Tiree

Tiree is the catwalk model of Scottish islands: slim, blonde, gorgeous and so lacking in lumps and bumps that clouds drift over her admiringly, and burst on the mainland. White sandy beaches – draped with rock pools and seaweed – flounce around a twinkling sea. Designer crofts pout next to country roads, with roofs so … More Tiree

Kyrgyzstan

If you like drinking tea from a bowl surrounded by mountains, horses and alpine flowers, Kyrgyzstan is a dream destination. A land of warm hearts, soaring skies and dodgy toilets, Kyrgyzstan is bliss on horseback. … More Kyrgyzstan

Barra, Scotland

Barra is a full stop at the end of the Outer Hebrides. Its hilly core slopes down to sea kayaks, surf and Vatersay’s cliffs. Carved into dinky bays by the Atlantic – as it dashes from America to Scotland – its white, sandy beaches are the perfect retreat from technology, speed and bustle. It’s a … More Barra, Scotland

Eriskay, Scotland

Eriskay is a big hill, framed by white sandy beaches, turquoise seas and vividly coloured shells: purple, orange, yellow, blue. Sifting through the palette is an afternoon’s work. The kids decorated a sand citadel with them and stuffed them in my jacket pockets. Only semi-wild white horses and 140 people live on Eriskay but there’s … More Eriskay, Scotland

Uzbekistan

If you’re thinking of retiling your bathroom or kitchen, Uzbekistan is the place to go for inspiration. It’s a desert glazed with blue and gold medressas and minarets. Forget flicking through a shop catalogue, you can lie about on a tea bed sipping patterns, warmth and kindness, while the kids cartwheel in courtyards and gaze … More Uzbekistan