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Sophie Dickinson

Sophie Dickinson

Interim Travel Writer, Time Out

Sophie Dickinson is an Interim Travel Writer on Time Out's international team. She's especially interested in writing about weird culture, delicious food, strange buildings, and the best things to do around the world.

Follow her on Twitter: @sdickinson8

Articles (35)

The 18 best and coolest seaside towns in the UK

The 18 best and coolest seaside towns in the UK

If there’s one thing the UK has a lot of, it’s coastline. Our island nation is edged with some brilliant beaches (several of the world’s most beautiful beaches, in fact) – and many of the towns and villages clustered around them are having a renaissance right now.  You can forget the clichĂ©s of rain, pebbles, chippies and faded towns well past their heyday. These ace seaside towns come with cutting-edge arts scenes and destination restaurants making British seaside holidays cool again. From arty hotspots in Cornwall to quaint fishing towns in Wales and secluded coves in Scotland, consider this your ultimate UK seaside guide. This way for sun, sand, sea air and all the ingredients you need for brilliant beachside breaks this summer.  Heading out from the capital on your jaunt? Check out our guide to the best seaside towns near London. RECOMMENDED:🐚 The most beautiful hidden beaches in the UK🏊 The best wild swimming spots in the UK📾 The UK’s most Instagrammed villagesđŸȘ‚ The best extreme outdoor activity breaks in the UK🚮 The most beautiful bike trails in the UK

The cosiest places to stay in the UK

The cosiest places to stay in the UK

Oversized knits, hot chocolates by the fire, a mountain of roast potatoes drowning in gravy: at the best of times, the colder months call for a shameless injection of cosiness. But if you’re looking to really indulge yourself this year? We suggest planning a snug winter getaway with your loved ones. To help you out, we’ve picked the best places to head on a stress-free stay across the UK. If your own home never feels quite cosy enough, however high you crank the central heating, this lot will do the trick. Just stepping into these cabins, cottages and Airbnbs will feel like a massive hug. RECOMMENDED:💕 The best romantic weekend getaways in the UKđŸȘ” Amazing cabins and cottages in the UK🌳 11 incredible treehouses you can book in the UK🧘 The best wellbeing breaks and yoga retreats in the UKđŸžïž The most beautiful national parks in the UK

How to rent a campervan in the UK

How to rent a campervan in the UK

Right now, planning a break in the UK seems like the easiest and least-likely-to-go-wrong option for post-lockdown holidays. And spending that holiday in a campervan feels genius. Not only can you keep yourself to yourself, you can also explore as much of the UK as you fancy, on a road trip that takes in the most picturesque parts of the country.  As long as you’ve got an all-weather campsite to park up in, there’s no reason why you can’t campervan out of season either. Clever, eh? Chances are you don’t have a camper parked handily outside your flat right now (if you do, can we borrow it please?) so here are four ways to get you started on a campervanning holiday in the UK. RECOMMENDED:đŸ•ïž The best UK campsites 🏞 Where to go wild camping in the UK🚐 The coolest places to park your campervan in the UK🏊 The best wild swimming spots in the UK🩩 Where to spot rare wildlife in the UK

5 tiny but perfectly formed UK hideaways

5 tiny but perfectly formed UK hideaways

Most people’s dream post-lockdown holiday involves a whole load of space. Miles of deserted sandy beach or a whole mountain’s worth of untouched snow to explore. But we’re here to argue that sometimes the best things really do come in small packages. So why not have a mini adventure at one of these super-cute holiday properties, all of which are within easy-ish reach of London? Having so little space might be teeth-grindingly annoying when you’re sharing it with four SpareRoomers, but it’s another thing entirely on a weekend break.  RECOMMENDED:💕 The best romantic weekend getaways in the UKđŸȘ” Amazing cabins and cottages in the UK🌳 11 incredible treehouses you can book in the UK🧘 The best wellbeing breaks and yoga retreats in the UKđŸžïž The most beautiful national parks in the UK  

