Train driver wins 2021 Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year title

There’s no doubt that when it comes to photography, freight train driver Dylan Nardini is on the right track.

The 47-year-old was recently crowned Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year thanks to breathtaking shots that he took of a well-weathered tree on the Isle of Arran, snowfall in the village of Leadhills and fallen foliage in a country park in South Lanarkshire.

Nardini believes he developed his passion for the landscape while driving freight trains around the country for DB Cargo, for which he has worked for 28 years. He said: ‘Knowing that the judges have seen something pleasing in my work is so flattering and has given me a huge boost in what has been a very tough year for so many.’

The 2021 edition of Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year, now in its seventh year, attracted over 3,000 entries from across the globe. In addition to the overall award, the contest handed out gongs in several categories – landscape, seascape, treescapes, urban and your vision.

Competition founder Stuart Low said: ‘It’s humbling to receive so many entries, considering how difficult things have been for everyone. It’s also been quite emotional for everyone involved in the judging.

‘Whilst we relaxed things to allow photographers to enter classic images from their archives, others adapted to the challenges of the restrictions and captured beauty on their doorsteps, and I’m sure that will touch many people’s hearts.’ Scroll down to see some of the incredible winning and commended images from the competition…

One of the stunning shots by freight train driver Dylan Nardini that helped him scoop the 2021 title of Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year. He captured this mesmerising scene on the Isle of Arran. He explained: ‘April showers quickly moved in from the west while early morning light brought welcome warmth to a well-weathered tree, which had been shaped by the prevailing winds that batter the north coast of the island’

Another incredible shot from Nardini's portfolio. He snapped it after snowfall in February 2020 in the village of Leadhills in the Southern Uplands in South Lanarkshire. He said: 'The village had been lacking in light until a sudden brief thinning of the thick flat cloud allowed small piercing beams to pepper the textured snow-covered hills of the Southern Uplands and the deserted old shepherd's bothy nestled at their foot'

Another incredible shot from Nardini’s portfolio. He snapped it after snowfall in February 2020 in the village of Leadhills in the Southern Uplands in South Lanarkshire. He said: ‘The village had been lacking in light until a sudden brief thinning of the thick flat cloud allowed small piercing beams to pepper the textured snow-covered hills of the Southern Uplands and the deserted old shepherd’s bothy nestled at their foot’

Nardini snapped this fascinating photo of Avon Water at Chatelherault Country Park in South Lanarkshire in November 2020 and included it in his portfolio. He said: 'Most of the leaves on the steep gorge had fallen and had speckled the cold blue rock on the banks of the Avon Water, which merges with the River Clyde. The beautiful contrast of colour and wet rock helped lift the spirits of a local walk at what was about to be the beginning of a long and draining lockdown restricted winter'

The winner of the treescapes category was Waldemar Matusik with this amazing image he snapped in woods in Bathgate, West Lothian. He explained: 'There were misty and atmospheric weather conditions for a week or so, which is perfect for woodland photography. I went to my favourite local woods and used a telephoto lens to increase the depth of field and create space between the trees as they faded into the gloom. The thick fog was beautiful, which boosted the magic of the place'

LEFT: Nardini snapped this fascinating photo of Avon Water at Chatelherault Country Park in South Lanarkshire in November 2020 and included it in his portfolio. He said: ‘Most of the leaves on the steep gorge had fallen and had speckled the cold blue rock on the banks of the Avon Water, which merges with the River Clyde. The beautiful contrast of colour and wet rock helped lift the spirits of a local walk at what was about to be the beginning of a long and draining lockdown-restricted winter.’ RIGHT: The winner of the treescapes category was Waldemar Matusik with this amazing image he snapped in woods in Bathgate, West Lothian. He explained: ‘There were misty and atmospheric weather conditions for a week or so, which is perfect for woodland photography. I went to my favourite local woods and used a telephoto lens to increase the depth of field and create space between the trees as they faded into the gloom. The thick fog was beautiful, which boosted the magic of the place’

Stephen Robbie was named the competition's overall runner-up with his portfolio of three pictures. One of them is this stunning image of Loch Ard in the Trossachs. He explained: 'As the thick autumnal mist finally lifted on a still morning, a single tree on an isolated islet caught the first light from the sun breaking over the surrounding hills'

