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CUMBRIA: The world's original marmalade awards, Dalemain

Sally Longville

Dalemain, a Georgian mansion in Cumbria, is home to the World's Original Marmalade Awards – a celebration of one of the most British of customs: making marmalade. Founded twelve years ago, the event now attracts more than 3,000 entries!

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Cumbria: the keswick museum, a cabinet of curiosities, Keswick

Sue Crewe

Small in size but well worth a visit. Housed in an Edwardian villa in the centre of town. It includes Robert Southey’s death mask; a huge musical instrument, the ‘keys’ of which are slabs of stone; and much taxidermy – while a second room is devoted to temporary exhibitions of local interest.

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Cumbria: Keswick - now a unesco world heritage site, Keswick

Sue Crewe

The visitors come because it is sublimely beautiful; the mountains (here called fells), valleys, woodland, lakes and tarns (little lakes) combine in such a way that the scenery is neither bleak nor cloyingly pretty. It can be wild and hazardous on the higher peaks, but the farmstead-scattered valleys and smooth-surfaced lakes are tranquil.

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Cumbria: Higham Hall, Western Lake district

Lucy Blanchette

Take a ‘study break in the lake’ with a course at Higham Hall in a manor built in 1828 and supposedly the former site of a Druid temple. Courses in literature appreciation, ‘carols for the terrified’, wood carving and – supposedly the very best – the Raku Pottery Workshop, that takes place twice yearly.

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Cumbria: Appleby Horse Fair, 7-10th June 2018, Appleby

Lucy Blanchette

Take part in the annual gathering of gypsies and travellers in the town of Appleby-in-Westmorland in Cumbria, for what is generally regarded as the most important date in the gypsy calendar. Enjoy a tipple at The Grapes public house, where horses are regularly tied up outside!

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chilly gonzales, musical etudes, for the ‘lapsed pianist'

Annabel Sampson

CDs designed to reintroduce the piano to people who gave it up. Chilly Gonzales is a charismatic Canadian pianist, well worth getting tickets to see live. Gonzo shares his point of view on scales, explains how melodies are designed, how modern pop harmony works and his own secret musical shortcuts.

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Belgium: Ghent: Pakhuis, dinner in a former textiles warehouse

Hamish Charlton

This hip, if mildly ostentatious, modern brasserie-bar-restaurant is set in a magnificently restored former textile warehouse. It retains the original century-old wrought ironwork and an incredible roof. It’s well worth popping inside, even if you only stop for a drink.
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Beaulieu sur Dordogne Apartments France

Elizabeth Garbett

Three apartments in the medieval center of Beaulieu next to the Dordogne river. Fully furnished to the highest standard and ready to welcome you. Laura was most helpful during our stay.  The apartments are fully inspected and accredited by French tourist association.

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Argyll: Isle of Eriska Hotel, Eriska

Fiona Duncan

A wonderful rumbly old bridge connects mainland Argyll to little Eriska and its Scots Baronial mansion. It’s very comfortable and there’s a nine-hole golf course and a leisure centre, but, above all, it’s the island itself, with seals and otters and dreamlike views, that lingers in the memory.

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CUBA: La Guarida Restaurant, Havana

Lucy Blanchette

Early-20th-century palace with twisting marble staircases and chandeliers; quite surprising given the entrance that suggests it’s a derelict hovel. The rabbit parfait and suckling pig are the favourites. A spectacular, high-ceilinged bathroom. Describes itself as an ‘emblem of Havana’ and was recommended by all ahead of my trip there.

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CUBA: Casa Miglis, Swedish-Cuban fusion food, Havana

Lucy Blanchette

More contemporary than Havana's much-praised La Guarida, but equally intriguing. Owned by a Swedish film director, it’s a minimalist hot spot inspired by avant-garde cinema and offers Swedish-Cuban fusion food such as skagen (shrimps on toast) and Grandma’s Swedish meatballs. I would encourage you to try the souvlaki.

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crewe train/the world my wilderness

Ferdie Rous

Fans of Rose Macaulay (The Towers of Trebizond) will be delighted to know that these two books have been reissued in paperback by Virago Modern Classics.

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cornwall: the tin mines, botallack

Lara Akeroyd

We ventured in his direction for a family geological field trip – I would encourage others to do the same. The mines are part of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site. It was absolutely incredible, particularly the Crowns engine houses which cling to the cliffs here. Amazing scenery, too.