The 9 best places to see autumn leaves in the UK

The 9 best places to see autumn leaves in the UK

The arrival of autumn in the UK is no reason to despair. Sure, it makes our largely alfresco social lives a little trickier to maintain, but we can make it work. There are crisp bright mornings, cosy evenings and pubs with open fires to look forward to. Not forgetting great swathes of yellow, orange and brown leaves to admire. Mid-to-late-October is the best time to see autumn leaves in the UK, and these parks and woodlands are about to become the most scenic spots for super-wholesome strolls. See ya on the other side, summer. RECOMMENDED:🩩 Where to spot rare wildlife in the UKđŸȘ‚ The best extreme outdoor activity breaks in the UK🌾 Where to see wisteria in the UK 💙 The UK’s top spots for bluebells 💜 The best places to see lavender in the UK

14 stunning modernist buildings in the UK you have to visit

14 stunning modernist buildings in the UK you have to visit

When you think of modern buildings in Britain, what do you imagine? Unimaginative shopping centres, or Brutalist blocks of flats? Modernist architecture is one hell of a broad school, stunning and imposing in equal measure – not always good, but not always bad, either. Often, if buildings are doing their job, they’re not always obvious or notable. We just live among them.Owen Hatherley’s new tome, Modern Buildings in Britain, is the ultimate guide to the art galleries, housing estates, civic halls, cathedrals and factories that make up our towns. It’s seriously definitive, running to over 600 pages. Hatherley guides the reader through the country, including abandoned underpasses and Cambridge faculties that you can visit ‘without some wanker demanding your credentials for being there’.Best of all, a load of these beautiful, brutal, ingenious sites are open to the public. We’ve collected 14 of the best here, but there are far, far more in the book.  RECOMMENDED: The best things to do in the UK

9 of the most breathtaking hikes in Europe

9 of the most breathtaking hikes in Europe

When it comes to the continents of the world, Europe is a baby. In size only, of course, but that does mean that the hikes in this part of the world aren’t quite on the epic scale of something like the Pan-American Highway or the Karakoram. That is ‘epic’ in terms of length, of course, because the best hikes in Europe are jaw-droppers in their own rights. There are some simply breathtaking long walks around this wonderful continent, and author Alex Roddle has taken it upon himself to pick out the best of the best for intrepid strollers everywhere. ‘Wanderlust Europe’ showcases Europe at its ambling best, and these hikes should be top of your to-do list. If your to-do list contains potential hikes, obviously. 

Four places in Northern Ireland every ‘Game of Thrones’ fan must visit

Four places in Northern Ireland every ‘Game of Thrones’ fan must visit

Ah, Game of Thrones. There was a time when you couldn’t escape the twisty, expansive, sex-filled fantasy world, and the scheming, ambitious characters who lived there. No matter what you thought of the final season, fans have consequently mourned the end of the show for years. And for good reason: it was really bloody good. A real highlight, of course, was the spectacular worldbuilding of George R R Martin. From the unforgiving Kingsroad to the mysterious Winterfell forest, it all looked pretty astonishing on screen, too. But where exactly was the series shot? Well, much of the action in fact took place in Northern Ireland, one of the four nations that make up the UK, and now many of the IRL filming locations can actually be visited by the public. From the expansive official studio tour to the eerie Dark Hedges and the spooky Cushendun Caves, here’s how to see Westeros at its most magical – without having to dig out that boxset.