Stephen Robbie was named the competition’s overall runner-up with his portfolio of three pictures. One of them is this stunning image of Loch Ard in the Trossachs. He explained: ‘As the thick autumnal mist finally lifted on a still morning, a single tree on an isolated islet caught the first light from the sun breaking over the surrounding hills’

Another beautiful image by Robbie. It shows a 'family of trees, isolated and huddling together to keep each other company on a chilly and atmospheric winter's morning'. He snapped the photo in Muiravonside Country Park in Falkirk

Another beautiful image by Robbie. It shows a ‘family of trees, isolated and huddling together to keep each other company on a chilly and atmospheric winter’s morning’. He snapped the photo in Muiravonside Country Park in Falkirk

Robbie's third shot, which shows the Ha Lighthouse in Aberdour, Fife. He said: 'In February 2020, the conditions combined for an image that had been visualised for some time. This was created on my final photography trip before the March 2020 lockdown'

This superb shot of the Callanish Standing Stones on the Isle of Lewis was taken on a frosty March morning by Jan Harris. She was highly commended in the 'your vision category'

LEFT: Robbie’s third shot, which shows the Ha Lighthouse in Aberdour, Fife. He said: ‘In February 2020, the conditions combined for an image that had been visualised for some time. This was created on my final photography trip before the March 2020 lockdown.’ RIGHT: This superb shot of the Callanish Standing Stones on the Isle of Lewis was taken on a frosty March morning by Jan Harris. She was highly commended in the ‘your vision’ category

Tony Higginson scooped the top prize in the seascape category thanks to this jaw-dropping picture he took in the village of Elgol on the Isle of Skye during Storm Ciara in February 2020. He explained: 'As a hailstorm blew over the Cullin mountains, I got lucky when the sun briefly appeared and illuminated the scene, adding that extra magic'

Tony Higginson scooped the top prize in the seascape category thanks to this jaw-dropping picture he took in the village of Elgol on the Isle of Skye during Storm Ciara in February 2020. He explained: ‘As a hailstorm blew over the Cullin mountains, I got lucky when the sun briefly appeared and illuminated the scene, adding that extra magic’

This incredible shot  - another by Higginson - was commended in the landscape category. It shows Ardvreck Castle on the shores of Loch Assynt in Sutherland in the Scottish Highlands. He said: 'After spending some time photographing the details of the foreground rocks, I decided to include them in this larger composition using a long exposure'

This incredible shot  – another by Higginson – was commended in the landscape category. It shows Ardvreck Castle on the shores of Loch Assynt in Sutherland in the Scottish Highlands. He said: ‘After spending some time photographing the details of the foreground rocks, I decided to include them in this larger composition using a long exposure’

Alastair Dick claimed the runner-up spot in the treescapes category with this beautiful image he took in Beecraigs Country Park near Linlithgow. The photographer explained: 'On a foggy late autumn morning, as time wore on, the light tried its best to break through the tree canopy, illuminating the gloriously coloured leaves when viewed from ground level'

Alastair Dick claimed the runner-up spot in the treescapes category with this beautiful image he took in Beecraigs Country Park near Linlithgow. The photographer explained: ‘On a foggy late autumn morning, as time wore on, the light tried its best to break through the tree canopy, illuminating the gloriously coloured leaves when viewed from ground level’

Marc Pickering scooped the top accolade in the landscape category with this serene scene. It shows the first light breaking through a low-lying mist over Loch Erdeline in Argyll. He said the light 'created a beautiful scene as it illuminated the frosty ground'

Marc Pickering scooped the top accolade in the landscape category with this serene scene. It shows the first light breaking through a low-lying mist over Loch Erdeline in Argyll. He said the light ‘created a beautiful scene as it illuminated the frosty ground’

Taking second place in the landscape category was Sophie Schneeberger with this stunning image of the 3,162ft (964m) Sgurr nan Gillean mountain on the Isle of Skye. Sophie said: 'Looking towards Sligachan, Sgurr nan Gillean revealed itself beneath these beautiful, glowing clouds. The scene lasted only a few seconds before the clouds obscured the mountain once more'

Taking second place in the landscape category was Sophie Schneeberger with this stunning image of the 3,162ft (964m) Sgurr nan Gillean mountain on the Isle of Skye. Sophie said: ‘Looking towards Sligachan, Sgurr nan Gillean revealed itself beneath these beautiful, glowing clouds. The scene lasted only a few seconds before the clouds obscured the mountain once more’

