Category: City Break


Why Bath is Worth a Splash: Take a Deep Dive into Historic English City

There’s a brouhaha brewing in Great Britain, and I don’t mean the debate about the plummeting pound or the monarchy’s future following the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. Rather, I refer to the tempest in a teacup that’s been simmering since two British broadcasters threw Bath, one of the country’s best-loved cities, under the (hop-on, hop-off) bus.

The square flanked by Bath Abbey and the Roman Baths is popular with street performers, like these strolling “pot heads.” Copyright Amy Laughinghouse.

Dan Snow, historian and host of the History Hit podcast, has suggested that a tour of the north leaves the classic quartet of UK must-sees–London, Windsor, Stonehenge, and Bath–in the dust. Compounding the controversy, Tom Holland—also an historian and co-host of The Rest is History podcast—agreed that he “wouldn’t bother” with Bath. Shock! Horror! Sacrilege!

While I am not an historian and may be the last 21st century biped bereft of a podcast, I am a long-term resident of the UK and a travel writer with plenty of mileage under my belt. Having recently revisited Bath, a ludicrously picturesque Georgian city where sinuous terraces of sunbaked stone gleam like drizzled honey on the hillsides, I’m more than willing to slip on my wellies and wade into a debate which has grown murkier than an over-steeped cuppa. To wit: I absolutely advise visitors to adventure beyond the “usual suspects,” but for heaven’s sake, don’t toss out Bath with the bathwater.

Click here for the full story in Go World Travel Magazine. I’ve detailed my favourite ways to soak up the best of Bath, whether you want to live it up like the lords and ladies in Bridgerton, subject yourself to spine-tingling chills at the Frankenstein museum, or hit some of the city’s buzziest bars and shops.

How to Celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee in the UK This Year

Many folks have traditionally aspired to retire in their 60s, an accomplishment which, back in the day, may have been rewarded with a gold watch and a multi-martini steak dinner. So how does one fete a woman who has held the same position for seven decades and is still going strong at nigh on 96? With fireworks, parades, and perhaps the odd joust; in short, with all the pomp and pageantry of a Platinum Jubilee, if the lady in question happens to be Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II.

Click here for my story in AARP magazine, with top tips for visitors who want to join the party as the UK rolls out the red carpet for well-wishers from around the world.

A youthful Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip photographed at Government House in Brisbane, Australia during her 1954 world tour.
222466505 © State Library Queensland | Dreamstime.com

 

 

Essaouira: Morocco’s Exotic Beach Town

Discover the Funky Cool Medina of This Breezy Boho City

The colorful kites of kite surfers float in a bright blue sky above a herd of camels trekking along Essaouira’s sandy beach. Copyright Amy Laughinghouse.Baked by the North African sun and buffeted by a persistent ocean breeze, the Moroccan coastal city of Essaouira lies about three hours west of Marrakesh. But its wave-lashed walled medina, wedged between the wild and windy Atlantic and an arc of modern suburbs, seems to exist in a parallel universe that transcends geographical boundaries.

Essaouira is an improbable mishmash of ancient Arabic and Berber culture, groovy surfer dude vibes, and 21stcentury Boho chic. It’s a mix of bustling souks and high-end art galleries, fishing shacks and sushi bars, traditional hammams and detox yoga retreats…the sort of place where you can take a camel ride on the beach in the morning and visit the organic Val d’Argan winery in the afternoon.

Shops line the Skala de la Kasbah in Essaouira’s medina. Copyright Amy Laughinghouse.

Shops line the Skala de la Kasbah in Essaouira’s medina.

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