11 of the cheapest cities to visit in Europe on a budget

11 of the cheapest cities to visit in Europe on a budget

Travel is well and truly back, people. Covid testing for tourists is increasingly being scrapped across the board, and travellers are practically being ushered into the once-bustling cities of Europe. But the thing is, lots of us are still strapped for cash after two years of uncertainty.  The good news is this: there are plenty of interesting and affordable locations on the Continent that you can visit without breaking the bank. Plus, a load of them are off the beaten track, meaning you won’t have to fight your way through crowds to find the best bits. We found out the average price of an Airbnb in each place, and cross-referenced that with data from financial comparison site Finder to work out where you can get a discount pint, too. From the ruin-filled city of Argos in Greece to the foodie-heaven of Graz in Austria, here are 11 of the cheapest cities to visit in Europe. RECOMMENDED: The 16 best city breaks in Europe for 2022

The 7 best places to see the Northern Lights around the world

The 7 best places to see the Northern Lights around the world

The Northern Lights (aka the aurora borealis) should be on every traveller’s celestial bucket list. TikTok and Instagram are full of aurora-chasers who spend considerable amounts of time tracking geomagnetic storms in order to see swirling streaks of pink, green, yellow and blue light up the sky. Typically, the Northern Lights are visible in places like Iceland, Norway and Canada, but every now and again, the northern reaches of the USA and UK get a display, too. The lights might look magical, but there’s a rather unromantic scientific explanation for them. The Northern Lights may appear as an arc that curves across the sky, or ribbons of pink, yellow and green that move through the darkness. They light up the sky when gaseous particles in the Earth’s atmosphere and charged particles from the sun’s atmosphere collide, and are blown towards the earth by solar wind.It’s because of this that we can sort of predict where you can spot them. They’re usually deflected by the planet’s magnetic field – but this is weaker at the poles. That means somewhere within the Arctic Circle is your best bet. In the southern hemisphere, they’re called aurora australis, but they’re much trickier to spot from land. For the best viewing experience, you’re going to want to choose a dark night, so looking skywards between November and March is recommended. Pick a night when there’s a new moon, and make sure it’s cloudless and that there’s no light pollution.  So, are you ready to see something pretty

The 8 best new museums opening around the world in 2022

The 8 best new museums opening around the world in 2022

There was a time, in the seemingly endless lockdowns of last year (and the year before that), where it seemed like IRL culture had just stopped. The idea of a brand-new gallery popping up didn’t just seem unlikely, it felt impossible. But the worlds of art and heritage didn’t actually cease to exist. Across the globe, artists continued to create strange, groundbreaking works. Galleries battled through. And now 2022 is here (and the virus appears to be fading), a whole host of new museums (new!) are opening their doors for the very first time. Here are eight of the most exciting museum openings of the year.RECOMMENDED: 6 really, really small museums around the world

6 really, really small (and really, really good) museums around the world

6 really, really small (and really, really good) museums around the world

Sometimes, art, culture and history have to be consumed in small doses. Sure, there’s something majestic about traipsing around Paris or Florence, cramming in every gallery and famous bit of architecture you can. But that can get exhausting. Happily, these pocket-sized museums allow you to get your culture fix without spending all day doing it. Whether it’s an exhibition in a classic British telephone box or a collection of curious New York items displayed in an elevator shaft, you’ll discover that in many cases the museum location is just as weird as the stuff inside. Good thing. Ready to seek out some seriously obscure culture? Here are six of the best really, really small (and really, really good) museums across the globe. RECOMMENDED: The 8 best new museums opening around the world in 2022

Listings and reviews (3)