Graham MacKay captured this beautiful scene while walking through his local woods in Eaglesham, Glasgow. He points out how the early morning mist hanging in the air and the autumn leaves outline the path that leads through the trees. The image was highly commended in the treescapes category

Graham MacKay captured this beautiful scene while walking through his local woods in Eaglesham, Glasgow. He points out how the early morning mist hanging in the air and the autumn leaves outline the path that leads through the trees. The image was highly commended in the treescapes category

The winner of the urban category was Moumita Paul with this amazing image of the reflection of colourful houses on a car roof on Edinburgh's famous Victoria Street

Photographer Drummond Fyall was runner-up in the urban category with this haunting shot of Edinburgh's Rose Street, which he called 'Locked Down Christmas'. He said: 'Lockdown meant the usually busy Rose Street was eerily quiet in the run-up to Christmas. The puddle was ideally placed to take advantage of the lights above'

LEFT: The winner of the urban category was Moumita Paul with this amazing image of the reflection of colourful houses on a car roof on Edinburgh’s famous Victoria Street. RIGHT: Photographer Drummond Fyall was runner-up in the urban category with this haunting shot of Edinburgh’s Rose Street, which he called ‘Locked Down Christmas’. He said: ‘Lockdown meant the usually busy Rose Street was eerily quiet in the run-up to Christmas. The puddle was ideally placed to take advantage of the lights above’

Commended in the seascapes category was Alan Fowler with this stunning image of the Glen Sannox ferry on a calm River Clyde at Ferguson's Shipyard in Port Glasgow

Commended in the seascapes category was Alan Fowler with this stunning image of the Glen Sannox ferry on a calm River Clyde at Ferguson’s Shipyard in Port Glasgow

Philip Durkin took the runner-up spot in the seascape category with this mesmerising shot taken during 'blue hour' on the Isle of Harris. He explained it was taken from Bagh Steinigidh beach and visible is the island of Taransay - and 'the hills beyond'

Philip Durkin took the runner-up spot in the seascape category with this mesmerising shot taken during ‘blue hour’ on the Isle of Harris. He explained it was taken from Bagh Steinigidh beach and visible is the island of Taransay – and ‘the hills beyond’

Eight divine UK B&Bs set amid glorious gardens from the Highlands to Somerset

We’re lucky to have some of the finest gardens in the world, from national treasures such as Kew, Sissinghurst and Wisley to the thousands of smaller private gardens open for charity.

Many of them do so under the National Garden Scheme, which raises money for good causes in England and Wales through garden openings, plant sales and teas — its president is none other than the queen of cakes herself, Dame Mary Berry. There is also a Scottish version, Scotland’s Gardens Scheme.

A number of these ‘open gardens’ properties also offer B&B or self-catering accommodation, allowing the chance to revel in some of the most spectacular gardens in the country. Here is our pick of the places to stay to delight any garden lover.

LOVELY LINCS

The Easton estate in Lincolnshire has a pair of stone cottages, The Gatehouse and May Lodge, as well as smaller Loft suites

The Easton estate properties have been lovingly restored

The Easton estate properties have been lovingly restored

The historic Easton estate, in the heart of Lincolnshire, has a pair of beautifully fitted-out stone cottages, The Gatehouse and May Lodge, as well as smaller Loft suites. The properties, which each sleep two, are on the edge of the renowned 12-acre garden, lovingly restored over the past 20 years. Guests have access to the garden at any time.

Don’t miss: Wandering among the roses, sweet peas and two acres of wildflower meadows before breakfast, or sitting in the garden at night and stargazing.

How to do it: Cottages from £650 a week, or from £400 for two nights; the Lofts from £150 for two nights (eastonholidaycottages.co.uk).

FARM CHARM

A 470-acre working farm, Greenwick Farm near York has sweeping views across the Wolds. The Victorian farmhouse B&B has three double bedrooms, or guests can stay in two nearby eco-pods with bathrooms and kitchenettes. There is unrestricted access to the quiet one-acre garden, developed from disused farmland. Guests can enjoy the terrace, a large dell with mature trees, flower borders, a stumpery and the water feature.

