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The Duomo in Milan

Charles Fergusson

The third-largest cathedral in the world. Gothic architecture that goes on and on and on… and it doesn’t appear to have weathered through the centuries. Make sure you cover your shoulders and your legs – even in northern Italian heat of summer – or you’ll be forced to wear a kimono.

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the beyond borders international festival of literature and thought, 25th-26th august

Ian Irvine

This festival takes place in the oldest continuously inhabited house in Scotland, Traquair. Attracts a choice selection of national and international figures from the worlds of politics, media, literature and the arts. In 2017, Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister, took to the marquee stage.

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The Angel Catches the Stars. A Novel of Brexit.

Toby Heale

The Angel Catches the Stars, by Oliver Fairfax, is volume 9, of the Brandt Family Chronicles.

The novel is set against the Brexit negotiations as the EU crumbles. The EU represents an oppressive type of government that always fails. The EU is not a bad concept, but this version will collapse.

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swedish crayfish party, august to mid-september every year

Annabel Sampson

Considered the ‘most Scandi of Scandi parties’, the Crayfish party – or ‘Kräftskiva’ – is a traditional Swedish festival to mark the end of summer. The parties are held in people’s homes with great platters brimming with the glowing red crustaceans, and garnished with flecks of green dill. 

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SWEDEN: Olssons Vin, Gothenburg

Mary Canon-Belle

This place wholeheartedly lives up to everything you’d envisage in a Swedish bar. Architecturally innovative – chic, tiled and immaculate – and with a leafy patio outside. Weave between the plants to find a stool at Olssons then sip prosecco from a tear-shaped glass. Even has a happy hour!

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SWEDEN: natural history museum, gothenburg

Genevieve Delacroix

Tasteful Taxidermy: A strange and excellent place. Bones of whales dangle from the ceiling. Look into wooden dens where the ‘natural habitat’ of a sea cow has been recreated. Marvel at the size of these long-forgotten, never-seen-before creatures – who you’ll probably never see up close again. 

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SWEDEN: Gothenburg Public Sauna, an architectural marvel, Gothenburg

Annabel Sampson

With its rusty corrugated steel exterior, warm timber-lined interior and a view out across the Frihamnen port, this is very likely the utopian sauna. Meander down a wooden plank, then traipse up steel stairs – and finish up in a shower room made of recycled glass bottles. 

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SWEDEN: feskekora in gothenburg, for devout pescatarians

Hamish Charlton

‘The fish church' looms magnificently over the water – it’s looks like a place where people might go to say a prayer. Inside, it's a colourful, fishy market abounding with prawns, shrimps and cod propped atop a bed of ice. Have an ‘open sandwich’ to-go or sit in one of the three restaurants.

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SWEDEN: café husaren, Gothenburg– xxl swedish cinnamon buns

Coralie Purves

Enjoy a cinnamon bun the size of your head – I kid you not. These cinnamon buns are freshly baked on site – soft to touch and delightfully golden, fresh from the oven. Eat as a pizza and divide between your comrades, or, for the hungrier among us, take on solo. Delicious and doughy!

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Suffolk: cedric morris at gainsborough’s house, sudbury

Ferdie Rous

Cedric Morris (1889-1982) is getting a long overdue revival, in triplicate. First, there’s this show in Sudbury – a lovely collection of portraits and landscapes. Then, in April, two shows on Morris open at the Garden Museum and Philip Mould in London – plenty of his trademark iris pictures on show. A delight! On Until June 17.

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stay in a sustainable tinhouse on the isle of skye

Jonathan Finchley

Excellent new shed-like retreats for a springtime trip to see an eagle – try the Tinhouse or a couple of others by the two chaps at Rural Design.

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SPAIN: Gerald's Bar, San Sebastian

Coralie Purves

This cosy little bar offers a bit of a variety from the pintxos circuit of San Sebastian. Old records, delicious drinks and a band of locals, old and young, are what makes this a great spot for a weekday supper or a special occasion. Sit in a corner for a romantic eve or perch at the bar. 

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A summery drink: Negroni Sbagliato

Arthur Nottle

Try an alternative to the Aperol Spritz, that is just as nice-looking in its citrusy brightness. The Negroni Sbagliato was created in 1972 by Mirko Stocchetto at the Bar Basso in Milan added sparkling wine, instead of the usual gin, to a Negroni. It's delicious.

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SPAIN: Galicia: Walk to Santiago de Compostela

Charles Fergusson

Walking the last 100km from Sarria to Santiago entitles you to a pilgrim’s passport. Macs Adventure will carry your bags to your next hotel. Perfect for singles. All yours for around £500 and you must stay in the Parador at the end.

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South Yorkshire: wentworth woodhouse

Hamish Charlton

A room for every day of the year – yes, there’s 365. It can also claim to have the longest façade in Europe. It has been re-opened for tours once more! Spread the word – the sheer scale is bewildering.

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South East: St Benedict - Victorian B&B, Hastings

Annabel Sampson

Glory Victoriana! This ostentatious B&B in St Leonards on Sea, up-the-hill from downtown Hastings is well worth a trip. If only for rooms called things like ‘Nanny Hawkins’, ‘The Colonel’s Room’ and ‘The Old Nursery’. Captivating Victorian details and a hearty breakfast spread.

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somebody i used to know, a memoir about dementia by wendy mitchell

London Potters

A former Radio 4 book of the week. Brave, illuminating and inspiring by all accounts, and said to be the first memoir written by somebody living with dementia. Philosophical and ultimately full of hope, Somebody I Used to Know gets to the very heart of what it means to be human.

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short history of drunkenness by Mark Forsyth

Ferdie Rous

‘We evolved to drink.’ Mark Forsyth sensibly believes we were programmed to be heroically drunk from the moment we came down from the trees, sniffing the air for fermenting fallen fruit. Perfect present.

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Scottish Highlands: Jura Hotel, Isle of Jura

Thea Dale

The Jura Hotel is under new ownership, and it’s looking rather plush. After an outdoorsy day exploring, hot-footing across the fells, you can await great comfort and a tasty supper back home. The remote, mystical island of George Orwell and whisky fame has never been more appealing.

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Scottish Borders: Saffron, a gem hidden in the borders countryside

Ian Irvine

This small, friendly Indian restaurant serves freshly cooked dishes of the highest quality. Onion bhajis and tasty chicken balti are among the many options.

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Scotland: The Battle of Bannockburn Experience, Stirling

Arthur Nottle

The battle that changed Scottish history. A truly informative day out, which ends in a fun interactive game pitting the English against the Scots - how history may have differed had the English army got their act together against the brave Scots that fateful day.

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SCOTLAND: A visit to Glasgow

Roger Lewis

A beautiful city, charged with culture and history. Great places to eat too.

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scoop! magazine – erudite, witty and utterly unpatronising

Coralie Purves

I am the grandmother, seeking a magazine to amuse two little girls on holiday. So I latched on to Scoop! – ‘A Kaleidoscope of Creative Genius for Kids’. It’s bright and breezy, addressing readers as ‘Scoopers’,  but decidedly bookish – clearly aimed at the screen-endangered eight to thirteens.   

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save yourself some trouble and grow spinach beet

Ferdie Rous

Don’t listen to the true-spinachers, spinach beet has the same benefits, greater yields and fewer disadvantages than ‘the real thing’.

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revival of the generation game… featuring basil brush

Harry Mount

Basil Brush, The Oldie's 21st-century Fox of the Year and new great friend to the magazine, will be appearing as part of the revived Generation Game coming to telly sets over the Easter weekend. Worth watching for our gingery, fluffy friend alone. Boom! Boom!

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