The Clerk & Well

The Clerk & Well

4 out of 5 stars

There were a couple of signs that my trip to The Clerk & Well was going to be stressful. The pub – based in, you guessed it, Clerkenwell – has just reopened after renovations in a relatively quiet part of the city for decent places to drink. The street itself was extra quiet, due to roadworks, and had weirdly prophetic signs declaring ‘pressure tests’ right outside. Felt a bit on the nose, really. Anyway, The Clerk & Well needn’t have worried about this new-but-not-new place’s popularity. The pub was already packed by the time I got there at 7pm, although this wasn’t a crowded bar situation. Almost every table was filled with friends eating, couples sharing starters or a bottle of wine. Given that this was one of the establishment’s opening weeks, the staff were ever-so-slightly frazzled. No worry, though – I was seated quickly in a very comfy booth, which in my book is a sign of a good pub. The bar also doubles up as a sort of semi-open kitchen, so I was able to peer at the dishes as they were being prepared. This is clearly a pub you go to, to eat: the menu includes old favourites reworked, like the bacon and cheddar croquettes with mustard aioli, the five-bean Valrhona chocolate chilli or the glazed bacon belly with egg and pineapple. The pal I came with works nearby, so he was hoping to find a new regular for Friday drinks. This might be it, he said, surveying the stylish, dark wallpaper and moody low lighting. (But I’ll probably end up having a whole meal every time I co

Bibo Shoreditch

Bibo Shoreditch

4 out of 5 stars

Bibo is big on style. It’s sleek, without trying too hard for the Instagram crowd. Think: terracotta-toned, faux-adobe walls, Scandi-style drinking glasses that have an enigmatic coloured bead inside, and a vast, rose-gold, mirrored bar.  That stylishness was on show in the food presentation, too. The tapas dishes show plenty of intricate, artistic touches. Bibo’s patatas bravas – a Spanish staple, usually a bowl of crispy spuds, slathered in a sloppy tomato sauce – was instead attentively designed. Each perfectly round potato was lined up like a carb-heavy game of four-in-a-row, with a tiny, swirly hat of aioli balanced on each one, sprinkled with the tiniest flecks of basil. They were delightful.  We also ordered the grilled avocado salad, which was, again, not a tumbled-together tangle of lettuce and cucumber but a delicate sea of avocado boats, sailing on a feta foam. It was extremely tasty, but a bit on the expensive side, what with it being £13 for just four small avo halves on the dish. As a vegetarian, I left the oxtail brioche (helpfully described as ‘very oxtaily’) and the cod fritters to my boyfriend. He enjoyed both: the top of the brioche was a well for a gooey, meaty gravy; the cod fritters were just very posh, surprisingly yellow fish goujons. The vegetarian equivalent, porcini croquetas, were evidently much better: bursting with a creamy, umami mash and perfectly crispy. We ordered a second plate, and I genuinely considered getting a third.  I heard more Pete

‘Tokyo Rose’ review

‘Tokyo Rose’ review

3 out of 5 stars

The true story behind ‘Tokyo Rose’ feels surprisingly obscure. Iva Toguri was a Japanese-American radio host in Tokyo during the Second World War, who reached near-mythical status thanks to her broadcasts of pro-Japanese disinformation across the South Pacific and North America. As a piece of history, it feels ripe for rediscovery – although transforming it into a two-hour musical is a tricky ask.  The show begins with lively, ‘Hairspray’-esque songs like ‘Hello America’, which jauntily whack us. with all the key dates and details. It feels for a while that Maryhee Yoon and Cara Baldwin’s writing is too obvious, as we’re introduced to a cast that includes a posh British officer, a pipe-smoking lawyer, and a cartoonish presiding judge.  But Hannah Benson’s production soon becomes more interesting. We learn pretty early on that Tokyo Rose was in fact a moniker given to all female broadcasters in Japan. But the US doggedly pursued its own citizen Toguri as the ‘real’ propagandist. Post-war, we see her charged with treason and the story is interspersed with moments from her trial. Post-war, Toguri is charged with treason and the story is interspersed with moments from that trial. The fight to clear her name takes decades, and we watch as both Japan and American officials accuse her of being a traitor. ‘Tokyo Rose’ excels when it allows the genuinely impressive voice of Maya Britto to properly soar as Toguri. Lucy Park plays a series of comedic roles well, too, in what is a largel

News (315)

This budget airline is selling return flights from London to New York for just ÂŁ255

This budget airline is selling return flights from London to New York for just ÂŁ255

