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Sole searching: the Lyke Wake Walk, North York Moors

Why would anyone want to hike 40 miles in less than a day? Because this ‘death march’ is the Yorkshire equivalent of climbing Everest

After 28 hard miles, after cuckoos and curlews and dust and pain and sweat, Gerry Orchard crosses Wheeldale Beck over the stepping stones and sinks to one knee. This is no exhausted collapse; it is the prelude to a song.

“This yah neet, this yah neet,” he sings in a strong Yorkshire voice, “Ivvery neet an’ all. Fire an’ fleet an’ cannle leet, an’ Christ tak up thy saul …”

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Five of the best UK walking festivals

Like to talk while you walk? Then get together with fellow hikers at one of these festivals across the country

Next summer’s Moray Walking and Outdoor Festival in north-west Scotland promises around 60 events in small groups (usually up to a dozen), from gentle two-mile history walks, to a “slow marathon” and a five-day challenge covering the 95 miles of the Moray Way. There’s also fat-tyre mountain biking, a bushcraft workshop and cliff jumping.
14-23 June 2019, themorayway.org.uk

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Strolling in Swansea: take a dander in Dylan’s footsteps

The creator of September’s Now the Hero/Nawr Yr Arwr theatre event takes a walk through his hometown, shining a light on its artistic treasures, old and new

Post-industrial Swansea is still the “ugly, lovely town” Dylan Thomas grew up in a century ago. It is a fascinating approach if you arrive by train, passing the harsh realities of Port Talbot on your left, which allegedly inspired the dystopian cityscapes for director Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. You curve round to the pleasant view of Swansea Bay, flanked on the far side by the Mumbles and its lighthouse, which marks the near side of the Gower peninsula. It’s a fantastic panorama, like welcoming arms waiting to give you a big cwtch (a Welsh embrace) as you pull into the city.

The bay lends itself to the opening scenes of this month’s Now the Hero/Nawr yr Arwr, an immersive theatrical experience in which a performer leads audiences on a journey through the city, my hometown, and its artistic treasures, interweaving three stories of war. The show, which I developed with a team of collaborators, including fellow Welshman Owen Sheers, begins on the beach .

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Partygoers on flights warned ‘excessive drinking’ will lead to hefty fines

Airline industry says revellers flying to end-of-season parties in the Med risk fines of £5,000 or being kicked off flights for antisocial behaviour

Groups of revellers heading to party destinations are being warned by the aviation industry to fly responsibly or risk being grounded at the airport and fined.

The warning comes as new figures show that the larger the group, the greater the risk of disruption from excessive drinking and other antisocial behaviour before take-off or during the outgoing journey.

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Top 10 budget beach hotels and B&Bs on Mexico’s Pacific coast

Enjoy ocean views from rooftop bars or just step out and get the sand between your toes. From Mazatlán to Pochutla, here are 10 charming beachside escapes

Mexico’s Pacific coast, more than 1,000 miles of it, is renowned for its beaches, as well as the resorts which have attracted Hollywood royalty. However, it’s also an area that can experience tropical storms, usually between June and December. The most recent was Hurricane Patricia, the strongest hurricane ever recorded at sea, which swept across the region at the end of October, but caused less damage than anticipated. Hotels are now operating as normal.

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Top 10 budget beach hotels, guesthouses and hostels on the Yucatán peninsula, Mexico

Well-known and deservedly popular for its jungle, coast and ancient ruins, the Yucatán peninsula can be a pricey place to stay – unless you pick one of these brilliant budget hotels and hostels

On the surface, this mid-size hotel in Cancún’s hotel zone is pretty unremarkable. The tile-floored rooms are big and clean, with terraces or balconies – though they’re not notably stylish. The restaurant is good, not gourmet. The pool is a sensible size. But set this against its glitzy, high-rise neighbours and check the rates, which are often lower than similarly appointed hotels on the mainland, 30 minutes from the water – and Beachscape starts looking pretty good. Then walk out on to the palm-shaded beach, one of the prettiest stretches in the hotel zone, and the place becomes a minor miracle.
• Doubles from $109, +52 998 891 5427, beachscape.com.mx

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Top 10 budget beach B&Bs in the Seychelles

The Seychelles islands of Mahé, Praslin and La Digue may be known for their luxury resorts but there is also a great selection of family-run, more affordable guesthouses just as close to the archipelago’s famous, world-class beaches

For a room with a five-star view, Colibri is hard to beat. Nine rustic rooms – all wood and stone – ensconced amid tropical foliage that tumbles down a hillside to the turquoise waters of Baie Sainte Anne. There’s no beach but you can use the small infinity pool overlooking the bay at neighbouring B&B Chalets Cote Mer, also owned by Sylvie and Stephan, and costing about €10 more a night. You also share the waterfront creole restaurant. The owners can help with car hire but it’s a five-minute walk to a bus stop – which will take you to Praslin’s most famous beach Anse Lazio and the Unesco-protected Vallée de Mai nature reserve – and the jetty for ferries to Mahé and La Digue.
Doubles from £112 B&B, +248 429 4200, colibrisweethome.com

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Top 10 budget beach guesthouses and B&Bs in South Africa’s Western Cape

From Cape Town and its peninsula to the Garden Route and the West Coast, the Western Cape is a dazzling part of South Africa, and its beachside accommodation doesn’t have to break the bank

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Athens city guide: what to see plus the best bars, hotels and restaurants

Tour classical sites with locals and discover the guesthouses, restaurants and bars being opened by young entrepreneurs in a city buzzing with creativity

The revival of Europe’s classical capital has attracted plenty of artists, curators and digital nomads. But it’s entrepreneurial young Athenians who are opening pop-up restaurants, design collectives and guesthouses, regenerating derelict buildings in rough-around-the-edges areas such as Pangrati, Kypseli and Keramikos. Messy and unpredictable, Athens fizzes with an intense energy that burns bright into the night.

