Brecon Beacons, Wales (review published 2008)

The hills are alive with the sound of music! Cool cats will be performing in the shadow of the Brecon Beacons when the HSBC Brecon Jazz Festival takes place from August 7-10. The stellar line-up includes Courtney Pine, Joan Armatrading, Cerys Matthews, Neil Cowley and Jools Holland with his guest vocalists Marc Almond and Ruby…

Hungerford, Berkshire (review published 2007)

An historic inn which has been owned or visited by four English monarchs is once more fit for a king. A £1 million facelift has brought The Bear Hotel in Hungerford, Berkshire, into the present while respecting its character and illustrious past. Dating back to the 13th century, the Bear was later owned by the…

Lincolnshire (review published 2007)

Lincolnshire is often overlooked as a short break destination. But many of its treasures will be strangely familiar to West Midlanders thanks to two of Hollywood’s biggest stars. The county welcomed Tom Hanks when the breathtaking Lincoln Cathedral doubled as Westminster Abbey for the 2006 blockbuster movie The Da Vinci Code. And Keira Knightley shot…

South Birmingham canals (review published 2007)

It was one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. Cars were queuing up either side of the Shirley drawbridge over the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal and the agitated motorists were beeping their horns. The traffic barriers were steadfastly refusing to open to let them pass and I was stood at the controls – helpless and…

Rhondda Valley, Wales (review published 2004)

The legendary Tom Jones once sang about the green green grass of home. In  truth, the South Wales valleys where he was born and raised were not green at  all when the song went to No.1 in 1966. They had been scarred by an intensive mining and heavy engineering industry which by then was in…