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).
Cool comfort farmstays
Holidays, when I was child, rarely took us further than my grandparents’ smallholding in Somerset – only two counties away from our towny home in Cornwall. We slept on lumpy mattresses under a thatched roof, woke up to crowing cockerels and fresh eggs fried in lard, watched by a herd […]
Holy nights: 6 church stays
Tin tabernacle: The Chapel at Walcot Hall in Shropshire A fine example of the non-conformist, colonial-style, tin-clad chapels that proliferated in the 19th century, this little beauty is hidden in woodland in Shropshire’s 30-acre Walcot Aboretum. The chapel sleeps four in two woody bedrooms (from £575 a week) and features stained-glass […]
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.
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 […]
Homes from home
Introducing our current hot list of self-catering ‘cottages’ – including shepherds huts in deepest Devon, vintage railway carriages in Cornwall, a Scottish island eyrie, a dinky cottage overlooking Polperro’s fishing harbour and a time-warped tin hut in rural Somerset. They are booking up fast for 2023, but there’s always next year…
New York on a budget
The words budget and New York are contradictory surely? In one of the world’s most expensive cities, the spending money doesn’t go very far. But on a recent trip (pre-Covid) we found plenty of low-budget and freebie activities among the must dos. Here’s our top ten tips…
Cornwall: in the know
Cornwall is so rammed with visitors these days they are squeezing into every nook and cranny. But there are still relatively undiscovered places that don’t draw the crowds. My round-up of ‘secrets’ is quite heavy on tin mining, Cornish moorland, scenic railways and social distancing. The only beaches on the list require walking boots and stamina. And I’ve chucked in three random food options.
New hotels 2021: updated
This year’s batch of new hotels include Mollie’s Motel and Diner, (pictured), the Eden Project’s first venture into accommodation, two fresh-faced Graduates (Oxford and Cambridge get one each), a converted Georgian prison and a Safari-tent campsite on an inland surfing lake. Hotels begin to open from 17 May and business is brisk with some booked up already until at least September.
Coventry: the architecture tour
The UK’s City of Culture 2021 is generally associated with new-town concrete, but this model of post-war renewal, claims numerous medieval survivors – the city is perhaps defined by its glorious Cathedral (a conciliation of ancient and modern). And the devil is in the detail. Our highlights feature medieval gatehouses, abstract tiles, Aztec friezes and an animated Lady Godiva.