Hit the North

This deep-dive regional travel blog draws on my expertise as a destination expert, based in Chester. With the focus on UK staycations still prominent, I’ll be highlighting the most interesting new travel projects, the hidden-gem boltholes, and offering my expert-knowledge tips on what to do around the region I live in and know so well. Sign up to my new monthly newsletter from the bottom of the Home Page, or in the menu bar under Newsletter.

And expect new, offbeat and insider-secret travel news and tips from:

  • Chester and Cheshire
  • Liverpool and Manchester
  • North Wales and the wider area
  • The Lake District and Lancashire
  • Wider content exploring the North of England

How to spend St Davids Day in St Davids, Pembrokeshire, Britain’s smallest city

March 5, 2023

Something is stirring in Britain’s smallest city. Green stemmed and canary-yellow-hued, the daffodils are emerging in the grounds of St Davids Cathedral, the holy site founded by St David [see images above], known locally as Dewi Sant, as a sixth-century monastery. The daffodils herald the arrival of spring, releasing the… Read more

Why the Chester Mystery Plays should be on your cultural radar this summer

February 3, 2023

The Chester Mystery Plays return to Chester Cathedral this summer, the season coinciding with the Chester Heritage Festival. The production comprises a huge cast of professional and non-professional performers (pictured above), many volunteering for roles on stage, in the choir, or behind the scenes. I wrote a preview of the… Read more

Why boutique Shrewsbury should be on your UK-staycation radar this year

February 2, 2023

A winter weekend in Shrewsbury? No, really. My first assignment of the new year took me to the Shropshire market town for a UK staycation. The town is closely associated with the story of the naturalist Charles Darwen, Shrewsbury’s most famous son [pictured above]. It hosts an annual festival of natural… Read more

How to visit Pontcanna, Cardiff’s coolest district for a Welsh weekend like a local

December 14, 2022

My last story of the year is part of a round-up feature for Telegraph Travel. I explored the Cardiff suburb of Pontcanna, the en-vogue neighbourhood for shopping, dining and drinking. Here’s a taster of the text: The Welsh capital packs heritage attractions and sporting heroes into the compact city centre.… Read more

How ghost stories reveal the dark reality of life for Yorkshire’s ancient monks

December 11, 2022

A Halloween trip to the North Yorkshire Moors this autumn. I took a trip back through time to Rievaulx Abbey [pictured above] to try a new ghost-story-inspired tour of English Heritage properties. Revenants and Remains is a 90-minute walking tour of five monastic sites across the North of England, ranging… Read more

Visit the little-known, rural Welsh retreat favoured by the new King Charles

December 8, 2022

A rare visit over the autumn to a little-known rural retreat in west Wales. But the Llwynywermod estate, comprising two holiday cottages and a Grade II-listed threshing barn, as well as the main farmhouse, is more than just your average farm-stay holiday accommodation. It’s the restorative retreat built for our new, King… Read more

A preview of my Dark Chester tours for Halloween with the travel blog Go Eat Do

October 9, 2022

An interview with the travel blogger Stuart Forster for his blog, Go Eat Do. The feature is about ideas for a weekend visit to Chester but, with Halloween approaching, previews my new Dark Chester tours [pictured above]. The tours run Saturdays at 6pm and delve into the dark-tourism heritage of… Read more

How to celebrate 125 years of Bram Stoker’s Gothic novel, Dracula, at Whitby Abbey

October 9, 2022

 A trip to Whitby to get into the Halloween spirit. My visit was part of a wider itinerary to explore the Yorkshire Coast Route, a new route intended to showcase the off-season charms of the Yorkshire seaside. The route spans 240 miles, taking in the North Yorks Moors National Park and… Read more

Dark Chester: a walk through the shadows of our dark-tourism history

June 21, 2022

We took a walk on the dark side a few days ago. It was the inaugural outing for my new Dark Chester tour [pictured above], a walking tour through the shadows of Chester’s 2000-year-old history. Think Horrible Histories meets Inside Number Nine with a dash of the Uncanny podcast. In… Read more