Looking to get whisked away this summer, but don’t want to pay a load for your flights? Well, if you’re a Brit looking to hit up the USA, or vice versa, there are soon going to be a whole host of cheaper options. An Icelandic airline is launching new £200 flights from London to Boston and Orlando. And now, Norse Atlantic Airways are selling return flights from London to New York for just £255.  The budget airline will start flying the route on August 12, allowing travellers to travel between JFK and Gatwick without spending a fortune. Apparently, more US destinations are going to be announced soon, too. Previously, Norwegian Air Shuttle had attempted to run the same routes for a low price – but axed its operations in January 2021 after heavy losses. Norse Atlantic, however, is much more optimistic, citing the uptick in transatlantic travel as borders reopen. And Gatwick airport, which obviously struggled during the pandemic, is also likely to be pleased there’s a new route opening. So what are you waiting for? Get booking that US trip via the official Norse Atlantic Airways website.Did you see Qantas is planning to launch direct London-Sydney flights?

Venice now won’t be introducing its tourist tax until 2023

Venice now won’t be introducing its tourist tax until 2023

Earlier this year, it was reported that Venice was going to be introducing its much-discussed tourist tax. Travellers would have to present pre-paid tickets before entering the city, in a bid to reduce overcrowding. But now it turns out that the plans have been postponed. The booking and payment system will now be introduced in January 2023, rather than this summer. While the city is normally extremely busy, it struggled during the pandemic as tourists were unable to travel. The tourist entry fee has been postponed so local businesses can recover from that steep drop in income over the coming months.When the tax is introduced, residents, students and commuters will be exempt, as will tourists who stay for one night at a hotel (as there is already a tourist tax for this kind of stay). As for the cost of the tickets, expect them to fluctuate. In high season, you’re looking at paying as much as €10 (£8.48 or $10.71), while in the winter it’ll be more like €3 (£2.55 or $3.21). Venice isn’t the only city tackling overtourism post-pandemic. In Amsterdam, new hotels have been banned in the city centre, as have new souvenir shops. And in Maui, one of the Hawaiian islands, there’s a brand-new tourist tax that’s hoping to redistribute around $50 million a year to residents. Pretty impressive stuff. While you’re here: did you see that hotel guests in Venice are being given water pistols to shoot at seagulls?

Revealed: this is officially the UK’s dirtiest hotel chain

Revealed: this is officially the UK’s dirtiest hotel chain

Clinching a great deal on a hotel can be a brilliant way to save money when on holiday. But what if the place you’re staying in is cheap for a reason? This new study from building inspection firm Property Inspect has revealed the UK’s dirtiest hotel chains, so you know where to avoid next time you’re booking a staycation.The organisation audited the Food Standards Agency lowest-ranked hotels to find the worst of the lot. Britannia – which runs 61 hotels across the country – came top of the list. The research cited reports of ‘rats running around outside’, ‘blood on the curtains’, damp and cigarette smoke... which doesn’t sound great. There are 766 TripAdvisor reviews describing it as ‘terrible’, too. Britannia was also recently rated the UK’s worst chain hotel by consumer brand Which? for the ninth year running, so you might want to think twice before booking a night there. The Manchester branch was singled out as particularly grim, with the experts citing reviews that described ‘damage in the corridors as though a mass brawl has taken place’ and ‘pungent smells’. As for the cleanest? The Ibis hotel chain fared the best, with more than 91 percent of its hotels given five stars on TripAdvisor. Ibis Budget and Premier Inn were also commended, so now you’ve got at least three good options for your next budget break.Looking for somewhere actually decent to stay? These are the 20 best Airbnbs in the UK.