Don’t miss: Enjoying an evening drink while taking in the glorious views from the garden towards a wooded valley teeming with birdlife.

How to do it: B&B from £100 a night, or a pod from £85 (greenwickfarm.co.uk).

STATELY SPLENDOUR

Arley Hall (pictured) near Northwich in Cheshire offers a smartly furnished cottage, Chapel House, which sleeps four

Arley Hall (pictured) near Northwich in Cheshire offers a smartly furnished cottage, Chapel House, which sleeps four

Dating back more than 250 years, the superb, flower-filled garden at Arley Hall near Northwich in Cheshire covers eight acres. One of the locations for the TV show Peaky Blinders, Arley offers a smartly furnished cottage, Chapel House, which sleeps four. It’s just a few steps from the cottage to the garden, and guests get free entry to it between 10am and 5pm. There’s also an excellent tearoom.

Don’t miss: The huge double herbaceous borders, a tapestry of colourful blooms set against immaculately clipped yew hedges.

How to do it: A week from £533 to £1,100 (ruralretreats.co.uk).

DREAM COTTAGE

Hideaway Loft at Laversdale in Cumbria is a charming thatched cottage sleeping two. The cottage sits within the garden, surrounded by abundant flowers, arches, grottoes and a rill, with plenty of seats dotted around from which to admire the countryside. Guests have their own seating area with a barbecue by the cottage, but are welcome to use the rest of the garden.

Don’t miss: Magnificent views across the Lake District, the Pennines and the hills of the Scottish Borders.

How to do it: Hideaway Loft from £90 a night or £504 for a week (hideawayloft.co.uk).

WONDERFUL WALES

On the High Glanau Manor estate in Gwent there is a stylishly furnished stone cottage sleeping two (pictured)

On the High Glanau Manor estate in Gwent there is a stylishly furnished stone cottage sleeping two (pictured)

High Glanau Manor near Monmouth in Gwent, an Arts and Crafts garden laid out in 1922, is full of period charm, with an Edwardian glasshouse, stone terraces and pergolas. In late spring, visitors can enjoy the rhododendrons and azaleas, while in the summer expect flower-packed borders and an orchard filled with wildflowers. Nestling in the 12-acre plot is The Garden House, a stylishly furnished self-catering stone cottage sleeping two.

Don’t miss: Watching the sun set over the Vale of Usk towards Sugar Loaf and the Brecon Beacons.

How to do it: From £125 a night (airbnb.co.uk).

CIDER WITH COSY

Cider Barrel Cottage in Somerset is a former cider store that is now an inviting two-bedroom house

Cider Barrel Cottage in Somerset is a former cider store that is now an inviting two-bedroom house

Cider Barrel Cottage, a former cider store near Cheddar in Somerset, has been turned into a comfortable two-bedroom house with a conservatory.

The cottage is in a large, lush garden with sweeping lawns, a brook, pergolas, arbours and an impressive collection of trees, shrubs and perennial plants. Guests can access the garden at any time, and also explore the four and a half acres of working cider apple orchards. Owner Kathy Longhurst likes visitors to go home with a cutting or two from the garden.

Don’t miss: Micro pigs Raquel and Cassandra.

How to do it: From £460 to £600 a week; but fully booked until late August (ciderbarrelcottage.co.uk).

GRAPES GALORE 

Established in 1980, Coddington Vineyard near Ledbury in Herefordshire has two acres of vines, plus a fine garden with waterside planting, a wildlife meadow, woodland, roses and flower borders.

Guests can use the garden or wander through the vineyards, or explore the threshing barn and cider mill. You stay in the newly-renovated Hop Cottage, a two-bedroom, Grade II-listed cottage ideal for families, or in the Vine Lodge log cabin, which sleeps two and is located in the vineyard.

Don’t miss: Tasting the estate’s wine, sparkling wine, apple juice and ice cream.

How to do it: From £160 a night (coddingtonvineyard.co.uk).

HIGHLAND HEAVEN 

Guests who stay at Gordon Castle in the Highlands are free to access the huge Walled Garden during the daytime

Guests who stay at Gordon Castle in the Highlands are free to access the huge Walled Garden during the daytime

One of the most Instagrammed gardens in the country, the huge Walled Garden at Gordon Castle in the Highlands brims with flowers, fruit, herbs, vegetables and 3,000 lavender plants. Guests, who are free to access the garden during the daytime, stay at one of five self-catering properties: the Garden House sleeping eight; the Kennel Cottage, for six; the Courtyard Cottage and the Lakeside Cottage, each for four; and Quarry Gardens Lodge, for two.

