Captivated by David Attenborough’s explorations of the place he calls “the most magical thing I ever saw in my life”? I was too. The Great Barrier Reef, a 2,000km stretch of coral that hugs almost the whole length of Queensland’s shore is, after all, nature on an epic scale. I spent a week there in November for the Independent, flying high above the reef in a seaplane and diving deep below the water in a magical underwater world.
A few weeks ago I train-hopped my way around Switzerland on assignment for Greentraveller. I took a series of incredible rail journeys, stopping to admire the Christmas markets in Zurich, ski in Les Diablerets and eat my weight in fondue in the mountains. Here’s the full diary of my travels using the Swiss Travel System.
Wild open spaces and adventures off the beaten track are closer than you think – get inspired to go exploring in Britain this winter with my ideas for cold weather fun over at The Independent‘s travel section, from ice climbing in Scotland to wild swims and campfires in London.
More of my explorations in the Kenyan highlands, including the most beautiful pool I’ve ever swam in, a climb up Hyena Rock, a flower-filled haven of a farmstay and a REALLY big dog named Colonel Lawrence.
Off on a ski season this winter? You don’t need warm pants, extra scarves or photos of your dog. Trust me, I’ve seen enough emergency care packages get delivered to Cadbury’s-starved seasonnaires to know that if you’re off to work a winter you require:
The first post from my adventures in Kenya this summer – photos from a game drive through the wonderful Oj Pejeta wildlife conservancy. This amazing wild place is home to some of the mightiest and yet most vulnerable species on the planet.
A few things have inspired me to put this post together. Firstly, lots of you are searching for topics like ‘how can I be more adventurous?’. Ah, the eternal question! Secondly, I had a lovely Facebook message from a reader, thus: “Hey! Inspired by your blog and want to do the same thing as you. I don’t know anyone who is like me and I’ve been too nervous to get out and travel alone. What would you suggest I do?”. I feel ya, sister. So I asked lots of adventurous women for you and thought up some of my own advice. Here we go!
Dublin is well known as a city of friendly folk and really great beer. But it’s also a remarkably outdoorsy place to visit, a cosmopolitan hub nestled within arm’s reach of hills and sea. From foraging in the city centre to heading out hiking and cycling in the mountains, the jewel in Ireland’s crown is the perfect place for combining a cultured city break with a dose of the great outdoors.
My wonderful and bike-mad mate Mary Spender took a five day cycle trip through Catalonia. Here’s her diary from her time exploring this beautiful part of Northern Spain on two wheels, including pristine beaches, tasty treats and, um, kissing lion bottoms.
“Growing up, my family’s favourite holiday destination was a little campsite called Mas Patoxas, a campsite north of Barcelona and south of the Pyrenees on the Costa Brava. I remember eating lorry loads of shellfish, staying in a swimming costume all day and turning a lovely shade of brown on the golden sand. When Sian invited me to go back to see the region by bicycle with the Tourist board of Catalonia, I couldn’t resist.
In my third travel column for The Independent I’ve rounded up some of the world’s most beautiful and unusual swimming spots, from Thai waterfalls (modelled here by the lovely Flo) to Melanesian forest pools and Mexican bat caves.
Travel snaps and special spots from one of my favourite ever places – the Isles of Scilly, which Jake Little and I explored in proper Famous Five style. Just don’t call them the Scilly Isles, or the locals will know you’re a newbie.
For my second adventure column for the The Independent I’ve hunted out incredible trips combining active travel with wildlife encounters, from swimming with whale sharks in Mozambique to hiking up to see gorillas in Uganda’s Impenetrable Forest.
Moped adventures along the coast, diving with rainbow-coloured fish off Koh Tao, exploring bustling Bangkok… Thailand is definitely one of my all-time favourite countries to travel to. Fancy your own Asian adventure? Flight Centre and Tourism Thailand are giving away a luxurious seven night escape in their fantastic new competition. What would you #TaketoThailand?
In May I took to the turquoise waves of the Caribbean with the lovely lot from Girls For Sail for a week of dolphin spotting, plentiful rum and pirate lore. Here’s the story of our voyage around the magical British Virgin Islands in the Evening Standard.
In need of some vitamin-Sea? Grab your board and head to glorious Cornwall. Golden shorelines and great swell are synonymous with England’s furthest-flung county – and to help you choose which Cornish beaches you should visit during your next aquatic adventure, the team at stayincornwall.co.uk have given me their rundown of the best beaches for surfing in Cornwall.
Hello sailor! I spent a week learning the ropes (hah!) of yachting in the British Virgin Islands with Girls For Sail and this is what I wore whilst island-hopping, dolphin-spotting and rum cocktail-partaking. Yum.
Hooked on Poldark? Me too. And last week I spent a swashbuckling few days hunting out the gorgeous filming locations from the show on the Cornish coast with photographer Jacob Little. We galloped on the moors, explored windswept cliffs and swam in secret coves, Aidan Turner style.
Messing about on the Dorset coast with the lovely Lucy. Lyme Regis is a bit of a beauty, all pastel beach huts, glorious fossil-filled beaches and the epic Cobb snaking out to sea. And I successfully ate an oyster for the first time ever *proud*.
In January the world’s most daring explorers, talented travel photographers and coolest tour companies (plus hundreds of fans of the road less travelled) are converging on The Adventure Travel Show 2015 in London. Fancy a day of inspiring talks (including Sir Ranulph Fiennes. Swoon.), workshops and seminars? I’ve got five pairs of tickets to give away.
Push your adrenaline levels to an all-time high with eight of the craziest extreme adventure experiences on the planet (I’ve ticked off three so far). There’s volcano bungee jumping, hair-raising cycling, antarctic running and cheese. Because all good lists include cheese.
Take a dip somewhere a little bit magic – the Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye. Crystal clear icy water flows from the foot of the Cuillin mountains, forming lagoons and waterfalls that’ll both enchant you and give you serious brain freeze.
Frosty green waves, ominous grey skies and wearing a jumper underneath your wetsuit – it’s British surfing season again. Here are seven of the best beaches to hit now that the crowds have gone and the waves are picking up. Gnarly.
Blessed by beautiful coastlines, miles of shiny beaches and just the right kind of wind, Spain is heaven for lovers of the life aquatic. Here are my four favourite water sports to try on its sunny shores.