Japan has finally reopened its borders to international visitors – but there’s a snag

Japan has finally reopened its borders to international visitors – but there’s a snag

It feels like we’ve been waiting for Japan to open for a long, long time. After two years of being completely banned, tourists are finally being allowed back into the country – albeit with a lot of restrictions. The country reopened in April to some overseas residents, business travellers and foreign students. And now it has opened up its borders to limited numbers of international tourists. This stage in Japan’s reopening is being described as a period of ‘test tourism’. So what does that actually mean? Well, the ‘tests’ come in the form of very few packaged tours, which will be analysed by the government before deciding when the country will resume normal levels of tourism. While individual tourists remain barred from visiting Japan, if you don’t mind being part of a tour company, your trip of a lifetime may be mere weeks away! Needless to say, there are more than a few complications as to who can actually attend these ‘test tourism’ tours. They’re currently only open to triple-jabbed travellers from the USA, Australia, Thailand and Singapore, and all travellers have to book through travel agencies.  Currently the rules for entering Japan are complicated – to say the least. There’s currently a cap of 10,000 arrivals per day (which is increasing to 20,000 in June), and only those from a list of 106 countries (see that list in full here) can enter. Schools or companies have to sponsor individuals hoping to enter, and visitors must self-isolate on arrival. Currently, you need

A house right next to Morocco’s iconic Jardin Majorelle has just gone up for sale

A house right next to Morocco’s iconic Jardin Majorelle has just gone up for sale

Everything Yves Saint Laurent turned his gaze to ended up being iconic. This electric blue villa in Marrakech, which he lived in for decades and made his own by doing up the surrounding gardens, is no exception. The Jardin Majorelle sits right in the heart of the Moroccan city, and made the perfect retreat for the fashion legend and partner Pierre BergĂ©. And now, in a bizarre twist, a property right next to it (which shares the same gardens) could be yours. Of course, the place isn’t likely to be affordable. In fact, it’ll probably cost millions (enquire with the estate agent, Sotheby’s, if you’ve got mega-bucks to spare). But even so, if living among cacti and jasmine plants sounds like your kind of dream state, simply taking a look at the listing can’t hurt, can it? Here are some pics of the place. Photograph: Sotheby’s Photograph: Sotheby’s Photograph: Sotheby’s The house was designed in the 1930s by the French painter Jacques Majorelle (hence the name). It was later bought by Saint Laurent, who refurbished the gardens and outdoor space. The house itself is hidden among labyrinthine courtyards, and holds several living rooms and four en-suite bedrooms. Oh, and if you’re expecting guests, they can stay in the adjacent pavilion houses, hidden next to a swimming pool and deck area. The main bright blue home is now, of course, a pretty major tourist destination, complete with a cafĂ© and gift shop. By the sound of things, this is totally separate from the property that’s

Switzerland’s new hiking trail links the country’s most beautiful mountains and lakes

Switzerland’s new hiking trail links the country’s most beautiful mountains and lakes

If you’re travelling to Switzerland, you’re going to want to make the most of the scenery. Happily, a brand-new 300km hiking trail aims to connect the country’s most beautiful lakes, rivers and mountains, so you can really say you’ve seen the place when you next visit. The ViaBerna comprises 20 individual stages, which range in length from 10.5km to 24.3km. Helpfully, each has been rated from easy to difficult, so you don’t have to take on the super-heavy-going ones if you don’t fancy it. The route itself is pretty stunning: the first five stages move through the Jura mountains, before entering Bern. We recommend heading into the medieval city and soaking up some of its history (or just kicking back at one of its many, many bars).After that, you move through river country and wildflower meadows. Hiking through the romantic Taubenloch Gorge is a real highlight, as are the views out over Lake Thun. Visit the city of Thun itself to marvel at its fabulous baroque architecture, then mosey around the botanical gardens at Schadau Park. And finally, you simply must hit up the most spectacular part of the route: the Susten Pass through the Alps. Those panoramas are some of the most breathtaking on Earth.Sound like the something you’d be into? Find out everything you need to know about the ViaBerna on its official website. Did you see Romania is building a 1,400km hiking trail spanning the entire country?