Don’t miss: Sampling the gin, jams and chutneys — plus toiletries made from garden herbs.

How to do it: From £629 to £861 for smaller properties, £1,151-£1,799 for the largest (gordoncastle.co.uk).

Iceland’s incredible 246ft-long geothermal ocean-side ‘infinity edge’ wellness lagoon is now open

Thought Iceland couldn’t get any more Instagrammable? Think again.

A stunning new geothermal lagoon has opened on the outskirts of Reykjavik with a 246ft- (75m) long ‘infinity edge’ and views of the North Atlantic Ocean and, at the time of writing, the erupting volcano on the Reykjanes peninsula. 

In renderings released last June, Sky Lagoon looked extremely eye-catching. And it’s just as enticing in real life, with newly released photographs showing the lagoon’s steaming blue waters framed by rugged rocks, waterfalls and a sauna fitted with what’s claimed to be Iceland’s largest window, which showcases the jaw-dropping scenery in style. 

A stunning new geothermal lagoon has opened on the outskirts of Reykjavik with a 246ft- (75m) long ‘infinity edge’ 

Newly-released images show photogenic Sky Lagoon's steaming blue waters framed by rugged rocks and waterfalls

Newly-released images show photogenic Sky Lagoon’s steaming blue waters framed by rugged rocks and waterfalls

Guests are encouraged to follow a 'seven-step ritual' while at the lagoon, inspired by Icelandic tradition. The first step involves experiencing the 'healing warm geothermal waters' of the lagoon

Guests are encouraged to follow a ‘seven-step ritual’ while at the lagoon, inspired by Icelandic tradition. The first step involves experiencing the ‘healing warm geothermal waters’ of the lagoon

Other features of the steaming pool – which remains a constant 38 to 40C – include a swim-up bar serving local beers and cocktails, a dining spot with tasting menus and traditional morsels on offer and spa rooms housed inside a turf house inspired by age-old Icelandic buildings.

Guests are encouraged to follow a ‘seven-step ritual’ while at the lagoon, inspired by Icelandic tradition. 

The first step involves experiencing the ‘healing warm geothermal waters’ of the lagoon, this is then followed by a plunge in a glacier-fresh pool to ‘stimulate the immune system’, with a five to ten-minute stint in the sauna to ‘cleanse the skin’ and warm up afterwards. 

Moving to step four, the Sky Lagoon has a unique ‘cold fog-mist space’ that apparently is ‘stimulating and rejuvenating for mind, body and soul’. 

For step five, guests are invited to apply the lagoon’s signature Sky Body Scrub, which promises to ‘improve how you feel, inside and out’.

Sessions in the steam room and a shower complete the circuit.   

A peek inside the sauna at the Sky Lagoon, which features what's claimed is Iceland's largest window

A peek inside the sauna at the Sky Lagoon, which features what’s claimed is Iceland’s largest window

The steaming pool - which remains a constant 38 to 40C - includes a swim-up bar serving up local beers and cocktails

The steaming pool – which remains a constant 38 to 40C – includes a swim-up bar serving up local beers and cocktails

The Sky Lagoon was masterminded by attractions and hospitality firm Pursuit. Commenting on its opening David Barry, Pursuit's president, said: 'The restorative nature of wellness experiences such as Sky Lagoon will become much more meaningful as we continue to emerge from what has been an incredibly challenging period'

The Sky Lagoon was masterminded by attractions and hospitality firm Pursuit. Commenting on its opening David Barry, Pursuit’s president, said: ‘The restorative nature of wellness experiences such as Sky Lagoon will become much more meaningful as we continue to emerge from what has been an incredibly challenging period’

Visitors have a choice of two packages at Sky Lagoon, with the more expensive Sky Pass providing access to a private changing and shower area, with premium hair and skincare amenities to experiment with.  

The Sky Lagoon was masterminded by attractions and hospitality firm Pursuit. 

Commenting on its opening David Barry, Pursuit’s president, said: ‘The restorative nature of wellness experiences such as Sky Lagoon will become much more meaningful as we continue to emerge from what has been an incredibly challenging period.

