weekend breaks

When figures released in August 2016 indicated that there were a million fewer visitors to Paris between January and June of last year compared to the same period in 2015, the regional tourist board head labelled it "an industrial disaster". The situation has drastically improved, thankfully.
My recent visit to Obidos, a gorgeous walled medieval town just north of Lisbon, is also right in the heart of Rocha pear country. This particular pear variety (there are over 3,000 worldwide) was named after Pedro António Rocha, a nineteenth-century farmer and is one of Portugal's major exports.
Our visit to Marseille,Provence this summer was a revelation. The epitome of cool, we loved the simultaneously chilled and vibrant atmosphere of France's second largest city. Cultural activities are a given but an afternoon at the beach is also within easy reach by local buses along the corniche.
It’s all too easy to forget the simple pleasures of getting behind the wheel: independence, a sense of liberation and the
The autumn months are when the British countryside is at its most beautiful, and traditional pleasures - cosy pub lunches, woodland walks and lazy afternoons by a fire with the papers and a pint - are at their most, well, pleasing.
A two hour drive from London brought us to the New Forest, an area which I have always associated with tiny ponies, perhaps with some justification as there have been 3,000 wild ponies roaming this national forest for the past 2,000 years. They still roam free, along with deer and cattle and all are looked after by local landowners, or commoners as they're called, under an ancient system put in place in 1079 by William the Conqueror.
Golden sands line the coasts on the west and north east, vibrant forests tower right next to gorgeous rolling plains - and although the weather can be unpredictable, when the sun does appear, the UK really does shine.
Over on the south coast (a short drive from the airport), I find the crystal blue waters of Le Portelet beach and Petit Bot bay. As I take in the gorgeous turquoise expanse, several passers-by offer a friendly 'hello'. It's warm and welcoming.
Approaching Cameron House, the first thing I can see is the beautiful blue expanse of Loch Lomond. We're only 15 miles from Glasgow airport, but the surrounding green hills and fresh air signal the countryside at its best.
Dorset is a wonderful mix of towns, winding clay valleys, grassy moors and rugged limestone cliffs. It's my first time here and I am immediately taken by how pure and dramatic the scenery is. Some of the country's most famous landforms are found here too.