Five incredible places to stay that still have May half-term availability

Five incredible places to stay that still have May half-term availability

Not booked anywhere for half term, but still want to get away? The weather looks like it’s going to be balmy, everyone’s off school – and luckily, some beautiful Airbnbs are still available to book. We’ve found some of the most stunning locations that haven’t been snapped up yet. From a romantic rural retreat to a vast barn conversion in Wales for the whole family, there’s still plenty to choose from. Here are our picks: This huge Welsh barn Photograph: Airbnb This poolside villa Photograph: Airbnb This hidden shepherd’s hut Photograph: Airbnb This beautiful Yorkshire farm stay Photograph: Airbnb This parkland manor Photograph: Airbnb Want to head further afield? Stay in this Airbnb at the edge of the world. Or sleep surrounded by one million bees at this surreal (and slightly scary) Airbnb.

A gigantic ancient forest has been discovered in a sinkhole in China

A gigantic ancient forest has been discovered in a sinkhole in China

There’s all sorts we don’t know about the labyrinthine cave systems just beneath the surface of the Earth. But a group of researchers came across something particularly striking when they were searching through a tiankeng, or giant sinkhole, in China’s Guangxi region. Explorers who had travelled nearly 630 feet into the Earth discovered a vast, ancient forest. After abseiling half-way down the cave walls, the team trekked for several hours to reach the bottom. There, they were surrounded by 130-foot trees, expedition team leader Chen Lixin told newspaper Xinhua. Luckily, the group had a drone with them which allowed them to document the foliage. Chen also said that plants had grown densely together and came up to his shoulders, making it hard to move through. While the cave is particularly deep, its structure allows light in – meaning the trees can flourish. The explorer said that he ‘wouldn’t be surprised to know that there are species found in these caves that have never been reported or described by science until now’.Translating roughly as ‘heavenly pit’, tiankeng are a common part of the landscape in South China. The Guangxi region was added to the Unesco World Heritage list in 2007 because of its unique landscape, which includes unusual rock formations and extensive cave systems. But the forest-filled sinkhole that researchers have just explored isn’t even the largest of its kind. That would be Xiaozhai Tiankeng, in the Tiankeng Difeng National Park, to the north.

Stay in this super-stylish Airbnb-on-stilts at the edge of the world

Stay in this super-stylish Airbnb-on-stilts at the edge of the world

Looking to properly escape this summer? If avoiding tourists and being properly alone sounds like your kind of getaway, you should head to La Tagua. This cabin, built on stilts by the ocean, is seriously remote. Oh, and it’s really, really stylish, too. The Airbnb is in the seaside town of Navidad, Chile. Its vertiginous (but very sleek) exterior is reflected by the light wood and minimal furnishings inside. There’s a simplistic dining area, a chic kitchen and a linen-clad bedroom. But the real thrill is the surroundings – head out onto the balcony, and you can take in sweeping panoramas of the ocean. Expect to spot sea lions aplenty.  Photograph: Airbnb Photograph: Airbnb Photograph: Airbnb Unsurprisingly, the cabin has won a load of awards. The Santiago-based architects who designed La Tagua were inspired by the region’s landscape, so it’s built with pine and oak. And the name comes from a local bird species. Best of all, it’s now available on Airbnb, so if you’re looking for a retreat, you should get booking. Find out more on the official listing. Looking for more places to stay? Sleep surrounded by one million bees at this surreal (and slightly scary) Airbnb.Plus: These are officially Airbnb’s hottest destinations for 2022. 