‘The need to reenergize, relax and restore is integral to both our physical and mental well-being and we are thrilled to introduce guests to the Sky Lagoon experience.’ 

The Sky Lagoon is located at Karsnes Harbour, Kopavogur, just a few minutes' drive from Reykjavík's city centre. Tickets start from £48 (8,500 Icelandic Krona) with various entry slots available seven days a week

The Sky Lagoon is located at Karsnes Harbour, Kopavogur, just a few minutes’ drive from Reykjavík’s city centre. Tickets start from £48 (8,500 Icelandic Krona) with various entry slots available seven days a week

Iceland is one of the 'green list' countries recently announced by the UK Government, meaning that Britons can fly there without the need to quarantine or isolate upon their return from May 17

Iceland is one of the ‘green list’ countries recently announced by the UK Government, meaning that Britons can fly there without the need to quarantine or isolate upon their return from May 17 

Meanwhile, Sky Lagoon’s general manager, Dagny Petursdottir, added: ‘The traditions of bathing culture are integral to the Icelandic way of life and are at the core of the Sky Lagoon experience.

‘This rejuvenating and transformative experience will enable guests to connect with mind, body and spirit through the radiant powers of geothermal waters.’   

The Sky Lagoon is located at Karsnes Harbour, Kopavogur, just a few minutes’ drive from Reykjavík’s city centre. 

Tickets start from £48 (8,500 Icelandic Krona) with various entry slots available seven days a week. 

Iceland is one of the ‘green list’ countries recently announced by the UK Government, meaning that Britons can fly there without the need to quarantine or isolate upon their return from May 17.

For more information visit skylagoon.com.

How caravans are enjoying a revival in the UK and offer all the comfort of a luxury hotel suite

Forget cardboard-thin mattresses, icy draughts, damp and getting a nose bleed if you turn around too quickly in the cramped kitchen.

The caravan is enjoying a revival, with sales in March alone up by some 125 per cent up on the same month last year.

And a new generation of luxury caravans for the British market claims to offer all the comfort and benefits of luxury hotel suites.

The US company Airstream has launched a new version of its ‘silver bullet’ caravan for the British market

Standout features of the new Airstream 25iB include leather upholstery and a retractable bed (pictured)

Standout features of the new Airstream 25iB include leather upholstery and a retractable bed (pictured)

Combining tradition, style and luxury, the new Airstream starts from £105,000

Combining tradition, style and luxury, the new Airstream starts from £105,000

Some have full en-suite shower rooms, fan ovens, big fridge freezers, microwaves, WiFi, big comfy beds, deep-pile carpets, satellite TVs, wine coolers, coffee machines and solar panels.

The US company Airstream has launched a new version of its ‘silver bullet’ caravan for the British market, combining tradition, style and luxury with a typical price tag of over £100,000.

For luxury at a more modest price tag of £40,000, there is the all-new Lusso from British manufacturer Coachman.

There are also mega motorhomes from German manufacturers, such as the Morelo Grand Empire, which has a starting price of £550,000 and offers a home on wheels plus an onboard garage big enough to carry a Mini Cooper S. 

For luxury at a more modest price tag of £40,000, there is the all-new Lusso from British manufacturer Coachman

For luxury at a more modest price tag of £40,000, there is the all-new Lusso from British manufacturer Coachman

The Lusso, made by Hull-based Coachman, was launched in November 2020 but the company says it is already 'virtually sold out for this season'

The Lusso, made by Hull-based Coachman, was launched in November 2020 but the company says it is already ‘virtually sold out for this season’

Standout features of the Lusso include a fully-equipped kitchen with a fan oven, hob and microwave, and a sound system installed in the lounge and bedroom areas. LED lighting also helps create a cosy ambience

Standout features of the Lusso include a fully-equipped kitchen with a fan oven, hob and microwave, and a sound system installed in the lounge and bedroom areas. LED lighting also helps create a cosy ambience 

The UK importer is in talks with several interested parties to provide right-hand drive versions to clients in this country.

Industry expert Daniel Attwood: ‘Forget the clichéd image of uncomfortable beds made from sofa cushions, cramped showers, unpractical kitchens and cold, damp lounges. 

