Monorail is an incredibly cool, independent record shop, with a loads of vinyl alongside the racks of hard-to-find CDs. Especially good for underground Japanese music and European jazz, it stocks a really varied range of music plus magazines/fanzines. The shop is situated within vegan bar/restaurant Mono, which also hosts live music and album launches etc in conjunction with the record shop.
12 Kings Court, King Street, Glasgow, G1 5RB, UK
Tel: 0141 552 9458
This is a modern recreation of one of Charles Rennie Mackintosh's competition designs and it's simply stunning. It's been meticulously matched to the drawings he provided and extra design features from his wife Margaret MacDonald and is a great example of his vision for family living. There's also a great restaurant in the basement!
Nearest underground - Ibrox
Nearest overground rail - Dumbreck Road
Independent music venue, bar & vegetarian & vegan cafe. Chilled out atmosphere, friendly staff, great place to check out new bands. Best jukebox in town, DJs upsatirs at weekends. Food is well tasty and good value for money.
50-60 King Street, Glasgow G1 5QT www.13thnote.co.uk
A watering hole on the edge of England's last wilderness, serving great meals of local produce and the best range of ales from their microbrewery. Miss it and have regrets for the rest of your life.
It's pretty new, only set up in August 2006 as far as I know, but it is some of the best tapas I have ever eaten, even if it is a bit pricey for Brazil. The Beef and Gorgonzola is amazing.
You can follow this link to a new Pipa website set up by local businesses and find out about restaurants and more. www.pipa.org.br/gastro.php
Or just ask the locals for the Tapas restuarant just off the main street next door to Pacifico another good restaurant, and they will point you in the right direction.
On top of a hill at the edge of charming Borders town, Peebles, sits the snub-faced Venlaw Castle where one can play the lord or lady and enjoy good food, fine views and a bar well stocked with excellent whisky.
The two 'romantic' suites have been refurbished to a high standard and offer a cosy warmth. From here, the eager explorer can find many things to occupy the time or, failing the will-power to face quaint towns and block stone homes, can climb a little higher for quietly breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.
Edinburgh Road, Peebles. EH45 8QG. www.venlaw.co.uk . Tel: 01721 720384.
If you need to absorb the excess of the night before, or stock up before a day in town, get a full breakfast here. This is Glasgow/Italian fusion cuisine at its best; no nonsense, honest and affordable. The Italian sausage is fantastic and the coffee is how it should be.
360 Great Western Road
It's a castle. Get that? A castle. One huge, genuine, 13th Century castle. And you can stay there. What better reasons to recommend Ashford could there be?
Of course there are castles where, once you get over the battlements and Disney style restoration, you feel a little let down by the experience (Walworth, we're looking at you). Ashford castle, thankfully, is as rich an experience as the guests who loiter in the beautifully appointed lounges.
Ashford doesn't need much praising. Its awards and reputation speak volumes but it is worth pointing out that the castle comes into its own during off-peak seasons. There, amidst the quiet corridors and hallways, hundreds of years worth of history hangs like a tapestry, quiet dignity pervading the areas that would normally be taken for granted by obnoxious guests unable to converse without recourse to proclamation.
Everything one could possibly want for complete indulgence lies within easy reach. Golfing tees off (ahem) an itinerary that includes horse riding, falconry and boat trips. It is enough, however, to take a walk through the grounds and discover the walled gardens or venture towards Cong (where The Quiet Man was filmed) or even out to one of the small number of stone circles in the area. Just take a look at the photographs on the website and you'll soon find yourself ordering George to ready the carriage.
Fly to Galway airport and take a taxi or book a helicopter. www.ashford.ie
This is one of my most favourite beaches in the world. A long stretch of lovely white sand, little cantinas dotted along the beach and clear, warm sea. Great for snorkling around the rocks.
After a strenuous day relaxing try the Panorama restaurant, a 5 minute drive away. Enjoy their authentic, fresh food (cheesy flowers a must) sitting under vines with a view of the beach.
They also have loads of huge dried gourds hanging everywhere and squid stretched out to dry. The waiters are great and the service excellent.
Tsampika beach is on the east coast roughly half way between Rhodes Town and Lindos.
To get to The Panorama, turn left out of the beach entrance, drive up the hill, it's on the left-hand side, and has a gravelled parking area out front.
This is a coffee shop that serves excellent coffee and the best cakes on the island. The cakes range from traditional Greek to chocolate cakes covered in chocolate!
It's heaven for cake lovers!
There's one in Rhodes Town about a 2minute walk from the bus station, down the road from Mothercare. There's also a branch on the main street in Pefkos.
Re-visiting a hotel that you have previously enjoyed is nearly always a dissappointment when you compare it with your earlier visit. This is the gem that breaks that rule! In September 2005, we booked for two days and stayed for two weeks. We made three further visits in 2006! It just gets better and better. Le Domain aux Quat' Saisons is a jewel of a hotel which is delightful in every aspect. The early 19th century house has many interesting features and has been tastefully converted without destroying the original layout of the house. The bedrooms are large, well designed, very comfortable and spotlessly clean. There is a lovely garden which leads onto the vines. The pool is sheltered by a wall with more interesting plants around it.
