Tag: cultural tourism

The best hotels in Liverpool to see the Giants

Image: istock

My latest article for Independent Travel is a guide to the best hotels in Liverpool.

It’s a timely piece to plan a visit to the area for the forthcoming Liverpool Dreams event, the street performance by French giant-puppet troupe Royal de Luxe over the weekend of October 4-7.

Featuring the likes of the Hope Street Hotel and 2 Blackburn Terrace, here’s a preview:

The city on the Mersey is celebrating 10 years since its successful tenure as the European Capital of Culture and has continued to boom since. Based in the Northwest, I’ve seen Liverpool’s fortunes ebb and flow with the tides of the Mersey estuary. Today, it’s a vibrant city with a strong cultural scene and a hedonistic nightlife. But it also has a rich heritage of classical architecture, notably the Unesco World Heritage-listed sweep of the waterfront.

Read the whole story, Liverpool hotels: 10 of the best places to stay.

And plan your Giants itinerary here.

The amazing story of the Normandy artist behind the Water-Lilies

Just back home.

I spent last week on the Monet trail In Normandy, exploring sites associated with the father of the Impressionist art movement.

It was scorching hot and peak-season chaos but I could still get a sense of the delicious tranquility of Monet’s garden at Giverny [pictured above].

And, by visiting places in the Seine Valley between Paris and Rouen, I could also get a sense of the man behind the movement.

Best of all, a visit to the Musée d’Orangerie offered me a chance to get up close with his master opus, the Water-Lilies cycle — les Nympheas in French.

The article is for the November issue of France Magazine but, meanwhile, here’s a taster.

To get up close to the Water-Lilies requires a visit to Musée de L’Orangerie, tucked into the corner of the Tuileries Garden in Paris.

The eight compositions, moving from dawn to sunset across two light-filed rooms, form the striking centrepiece of the overall exhibition.

In the words of Monet himself, it was created to give “… the illusion of an endless whole, of a wave with no horizon and no shore”.

Get a sneak preview of the new V&A in Dundee, Scotland

To Dundee, then, for the a preview of the opening of the new V&A museum on September 15.

V&A Dundee will be the first ever dedicated design museum in Scotland.

The museum [pictured above] will feature permanent Scottish design galleries, including objects from Charles Rennie Mackintoshs Oak Tea Room.

The opening exhibition, Ocean Liners: Speed and Style, runs until February.

I was a bit unsure about Dundee at first. It’s not the most straightforward journey, changing trains at Edinburgh, and first impressions of the city centre didn’t exactly blow me away.

Think a vast construction site, compounded by road closures for the weekend’s Rita Ora concert in Slessor Gardens.

But, the next day, I explored beyond the main streets and found a different side to a city still in its tourism infancy.

Read more in my forthcoming feature for Immediate Media.

Two terrific reasons for a half-term day out in Liverpool

I owe Gary Oldman a beer.

I’d tried pitching a story before about Western Approaches, the secret wartime bunker under an office block in Liverpool. It didn’t work out.

But with Darkest Hour cleaning up at cinemas and Mr Oldman tipped for an Oscar on March 4, Winston Churchill is writ large on screen once more.

Good timing then to try the story again with a new angle. After all, Winnie was a bit of regular at the nerve centre for the Battle of the Atlantic.

The timing was right for a feature timed for February half term. Here’s a preview:

Western Approaches HQ houses the original Gaumont Kalee Dragon projector [pictured above] Churchill used to watch secret war footage. Newsreel controlled by the Ministry of Information was then shown to the public in cinemas to boost morale.

I even managed to tie a Liverpool trip into the press preview of the new Terracotta Warriors exhibition at the World Museum.

Just don’t ask how many warriors made it across the Mersey.

Read the full story, Take the kids to Western Approaches, Liverpool.