Switzerland by train: Dramatic, exhilarating and full of mystique

Kate Green travelled through Switzerland by train, and enjoyed a dramatic and exhilarating holiday.Switzerland is a country of surprisingly many parts. In Byron’s day, it was considered a wild place for a gap year and, although the country is now a byword for efficiency and discretion, its dramatic contrasts in landscape and language still make for an exhilarating holiday.
I went there to experience the Gotthard Panorama Express, a special five-hour journey from Lugano, in the Italian toe, to Lucerne. You set off, by train (at Bellinzona), from a sunny Mediterranean landscape of palm trees and Italianate architecture in the Italian-speaking

Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson: Glasgow’s visionary architect

As we celebrate the bicentenary of Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson, Gavin Stamp considers the remarkable way in which he adapted principles of Greek architecture to the development of his native city. Photographs by Simon Jauncey.Holmwood House of 1857–8 is asymmetrically planned, an unusual feature for a work of neo-Grecian architecture. Thomson managed to create dynamic buildings on a small scaleIn 1874, the year before his death, in a public lecture on Greek architecture, Alexander Thomson (1817-1875) asked his Glasgow audience ‘to turn and look for a moment at the Acropolis of Athens, as it appeared when Greece was the light of

The Gleneagles Hotel review: Heaven in the Highlands

One of Britain’s grandest hotels is approaching its 100th birthday but is still as classy and modern as ever, as Annunciata Elwes found out.Movers, shakers, merrymakers, flappers and sophisticates flocked to enjoy the gilded luxury of Gleneagles when it opened in 1924: they called it the ‘Playground of the Gods’, the ‘Riviera in the Highlands’ and famous dance bands broadcast live from the ballroom.
Most places of great beauty and style that prospered in the 1920s have long ago seen their best days, but not so this glorious 850-acre Perthshire estate. It’s as exquisite as ever, albeit much updated – an

The Italian Gentleman : The Preface

Gentlemen, Today I have the great joy to officially announce that my book “The Italian Gentleman” has finally made its way to the printer and that it will be available in bookstores (online or offline) around the world on October 26th. The original edition of the book will be released in English both by my publisher Thames & Hudson in London, and also by Rizzoli in New York. Both editions are identical (except the image on the cover will vary …

The campsite where you can go glamping in a helicopter

Why sleep under canvas when you can sleep under a 56ft rotor blade?Sometimes, you go away for a few days and your friends and family barely raise an eyebrow.
Other times, not only do they raise an eyebrow, but their very eyes pop out on stalks. And this trip to the delightful Blackberry Wood campsite in Sussex was one of those times – and all the better for it. It’s a bit like being the person at the restaurant whose choice of dish inspires food envy – it somehow makes you enjoy what you did all the more. Everybody we told

Six sublime cookbooks to help you make perfect Italian food

No fewer than six new Italian food cookbooks are out this summer – which one should you get?This summer, there are at least six major cookery books on Italy – all beautifully illustrated with scenes of Italian street life, covering different regions of the country from the far south of Sicily to the far north of the Veneto.
It’s no surprise to see publishers concentrate on Italy: the country’s passion for food and the simplicity of its cooking is perfectly in tune with today – and not a quinoa recipe in sight.
All these books have things to recommend them, but which one

An exceptional Queen Anne-style house in the heart of the Blackmore Vale

Chetnole House at Chetnole has delightful grounds running down to the River Wiggle. The scenic Blackmore Vale in west Dorset has changed little since Thomas Hardy immortalised it in his Wessex novels more than a century ago.
The same timeless quality is part of the enduring charm of Grade II*-listed Chetnole House in the pleasant village of Chetnole, eight miles south-west of Sherborne, and on the market with Jackson-Stops & Staff for offers over £2.5 million.

It’s a classic Queen Anne-style village house set in some eight acres of delightful gardens and paddocks running down to the River Wriggle, within the village’s

Love Game of Thrones? Visit County Antrim’s beautiful Causeway Coast

If you’re a self-confessed Game of Thrones geek and watching the show just isn’t enough, visit Ballygally Castle – the perfect base for exploring the Irish filming locations.The Dark Hedges, Game of Thrones location. It’s been a long time coming, but Season 7 of HBO’s adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy novel kicks off on Sky Atlantic this coming Monday 17th July.

Die-hard fans will know the mythical lands of wildlings, warriors and dragons were painstakingly recreated at a number of beautiful locations worldwide.
In Season One, Malta’s former capital, Mdina took a starring role as the biggest city in fictional

The Royal Crescent Hotel review: ‘A dreamy place of peace and quiet’

Where period charm meets contemporary living. Set amongst the beautiful rolling countryside of the south west, the bustling cosmopolitan city of Bath boomed in the 18th century as it became a favourite retreat for high society. At the height of the season it was estimated that Bath could accommodate some 12,000 visitors, who came to drink the healing waters, enjoy the theatre, stroll through pleasure gardens, and gossip on the wide promenades.

As the nobility flocked and fashionable life boomed, so did the architecture. On the 19th May, the first foundation stone for the Royal Crescent was laid, and it would

Five beautiful seaside towns in Britain where you can still find a property bargain

Places like Padstow may be priced beyond the reach of most people, but there are still places around Britain’s lovely coastline where property is affordable.If you’re looking for a home – whether as a primary residence or a holiday let – the coast of Britain can be an expensive place.
But if you have been priced out of Padstow or despairing of Dartmouth, there is hope: Flora Watkins has found that there are still places where bargains can be found in towns which are up and coming, but have not yet arrived.

The key things to look for? Decent coffee shops and