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Cantal, France, holiday guide: what to see plus the best restaurants and hotels

In central France, the Auvergne’s volcanic landscape offers year-round activity holidays, with peaks to climb, lakes to swim, restored farms to stay in and great value mountain cuisine

The Cantal is the rural heartland of France’s wild Auvergne region, right in the centre of the country and part of the Massif Central. Locals joke that there are more cows here than people and there certainly are not many tourists, despite a range of adventurous outdoor activities in summer and winter. Hotels and B&Bs could not be more reasonably priced, and the hearty regional cuisine – rustic rather than gourmet – comes in formidable four- or five-course bistro set menus, ideal for big appetites and small budgets. The Cantal also boasts some of the most spectacular sites in La Chaîne des Puys, the 80 or so extinct volcanoes that have just been recognised as a Unesco world heritage site.

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Holiday guide to Basilicata, Italy: what to see plus the best restaurants and hotels

‘Tourist hordes’ is not a phrase you’re likely to hear in Basilicata but given its rich cuisine, stunning national parks, ancient towns and great beaches, it’s hard to fathom why this seductive region remains so quiet

Imagine a region that has miles of white sand beaches on one coast, picturesque rocky bays on the other, two mountainous national parks, and one of the world’s oldest cities. Add lots of warm sunshine plus fine food and wine and you might expect the area to be a tourist mecca, busy with hotels and tour buses. However, Basilicata, the arch and instep of Italy’s boot, has all the above but – thanks admittedly to a history of poverty and difficult access – little mass tourism.

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Holiday guide to the Llŷn peninsula, north Wales

A haven for surfers and adventurers, ‘a timeless island feel pervades this often-overlooked peninsula’. Writers of the new Wild Guide Wales select the best coves and beaches, places to eat and seasonal campsites

With tiny lanes lined with wildflowers leading to empty coves and rugged cliffs, this magical, often-overlooked peninsula has a timeless island feel – some say the Llŷn is like Cornwall 50 years ago. Welsh is spoken more often than not, and sacred places abound. But it’s not stuck in the past: there’s a strong surf culture around Porth Neigwl (Hell’s Mouth), and you can taste the beginning of a good-food revolution.

The coast starts in rugged fashion on the north side with the towering peak of Yr Eifl, home of Tre’r Ceir, an iron age settlement with some of Wales’s best roundhouse remains. To the south, the coast is gentler – a string of pearly coves with tiny seasonal campsites. And at the distant tip sits Bardsey Island, glimmering across the tidal waters.

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A local’s guide to Chicago: 10 top tips

The city’s bars and music scene are among the most vibrant in the US. And with Lake Michigan beaches to relax on and two new budget flights from the UK, now is the time to go

Traditionally overshadowed by coastal powerhouses New York City and Los Angeles, Chicago is on the rise, with a record 55 million visitors in 2017 – and new direct flights from the UK with Norwegian and Wow making the US’s third-largest city more accessible. While visitors tend to congregate around the downtown and lakefront areas to admire the city’s world-renowned architecture, there’s a thriving music and bar scene that shouldn’t be missed.

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Dordogne holiday guide: what to see plus the best restaurants and hotels

The food, wine and idyllic lifestyle of this region’s villages have always appealed to Brits – and with Brexit looming they’re settling in record numbers – but that has not dimmed its thoroughly French allure

The Dordogne comes close to offering everything that travellers head to France for: beautiful chateaux, traditional French gastronomy, a bucolic landscape of vineyards, forests and rivers. Picturesque fortified villages, such as Beynac, La Roque Gageac and Eymet (site of an unexpected pre-Brexit boom for UK settlers), and charming towns such as Bergerac, Brantôme, Bourdeilles and Ribérac, have long been popular with Brits wanting to settle in France, and this is one part of the country where they have always been warmly welcomed into local communities.

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Antigua Guatemala city guide: what to see plus the best bars, hotels and restaurants

Thousands of visitors descend on Antigua for its famous Semana Santa celebrations over Easter, but this colonial gem is worth a visit at any time of year

Cobblestone streets lined with brightly coloured colonial buildings, a jacaranda-wreathed central plaza, 16th-century ruins and with volcanoes surrounding it … Few cities in Latin America can match Antigua Guatemala (usually referred to as just Antigua) for postcard prettiness. But this Unesco-listed city is about much more than surface-level charm and Instagram opportunities.

Founded in 1543 as the seat of Spanish power in the region, it served as its cultural, religious and economic centre for more than 200 years. The city was largely destroyed by earthquakes in the 17th century but many of the colonial buildings were rebuilt and have since been renovated. The remnants of others dot parks and gardens across the city.

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