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cornwall: hotel tresanton, st mawes

Hamish Charlton

St Mawes is one of the prettiest fishing villages in Cornwall, and the Tresanton celebrates this. It's perched on the coast, with views out to the sea towards St Anthony’s Lighthouse. We spent hours in the comfort of the dining room and Italian sitting room. I never wanted to leave.

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chipping campden festival, 12th-26th may

Richard Osborne

This newish event is already noted for its classic repertory and the quality of the artists it provides. The line-up is curated by pianist Paul Lewis in the acoustically superb ‘wool’ church of St James.

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Cambridgeshire: the manor at hemingford grey

Rich Davey

Built in the 1130s this house was recreated and made famous as the house of Green Knowe by Lucy Boston in her children’s books. The moated house is surround by four acres of garden and a collection of more than 200 old roses and irises, some dating from the 1950s. Visit the house by appointment, or the garden all year round.

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Cambridgeshire: kettle’s yard, reopened and awaiting visitors, Cambridge

Lysander Tyler-Green

Jim Ede is remembered as ‘a friend to the artists’ – at least he is immortalised as such – in a blue plaque on his former house, now owned by the University of Cambridge. After more than a year, it has now been reopened to the public. Known as the ‘Louvre of the Shell’; the pristine white surroundings are filled with works by artists such as Moore, Mirò and Gaudier-Brzeska.

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BULGARIA: The ancient city of Plovdiv

Hamish Charlton

This city was chosen as the European Capital of Culture for 2019. It’s all ready and waiting to be visited. Rarely have I seen a place so prepared. The most spectacular Roman ruins, of which there are several, have been excavated and explained. The hotels have been modernised, their Ottoman features, where possible, retained. Plan a trip to find unknown splendours.

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BRISTOL: Toad Lodge B&B

Nigel Summerley

Toad Lodge has to be the weirdest – and most welcoming – place to stay in the great city of Bristol. Run by the remarkable Madam Toad and her helpers, it offers cheap and cheerful bed and breakfast in a toad-themed environment: from the toad statues in the garden; to toad waste bins in every room; toad figurines and napkins in the dining room; and duvet covers, bathroom tiles and shower curtains, ...
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BRAZIL: Rio de Janeiro: Mama Ruisa

Fiona Duncan

A serene colonial mansion with wooden floors, high ceilings and French windows on to a wraparound balcony with views of Guanabara Bay that take your breath away. A pair of striking tangerine sofas dominates the sleek sitting room. A design showcase that is also homely and welcoming.

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Berwickshire: paxton house – a great day out in the scottish borders, Berwick Upon Tweed

Annabel Sampson

Chippendale 300 is a nationwide celebration of Thomas Chippendale, explore Paxton House and its collection - one of the best house tours in the UK, extensive grounds, play park, tearoom, boat trips and much more.

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Berkshire: La Cloche (part of the carpenters), Sunninghill

Ruby Scott

A marvellous French restaurant – and country pub – serving rustic regional French cuisine. A true entente cordiale. Fires (and red wine) in the winter and garden (and rosé) in the summer. That’s the seasonal order of the day, which sounds perfect to us.

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AUSTRALIA: Kakadu: A Taste of Kakadu Festival – Celebrating the Best

Nigel Summerley

Kakadu will become nature’s kitchen in May, bringing together the best native food chefs for Australia’s premier indigenous food festival. A Taste of Kakadu will be held from 18th to 27th May, showcasing the variety of bush food and the culinary potential of one of the world’s great national parks. 

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a life less throwaway, buy me once by tara button

Alfred Watchley

Author Tara Button runs a full-time business encouraging people to shift their ‘short-term’ buying habits. 'A Life Less Throwaway' encourages people to ‘buy for life’ and celebrates sustainable and life-lasting products. Visit her website or read her book for ‘buy me once’ ideas.

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Berkshire: the mill at sonning, top class dinner-theatre

Hamish Charlton

Go to the theatre in a restored mill in Sonning, a village described by author Jerome K Jerome, as ‘the most fairy-like little nook on the whole river’ in his book, Three Men in a Boat. The theatre is powered in full by a hydro-electric current generated by the River Thames.

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