with the finer details of Emma, as he was looking at me like I had two heads. Good start. Still, once I explained the literary connections, he thought I was slightly less odd.

Old Cottage Box Hill

My ‘Jane Austen’ home.

When not …read more

Five memories of Kensal Green, London

Kensal Green, London

After five months of living in London, I’m leaving to set off on a peripatetic few months through Europe. In that funny trick that time plays, it feels as though I have been here for much longer and shorter than five months; rhythms and routines feel so familiar that I might have been doing them forever, but at the same time there are hundreds of places I still haven’t seen and so much which still feels new.

For now, I’m just bidding farewell to Kensal Green, my London home, but I know that this city will call me back time and …read more

UK Editor Update: Looking for Downton Abbey

confused hometown with downton abbey

American tourists flock to wrong village in search of Downton Abbey The Telegraph, 02 Sep 2013 I laughed out loud when I came across this article – my parents have recently moved to Downton in Wiltshire, so it just tickled me to think of confused tourists turning up in their local pub. Quite understandably, people […]

Visit to Penzance: England’s Tropical Paradise


Penzance proves to be just the place for a father/daughter trip Penzance, a town in Cornwall, is on the tip of the southernmost peninsula of England. It is not a popular holiday spot by any means – heck, most people living outside of the United Kingdom have probably never heard of it. Most of the tourists are […]