‘I defy anyone to step inside a new caravan and not be impressed when they see a full-sized island double bed with a luxury en-suite washroom, a kitchen with every facility like wine coolers and coffee machines, and lounges with satellite TVs, USB points, radiant heating and huge skylights.

‘Today’s caravans are more akin to luxury hotel suites and it is with this attractive image now in people’s minds that is driving the current demand.’

Just over 2,500 caravans have been snapped up during the first three months of 2021, which is remarkable given that most dealers have been closed.

The German-made Morelo Grand Empire is built on the large-format truck chassis from a Mercedes-Benz. Along with a home on wheels, it offers an onboard garage large enough to house a Mini Cooper

The German-made Morelo Grand Empire is built on the large-format truck chassis from a Mercedes-Benz. Along with a home on wheels, it offers an onboard garage large enough to house a Mini Cooper

The Morelo Grand Empire features massage chairs for a spot of relaxation after a day on the road

The Morelo Grand Empire features massage chairs for a spot of relaxation after a day on the road

A peek at the spacious bedroom inside the Morelo Grand Empire. The vehicle is 39.3ft (12m) long

A peek at the spacious bedroom inside the Morelo Grand Empire. The vehicle is 39.3ft (12m) long

JOIN THE CARAVAN CLUB

Airstream 25iB

Typical price: £105,000

Facts: The iconic ‘silver bullet’ caravan is made in the US from metal and 3,000 rivets. The 25iB is a new model for the UK and Australia and it takes more than 350 hours for workers to build it from hand.

Standout features: Leather upholstery, a retractable bed, a full-size en-suite shower room, a central heating system, a heated bathroom towel rail, a roof-mounted air conditioning unit, solar panels, a retractable TV, and a refrigeration unit with a freezer included.

Coachman Lusso 

Typical price: £40,455

Facts: The Lusso, made by Hull-based Coachman, was launched in November 2020 but the company says it is already ‘virtually sold out for this season’.

Standout features: Double-glazed windows, roof mounted WiFi, a fully-equipped kitchen with a fan oven, hob and microwave, a retractable bed, deep pile luxury carpets, a tall double wardrobe, LED lighting, and a sound system installed in the lounge and bedroom areas. 

Morelo Grand Empire

Typical price: £550,000 to £600,000

Facts: The Morelo Grand Empire, made by German manufacturers, is built on the large-format truck chassis from a Mercedes-Benz. It is 39.3ft (12m) long, weighs 18 tons and has a 500-litre fuel tank.

Standout features: An onboard garage large enough to fit a Mini Cooper, a slide-out box on the side that increases the width of the kitchen and living room by 1.6ft (0.5m), a fully-equipped kitchen with a dishwasher, custom cupboards for champagne and wine glasses, under-floor heating, massage chairs, retractable TVs from overhead lockers, a state-of-the-art stereo system, remote-controlled air conditioning, a rain shower, a panoramic window in the roof and solar panels.  

Production has surged to pre-lockdown levels with the result that sales of new caravans will be between 15,000 and 17,000 by the end of this year. At the same time, there is a thriving second-hand market, together with strong sales for campervans and motorhomes.

Mr Attwood, the head of content at specialist publications including Caravan magazine, Camping magazine and What Motorhome magazine, said: ‘There has been a huge surge in interest in leisure vehicles since the pandemic.

‘Demand for all leisure vehicles has rocketed and dealers are still struggling to feed buyers’ appetite for new and quality used caravans, as well as motorhomes.

‘There is no other type of holiday accommodation that gives people the freedom that a caravan does to tour… Knowing that nobody else has used the onboard facilities except you and your family is very reassuring during these times.

‘What has surprised many newcomers to this lifestyle is the level of luxury and comfort that modern caravans and motorhomes offer.’

Ben Parkin, sales director at Hull-based Coachman, where the luxury Lusso is made, said: ‘A lot of customers are jumping in at the top of the market. The Lusso was only launched in November, but we are already virtually sold out for this season.

‘That is a bit alien to us in the caravan industry because, historically, people would start small and then trade up over the years.

Now we are seeing people pull up in a Range Rover and buy a top-end caravan as their first one.

‘I guess if you are driving a £90,000 car, then it is not a stretch to put a £40,000 caravan on the back. These are people who would normally be spending £25,000 a year on foreign holidays.’

