Manchester autumn

Autumn. Seasons of mist and mellow fruitfulness. Beautiful leaves. Some years it’s left me cold. But this year it’s caught my eye here in Manchester. READ MORE BELOW


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My neighbourhood of Castlefield, set by the canal close to central Manchester, was an obvious place to explore. The trees are rich with colour and leaves have scattered into the water.

I contrasted this urban setting with a trip to Fletcher Moss Park, a delightful area of gardens and woodland in Didsbury, south Manchester. They didn’t disappoint.

This year, for whatever reasons, I’ve revitalised a passion for capturing autumn/fall. It might be obvious, but it’s good for the soul and absorbing, don’t you think?

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Five capital cities to explore and enjoy

Your first port of call in a new country is often the capital city. It’s the national hub, showpiece and population centre. It’s easy to pick world class cities such as London, Paris and Berlin. But I’m sharing five less obvious choices to add to your travel goals. As always, please share your favourite capitals!


HAVANA, CUBA

An exciting yet languid capital city showcasing decades of Fidel Castro’s communism in a tropical Caribbean climate. Havana is less about stately edifices but the shabby chic pastels of its elegantly crumbling buildings. A photographer’s wet dream. TAP/CLICK IMAGE FOR MORE OF CUBA

You must: Stroll around the back streets and take it all in.

Elegant crumbling Havana street corner, Cuba

Havana’s battered look is its greatest asset


REYKJAVIK, ICELAND

The world’s most northerly capital city is a place of compact size and immense cool, with some unexpectedly dazzling architecture. It’s also a city where the magnificent Icelandic landscape is never far away. TAP/CLICK IMAGE FOR MORE

You must: Take a trip up to the Perla Dome for some wonderful views.

View of Reykyavik from Perlan Dome

Reykyavik: Small but beautifully formed


ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

This Arabian Gulf capital seems to sit in the shadow of its more famous, glitzy neighbour Dubai. But it feels more like a real, working city with all the benefits – a very pleasant seaside corniche, some modern high rises – and warm winter sunshine. TAP/CLICK IMAGE FOR MORE

You must: See the spectacular Sheikh Zayed Mosque. Go at sunset and after dark.

Skyline of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

The UAE capital has an ultra-modern skyline


TBILISI, GEORGIA

This undulating Caucasian capital sits in a spectacular spot and has an array of architecture and attractions. What I liked about it most was its energetic vibe and nighttime liveliness. TAP/CLICK IMAGE FOR MORE OF GEORGIA

You must: Ride the Soviet era metro and take the cable car for sunset views

Mother Georgia statue in Tbilisi

Mother Georgia has a great view of Tbilisi


TOKYO, JAPAN

The largest capital city of the five, Tokyo prefecture is home to a staggering 38 million people. If you’re visiting Japan for the first time, it’s a baptism of fire with its complex transport system, unfamiliar cultural norms and frenetic vibe. Just go with the flow and you’ll come to love it. Even I managed not to get lost. TAP/CLICK IMAGE FOR MORE OF URBAN JAPAN

You must: Visit bewildering Shibuya and walk in the other direction – you’ll hear birds sing.

View of Tokyo's Shibuya district

Shibuya is an intensely urbanised area of Tokyo

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Autumn sunflowers

A summer field filled with bright yellow sunflowers is a glorious sight. But what is it like when the colour has faded and the season shifted? READ MORE BELOW


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I visited this Cheshire field beyond the fringes of Greater Manchester on our final summery September day. It belongs to Little Heath Farm who encouraged visitors to come and enjoy the sunflowers and take photographs in the uncertainty of a pandemic.

The field is now maturing and the carpet of yellow has faded. The flower heads are heavy with seeds and drying out. It’s a picture of natural progression and the cycle of life, full of textures and more muted colours.

The sunflowers may have aged but they remain a thing of beauty.

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Five breathtaking beaches worth visiting

We all love the seaside. We flock there in our droves to find relaxation, sunshine and good times. The world has an endless choice of beaches from palm-fringed idylls to wild inlets. Here’s my pick of beaches that left lasting memories. Please share your favourites too!


JOKULSARLON, ICELAND

This isn’t a beach to pop your towel down and sunbathe. Wrap up warm and marvel at the fragments of glacier scattered over black sands, giving it the popular name of Diamond Beach. Chunks of ice pepper the shoreline here on the southern Icelandic coast. A must-see on any trip to Iceland. TAP/CLICK IMAGE TO SEE MORE ICELANDIC LANDSCAPES

Diamond Beach, Iceland


PRAIA DE CHAVES, CAPE VERDE

A dramatic stretch of sand on the island of Boa Vista in this Atlantic archipelago, with crashing waves on one side and dunes on the other. There’s plenty of warm weather and delicious sunsets. You can explore or simply crumple into a sun lounger. TAP/CLICK IMAGE TO SEE MORE

Bathers in crashing waves at Boa Vista, Cape Verde


KHOR AL ADAID, QATAR

This is a corner of the Arabian Peninsula where the desert dunes meet the sea. The chances are you’ll arrive in a four-wheel drive buggy after some stomach-churning (but fun) ‘dune bashing’. The swathes of sand and bright blue sea will relax you, while picnics and paddling are also options. TAP/CLICK IMAGE TO SEE MORE

Khor al Adaid, Qatar


NINETY MILE BEACH, NEW ZEALAND

As the name suggests, this is one heck of a stretch of sand in the far north of New Zealand. With its huge blue skies and wide horizons, this place is a tonic for the soul. You might zoom along the beach in a bus and end up dune boarding. The Kiwis like to relax and exhilarate you in equal measure. TAP/CLICK IMAGE TO SEE MORE OF NORTH NEW ZEALAND

Visitors on Ninety Mile Beach, New Zealand


PLAGE D’AGADIR, MOROCCO

This Moroccan seaside resort may not have the wow factor of some beaches, but has stuck in my mind as my most recent overseas destination. It’s an admirable stretch of Atlantic sand with plenty of life. It’s surprisingly photogenic and puts on marvellous sunsets. Paddling in the sea or ambling along the corniche make it a worthy destination. TAP/CLICK IMAGE TO SEE MORE ON AGADIR

Parasols on Agadir beach, Morocco

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