Bristol: Save the cranes

These four lovely creatures are the only surviving examples of the 40 waterfront cranes that used to work Bristol docks. Thanks to public pressure, they were saved from the scrapyard when the port closed in 1975 and remain a poignant reminder of the city’s industrial past. Now they face another danger: rust. Around £35,000 is urgently needed to cover the cost of restoration work that will save the metal structures from damaging corrosion. Visit to support the appeal.

Spain: Cave dwellers – and sellers

If you like the look of the habitable Altiplano caves featured on eye-traveller then you might be interested to know that they do come up for sale. In the hills of southern Spain thousands of people live in caves. In the towns and villages around Gaudix (where Matthew Parris owns a holiday cave) Galera and Baza, these rock-cut homes have been in use for centuries; many are still inhabited, but they are often bought as ruins for restoration and for use as second homes. And they are cheap – sometimes very cheap.

One of our favourites (we’ve stayed there twice) is Cuevas el Guindas: a complex of four Flintstone-style holiday lets (pictured above) for sale through Spanish Inland Properties at £325,000. Also for sale is Cuevas la Veranda, a giant cave dwelling near Galera (pictured below): divided into three holiday lets, it has 13 bedrooms and eight bathrooms – for only £212,000 (we believe the vendor is holiday company Under the Thatch). More details here.

All going swimmingly

In Penzance, the Jubilee Pool has just opened a new ‘geothermic’ pool – the first of its kind in the UK. The Art Deco seawater lido, dated 1935, continues to offers its classic pool but now has a steamy section using warm water extracted from a geothermal well (heated to a very comfortable 35 degrees). In the interest of social distancing, tickets are limited and offered in timed slots (£11.75 per person for the geo experience). September is sold out, but there are slots available in October. More info here.

Surf’s up

The new inland surfing destination, The Wave, got off to a flying start when it opened in autumn 2019. The Covid 19 pandemic stymied what would have been a fantastic first summer but the centre (at Easter Compton, north of Bristol) re-on August 1 and will be hosting the 2020 Korev Lager English Adaptive Surfing Open in October. More info here.

Kochi: India’s loved island

Tripadvisors’ annual Travelers’ Choice awards for 2020, has placed Kochi (or Cochin) in Kerala as number one among ‘Trending Destinations’. As the awards are based on last year’s ratings, the trend may now drop off sharply, given India’s Covid-19 situation but once it’s all over (fingers crossed), we have to agree that Kochi is a great place for ‘sunset strolls, sampling fresh fish from seaside vendors and boat rides through the islands‘. Although the airport is called Kochi, you actually fly into Ernakulam – a sprawling, densely populated maritime city (looking a bit Dubai these days, but still the hub of South India’s spice and coir industries). Kochi is one of the city’s off islands: served by ferry boats and loved for its blend of Malabar spices, rakish colonial buildings (the Dutch, the British and the Portuguese all made their mark here), ‘heritage’ hotels, white churches, an early synagogue and emblematic Chinese fishing nets.
It’s a bit of a tourist trap to be honest (the once authentic spice market is now a street of hard-sell gift shops) but it is the principal gateway to Kerala’s magnificent backwaters. Top tip, use the state-run ferries; avoid the tourist boats. See our Kerala stories in the World/India edit.