Travel Ideas from Adrian Mourby
Here are the Travel Ideas for Britain's Finest chosen by Contributing Editor, Adrian Mourby.
Adrian Mourby is a UK-based travel writer who has published four novels alongside two travel guides and a book of humour based on his award-winning Radio 4 series Whatever Happened To...? He has travelled to most parts of the world but would cite Cambodia, Antarctica, Istanbul, Finland, Venice, Luxor, Zanzibar, Burma, Namibia and Sinai amongst his most interesting journeys. Adrian also writes about the UK for European and American publications. His travel journalism has appeared in every UK broadsheet and numerous in-flight and luxury magazines.
My home is in Oxford which can sometimes feel like living in a film set. It’s a familiar experience to find the road you want to walk down closed off by a lighting van and location caterers. But the whole of Britain is a gift to film makers. One reason is the extraordinary... more
There is something about water – lakes, lochs, rivers, and the sea itself - that answers a very deep need in us all. We are drawn to it. We want to swim in it , sail across it or just walk alongside it listening to the sounds of benign burbling. A day spent walking along a... more
I proposed to my first wife above a launderette in Middlesbrough and to my second in the tiny kitchen of my Oxford flat. Neither location was inherently romantic but the end result - in both cases - was positive.
These days however it's becoming common practice to... more
Soon it will be New Year and all over the country Drinkcember will give way to the hairshirt self-denial of Dry January. Anything that seemed celebratory over the Christmas period is out, and we will become a nation of herbal tea-drinkers and carrot-stick munchers. If all... more
Christmas shopping shouldn’t be a chore.
Many years ago I worked out there are two ways to make it pleasurable. One is to collect presents for people throughout the year as you see things they’d like. This means that – as long as you can remember where you... more
In the opening to his novel The Portrait of a Lady, American author Henry James declared, “under certain circumstances there are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea”. James then went on to set his perfect scene with... more
This month Alice through the Looking Glass is released in the UK, yet another British film that makes the most of our countryside and its historic buildings. Not surprisingly a lot of classic hotels have featured in British films too. It’s not uncommon for a film crew to... more
One of the best ways to see the British countryside – if not the best – is from the back of a horse. The view is different up there, you can see over hedgerows and walls, you can go through fields without getting your feet muddy, and there’s sufficient exercise involved in... more
After the toxic delights of Drinkcember and our Christmas bacchanalia, comes Dry January and everyone telling us ‘Tis the Season to Detoxify. For many years January was as joyless as a 31-day hangover with nothing pleasurable on our grey wintery horizon except the hope of a... more
I’ve long had a theory that there are tribes when it comes to alcohol. There are beer people, there are whisky people, there are white wine people and red wine people (two sub-tribes) and there are gin people. It’s not to do with how much you drink -or being an alcoholic-... more
As the seasons change we often cling on to the last of the summer sunshine. Sometimes I think the British are still pagan, fearing that the shortening of the days means the sun will soon disappear never rise again. While some of us book late summer holidays to cram in a... more
Once upon a time a hotel was just somewhere to lay your head if you didn’t have a club to go to or friends in town. Now hotels are visions of a better life, a refuge where we can live in greater luxury than any lord, a building whose decor has cost many millions and where... more
It wasn’t until I had two cats of my own that the words “pet friendly” suddenly began to leap out at me from hotel web pages. What a discovery! While most hotels usually mean well-behaved dogs when they say “pet”, there are also quite a few that will take house-cats like... more
It’s that time of year again when, if we aren't enjoying the delights of Britain during the summer, we head off abroad. As we plan our trip to the airport we realise that our flight is so horribly early we’d better book into a hotel nearby. And while there are some very good... more
Summer is almost upon us, which means that across Britain there will be a host of festivals of many different kinds. Last year I wrote about some of the biggest and best UK festivals and where to stay if you were attending them. This year I’m looking at a more eclectic... more
Not all countries have great country hotels. I’ve travelled in parts of Eastern Europe and the Balkans where you always aim to get to a city by nightfall because rural accommodation is very basic. But in Britain we’re very fortunate that so many old country houses have been... more
The only way to really enjoy Christmas shopping in my opinion is to book into a really good hotel and breakfast well then shop for an hour or so, come back for coffee and put your feet up before another bout of shopping ahead of lunch. After a snooze in your room - or in... more
Purpose-built hotels are a late nineteenth-century phenomenon. Before the word “hotel” became respectable in Britain we had public houses and coaching inns. In the twentieth century many of these were upgraded to become hotels. But many of our finest hotels today are... more
The Georgian era in British architecture lasted from the accession of George I, three hundred years ago, until the Regency period. Many people would claim that under the Prince Regent (later King George IV) Britain’s experiment with Georgian neo-classicism reached its... more
The British have been celebrating their landscape since Constable, Gainsborough and Reynolds took their sketch books outside in the eighteenth century. This tradition continued during the nineteenth century with Turner and the Pre-Raphaelites drawing inspiration from the... more
Champagne has been drunk in this country for centuries but the idea of buying it by the glass really only took off with the rise of the cocktail bar in Britain’s hotels. Suddenly rather than purchasing a whole bottle, it was possible to sit at the bar and sip a glass of... more
Scotland is famous for many things but “Scotch” is probably its best known calling-card around the world. Written records of Scotch whisky can be traced back to 1494 in records of King James IV's accounts, but as a local product, uisge beatha has existed for much longer,... more
We are living in a golden age of British cocktails. Thank goodness. I can remember twenty years ago asking for a dry martini in a British hotel and being given a glass of Martini Rosso with ice cubes. The recent triumph of the British cocktail has gone hand in hand with... more
There was a time when wine-drinking in Britain was either very expensive and shrouded in mists of snobbery, or cheap and downright unpleasant. Those of us who wrecked our student-years trying to enjoy the dreaded trio of Liebfraumilch, Piesporter and Blue Nun were almost put... more