These eight UK towns are being made cities for the Platinum Jubilee

These eight UK towns are being made cities for the Platinum Jubilee

The Queen has been on the throne for 70 years, and that means some pretty big celebrations. There’s the long bank holiday and the, erm, horse shows, but also some more permanent changes – eight towns are being turned into cities. In England, Milton Keynes, Colchester and Doncaster get the royal honour. Dunfermline in Scotland, Bangor in Northern Ireland and Wrexham in Wales all get the title, as does Douglas on the Isle of Man and Stanley in the Falkland Islands. It’s the first time places in Overseas Territories have been awarded city statuses. To win the award, towns had to make a case for their cultural heritage and royal links. Colchester has an impressive history: thought to be Britain’s first capital, in recent years it has been the home to the 16 Air Assault Brigade, the British Army’s rapid response force. Doncaster, in South Yorkshire, was founded as a Roman settlement, and was noted for its community spirit in the face of devastating floods in 2019. ‘New town’ Milton Keynes, meanwhile, was built in 1967 to serve commuters heading to London. Home to the Open University, the city is full of public art and listed buildings. In its application, Bangor cited its role as a key site for allies during World War II, plus The Queen’s visit to Bangor Castle in 1961. Dunfermline was once the seat of Scottish kings (Robert the Bruce is buried there), while Wrexham is home to culturally significant sites like Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, a Unesco World Heritage site. The Queen is the p

The world’s first ‘responsible travel’ scheme encourages people to do good while they’re away

The world’s first ‘responsible travel’ scheme encourages people to do good while they’re away

Since 2017, the tiny archipelago of Palau has required visitors to sign the ‘Palau Pledge’. Everyone who enters the country has to promise the local population that they’ll ‘tread lightly’ and ‘preserve and protect’ the natural world, ensuring its longevity for future generations. And now, a new programme called Ol’au Palau is offering a world first: travellers will be rewarded with exclusive experiences based on how they treat Palau’s local environment and culture.Guests can redeem points on an app after they do things like visit important national sites, eat sustainably-sourced food or use reef-safe sunscreen. Points ‘unlock’ unusual experiences normally reserved for locals, like the location of an unmarked hiking route or the chance to swim in a hidden cave. You could also dine with island locals or take part in symbolic ceremonies. Before the pandemic, Palau’s economy was heavily dependent on tourism, with around 150,000 people visiting annually (dwarfing the local population of 20,000). But its fragile ecosystem was suffering, and now the Palau Legacy Project aims to help sort that out. Founder Laura Clarke recommends spending a fortnight in Palau, especially since travel time to the remote archipelago ­– located nearly 900km east of the Philippines – can take up a good chunk of your stay. ‘You want the first five days to start collecting your points, and you want a good amount of time, like five or six days, to redeem them,’ she says. Our advice? Do your research, then

Mapped: these are the UK’s rudest and most obscene place names

Mapped: these are the UK’s rudest and most obscene place names

Ever had a titter at a rude place name while travelling down the motorway? This list is for you. Matchmaking website My Dating Adviser has created a map of the most obscene-sounding places in the UK, from Sandy Balls in the New Forest to Pisshill in Henley-on-Thames. If you’re looking for a very impolite day trip, these are the places to go.There doesn’t seem to be a particular part of the country that has more of them – rude places are everywhere. Take the North West, for example: there’s Nob End in Little Lever, Cumwhinton in Carlisle and Cockermouth in the Lake District. In Scotland, you can visit Twatt on Orkney, Brokenwind in Newmachar or the painful-sounding Whiterashes near Aberdeen. Favourites in the North East include Wideopen in Newcastle Upon Tyne, Honey Knob Hill in Chippenham and Coxhoe in Durham. Or why not visit Fannystown or Stranagalwilly in Northern Ireland? Other frankly vulgar entries include Wetwang, Lousybush, Lower Swell and Shitterton. Not good places to take your gran, really.Amy Pritchett, who compiled the list, said: ‘The English language never fails to amaze us, and neither do the delightful and funny names of these UK locations. We’re not sure how residents of Nasty and Crapstone convince people they are lovely places to live. If you’re interested in visiting one of these towns, I recommend taking a memorable photo with the town sign after a long lunch at the local pub.’ Now that sounds like banter.