Recent posts

Eye Movies, Film

Noto Flower Festival

At the annual Infiorata (flower festival) in Noto, southern Sicily, artists use flower petals to create vivid designs on the paving of one street (the city is a World Heritage site, thanks to its 17th-18th century Baroque architecture). The theme for 2024 is Puccini. Thanks to Dave Young / Pod Films for the movie

Architecture, UK

Ron’s Place: loved and listed

A ground floor flat in Birkenhead has been Grade II listed thanks to the remarkable classical interiors created in secret by its former tenant, the late Ron Gittins. Think Egyptian tomb in the hallway, Roman altar in the kitchen and a giant concrete fireplace in the Lion Room. Fingers crossed, it will be open to the public very soon.

Architecture, UK, Where to stay

Holy nights: 7 churchy stays

Sleeping in a converted church is not everyone’s idea of heaven, but disused chapels, churches and other ecclesiastical buildings often pop up in those accommodation listings which specialise in the unique, the quirky and the ‘extraordinary’. From tin tabernacles to church camping and an immaculate chapel hotel we pick some of the best.

Architecture, UK

Meat pie, mash and preservation

On the UK’s National Pie Day (23 January), I am pleased to report that Manze’s pie shop in Deptford has been awarded a Grade II listing. First opened in 1914, the premises is a rare surviving example of an Anglo-Italian, working-class institution that once proliferated in early 20th century London.

Cornwall, Travel, UK

Going wild: on Bodmin Moor

Just before the October publication of Louis de Berniere’s new novel, Light Over Liskeard, I returned to my Cornish roots to explore the landscapes which inspired him: a land of ‘ghosts and ruins’, megaliths, mythology and some truly remote places to stay.

Travel, Where to stay, World

Trippy trips: 10 crazy places to stay

Tired of greyness: grey skies, grey décor, grey thinking? Well, here’s an antidote… check into one of these beauties: a pick-n-mix collection of airbnbs, hotels, motels and guest houses big on colour, clutter and self-expression. From Margate to Mexico, this is decorating anarchism: no rules, no limits, no greys…

Architecture, UK

Weymouth: the architecture tour

Look beyond the deckchairs and the donkey rides and the cliched seaside bling and this colourful Dorset town is a treat for architecture buffs. One of Britain’s oldest resorts, its best bits are mainly Georgian (a gilded statue of George III reigns over the seafront’s Regency terraces) but the town’s […]

Architecture, UK

Margate: the architecture tour

As Sam Mendes’ new film Empire of Light turns the spotlight on Margate, we take a look at the Isle of Thanet town’s architectural landscape – highlights include a chalk cave, a mysterious shell grotto, a derelict lido, a 1960s Brutalist tower block, a vintage roller coaster and the Grade II* listed Dreamland cinema (the fictional Empire of Light in the aforementioned film).

UK, Where to stay

Margate: best places to stay

Goodbye boarding house, hello boutique hotel. Margate’s new generation of places to stay is all about cool Independents – guest houses, pubs with rooms and some quirky one offs. Our top ten includes more than one townhouse, a rock-and-roll guest house, an art deco B&B, a jazzed-up vintage caravan and a prison cell.