Yesterday I vented about the most overrated aspects of modern travel – from skiing and selfies to wellness holidays. Here’s what you should be enjoying instead.

Chain hotels

“Soulless?” So what? Supply me with a workable bed, TV and bathroom and I’ll supply the soul.


Way more character-forming than car-sharing. Only a very few motorists will positively wish to do you harm. Stack that up against the fact that it’s free.


These good people get me to GB and back to France three or four times a year for the price I paid for a single return trip 25 years ago. They treat passengers like cattle? No. Passengers behave like cattle unbidden – jostling, pushing, trying to wrangle “hand-luggage” the size of a cement mixer into the overhead locker. Ryanair staff have clearly taken vows of patience and courtesy. If I were a steward, I’d be kicking people down the stairs from Béziers to Brindisi. Just drop the “priority boarding” scam and things would be damned-near perfect.

“Ryanair staff have clearly taken vows of patience and courtesy. If I were a steward, I’d be kicking people down the stairs”

PA/Niall Carson


Sending an e-mail or posting on social media takes nano-seconds (also gets you bracketed among the Instagram airheads). Sending a card means going to the shop, choosing and buying a card, writing it in long-hand, buying a stamp and finding a post-box. Your friends will consider it an exploit. They’ll be appreciative. And if they’re not, send one to me next time. I love them.

Lancashire and Yorkshire

Were the Ribble Valley, Yorkshire Dales, Forest of Bowland or North York Moors in central Italy, they’d be standing room only.

The glorious Forest of Bowland


Coach holidays

Great thing about coach holidays, or one of them, is that all the people you never want to meet, those who cry: “Coach holidays? Not for the likes of us, thank you!” are, by definition, not on the coach. For the rest of us, the carbon footprint is minimal, built-in company convivial, responsibilities and travel are out of our hands, and guides provided usually worth listening to. I’m occasionally one myself, which is all the proof that’s needed. It’s win-win for all, several times over.

Full English breakfast

Churros, waffles, croissants and that sort of thing are OK in their way (their way being a direct route to the dentist’s) but none approaches the majesty of egg, bacon, black pudding and the rest. Everyone knows this: the full English colonises hotel buffets across the planet. Everyone, that is, except right-on British self-loathers who disdain anything British in foreign parts. No other nationality acts likewise. Japanese and Chinese tourists are found in Oriental restaurants when visiting Paris or London, Italians head for trattorie, Spaniards eat paella and, from New York to Shanghai, French people seek out French restaurants, awarding each marks out of 10, and usually not very many. So, listen up, self-loathers: if you’re true internationalists, follow the foreigners, and eat the full English.

Tomato sandwiches

I just like them, that’s all. On the sands. Jug of tea. Donkeys off stage-left, pier stage-right. Cricket bat stashed while the picnic lasts. And tomatoes on white bread. Plain crisps, if you insist. You mention a “drizzle of olive oil”, I’ll crack you round the head with the bat.

Opal Coast

Calais through Le Touquet, great headlands, vast beaches, seaside towns nestling in the folds with no idea how attractive their modesty makes them. Mussels, potjevleesch (look it up), chips in shipping quantities, Vieux Boulogne cheese and beer: you’ll never go beyond the Channel again.

Lancashire and the Opal Coast – what more do you need?


Crazy golf

A step up from ordinary golf, which is short of helter-skelters, plastic sharks and pirate ships along the fairways, this is the only holiday sport that the entire family, tots through geriatrics, can play on equal terms. It’s equally annoying for all. I can see Tommy Fleetwood having a nervous breakdown on the 12th at La Grande Motte. It involves a lighthouse.

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