The meals continue to delight and reach new heights on each visit. (If a meal is offered on the evenings when you stay - make sure that you take the offer. Usually four courses with aperitifs, quality local wines and coffee - excellent value and delicious food!) Evening meals here are a joy and the owners make sure that everything goes with a swing! There is much to see nearby and the owners will advise on some excellent local restaurants for the evenings when they are not cooking.
The owners clearly have high standards but still find ways of making everything even better. Without exception all the guests who visited, during our stays, praised this unique haven! Congratulations to Le Domain aux Quat'Saisons.
You have to try it at least once. Most of the stalls are geared to tourists. These usually have large displays of food and hustlers persuading you to eat at their stall. Treat it as a bit of fun but keep control of what you want to eat. For not much more you can eat in one of the many restaurants around the square and get more for your money. The gem is probably the packed stall selling fish (and chips), mainly to locals. Squeeze in when you can & enjoy.
Restaurant in a converted oil mill with much-coveted terrace overlooking the sea (the views are beautiful but, more importantly for Italians, it's outside so you can smoke). The main attraction is the lobster, clams, sea bass, cuttlefish and just about anything else that can be removed from water with a net, pot or hook. But it's also a great place to come to watch people make idiots of themselves: get a table in the atmospheric stone-walled interior (much more room, aircon), order a prosecco and watch as the beautiful people attempt to beg, threaten or bribe their way on to the terrace. We saw cash, fags and what looked like an offer of sex, but the maitre d' stood firm: no prenotazione, no prime preening spot.
Via Bordonaro 96
A very family-friendly small hotel in the south of France. Our room was spacious and very comfortable, a perfect family atmosphere. Plenty of toys and entertainment for the kids.
The food was excellent. All guests ate together in a typical "French family" style. All diets are catered for and there are even baby listeners so that parents can eat without their children if wanted.
The views and the surrounding area are beautiful and the welcome is amazing. I really recommend this place.
A small fishing village between Palermo and the airport. Most of the seafront restaurants serve a 6 - 7 course set lunch (around 20 euros). No menu as such, just what's been caught fresh that morning. Bottle of wine or two included. I've never seen anyone who's not Italian eating there and its time to share this wonderful place. Ryanair's summer schedule means you can have a decadent day out and have lunch in the Med (if you don't mind the early start). Delfina is the one I'd recommend. It's busy between 1-3pm when the locals descend for their feed but I've never had to wait too long for a table.
Central Palermo by cab is around 20 euros and takes around 20 minutes, traffic permitting. Local trains stop close by en route to/from the airport.
Hidden in a piazza away from Palermo's traffic clogged streets, Pizzeria Bellini offers a slice of pure Sicilian drama (apt as it sits behind the theatre with which it shares it name). Rock up around 8pm to join the long queue of chattering punters eager for an outdoor table with romantic views of the old Roman wall and San Cataldo's red domes. Sip on deliciously cheap, local, house vino rosso whilst you wait (& it does take a while) for a huge pizza to arrive hot from the wood-fired oven. Look out for regional toppings with sardine, fennel and pinenuts. And, if your stomach can take the strain, indulge in every good godfather's vice - homemade cannoli.
Piazza Bellini, just off Corso Vittorio Emanuelle, Palermo
Christchurch has a certain line in unusual transportation/dining experiences that has to be unique. Not only can you eat while riding around town on an old tram, but you can also do so in a gondola. Okay, I exaggerate – the Summit Cafe where you dine is at the top of the gondola – but it’s close.
You can of course use the gondola to go up to the ridge of the Port Hills at any time during the day, and the views over the city, or down the other side to Lyttelton Harbour, are superb. And hiring a bike there to speed back down is a thrill, albeit a mild one by NZ standards. But getting up there just before dusk, in time to see the sun set across the plains and the city lights come on, well, it’s romantic enough to bring a tear to an All Black’s eye. And the food is worth staying for too.
Telephone: (63-3) 3840707
Location: Top of the Gondola.
A little bit of Spain, right at the heart of Little Britain. The Botanic Gardens are very Victorian – lots of hospital-corner flower beds filled with roses. Ho hum. But the old museum curator’s house bursts with Hispanic flavours, courtesy of its chef. Tapas, tortillas, spicy chorizo, herbs and veg from the garden at the back, a shot of strong coffee … it’s enough to make you forget where you are.
Address: 7 Rolleston Avenue, Botanic Gardens, Christchurch.
Telephone: (64-3) 3792252
By far the most photogenic street in Christchuch – perhaps in NZ. The beautifully preserved art-deco buildings are painted in a variety of bright, Mediterranean colours and are home to some good cafes, restaurants and fancy shops. So grab a seat outside, get your camera ready and wait for the tram to trundle by.
Location: Between Gloucester and Armagh Streets.
Send your feedback or queries to firstname.lastname@example.org