A new Channel 4 TV series, Carry on Glamping, fronted by Jonny Vegas, will follow how people up and down the country are transforming old vehicles into stunning mobile boutique hotel suites.

The Caravan and Motorhome Club has had two record-breaking months for new memberships. Enthusiast and TV presenter Matt Allwright, who has his own campervan, said: ‘The attraction is really the idea that you have this life support system with you wherever you go.

‘I spend my working life in hotels and I am not a massive fan of them, each one is different and annoying in its own way, but my campervan is always the same, it’s my environment.

‘I get to decide what it looks like, the food that I carry in it, where I stop. As soon as you get away from your house it is an adventure.’

He told the BBC’s World at One that the freedom is a huge advantage. 

He said: ‘Nobody is dictating your itinerary, you decide and you can change it as you go around. You genuinely end up discovering the most fantastic parts of this country and overseas.’

He added that the modern caravan is a long way from the cliché. ‘They are warm, properly insulated, properly powered with hot water. It is such a world away from Carry on Camping,’ he said.

Why JEREMY CLARKE is dreaming of flying easyJet to France’s glamorous Cote d’Azur

The magic words I long to hear: ‘Now boarding at gate 32B.’ Why JEREMY CLARKE is dreaming of flying easyJet to France’s glamorous Cote d’Azur

  • The Daily Mail’s Jeremy Clarke recalls flying from Bristol Airpot to Nice in the South of France with easyJet  
  • He remembers the spectacular descent into the Cote d’Azur and spotting the crowded beaches of St Tropez 
  • His favourite things about this part of the world? Weeks without socks, strong coffee and flaky croissants 

Advertisement

Bristol Airport has a calm, provincial atmosphere. Frisking me, the security officer says: ‘And where are you flying to today, sir?’ To Nice, I tell her. ‘Oh lucky you, sir!’

Bing bong! ‘EasyJet flight EZY 6113 Bristol to Nice is now boarding at Gate 32B.’

Magic words. I reach for my day-pack and jumbo Toblerone and tread the familiar corridors. We are shepherded outside into wind and salt rain and climb the stairs to the humming orange workhorse.

French Riviera: The captivating town of Villefranche-sur-Mer near Nice on the Cote d’Azur

Nobody in their right mind goes to Nice for the clubbing scene. On this route you get an older, reserved crowd with a leavening of grumpy Panama hats and pink trousers flying down to their second homes.

Over the Isle of Wight I hear the clank of the drinks trolley. On the Nice run, the easyJet flight attendants can lip-read the words ‘Gin and tonic please, love.’ It’s part of their training. I mouth the words, look desperate, and there’s one coming towards me over the heads immediately.

Halfway down France the clouds melt away. Flying now by sight, the pilots follow the shining river Rhône and at the Mediterranean turn sharp left. ‘Any rubbish?’

Nearly there already. I drain my plastic glass, toss it at the moving target and settle back for the spectacular descent along the Cote d’Azur.

Under the wing, the crowded beaches of St Tropez, St Maxime and St Raphael drift slowly past. On the Croisette at Cannes traffic beetles between the palm trees. Over the Cap d’Antibes, the plane’s shadow flits across the pantiles of an opulent villa.

Hikers on the coast path pause to squint up at us. Towels spread on the La Plage de la Garoupe look like prayer rugs. The toy fort at Cagnes. Now we are skimming windsurfers’ heads and first-time passengers are trying to recall the evacuation at sea drill. Seconds before we hit the water, waves become smooth asphalt. Two bumps and we are earthbound again. Palmy Nice. Private jets, latest designs, baking in a row. The dazzle and shimmer of the glass airport terminal.

The Daily Mail's Jeremy Clarke recalls flying with easyJet to Nice and enjoying a gin and tonic on board

The Daily Mail’s Jeremy Clarke recalls flying with easyJet to Nice and enjoying a gin and tonic on board 

I descend the aircraft steps into a hot sea breeze. A cold air-conditioned corridor. A bored passport officer waves me through with a laconic flap of the hand.

Neither Customs officer is the slightest bit interested. Now only sliding doors separate me from the Cote d’Azur. Which is fun, probably, if you’re rolling in it. But me, I’m catching the bus into the hills. The Mediterranean climate still, but fragrant pine and oak forest instead of pre-cast concrete.

Old stone villages instead of apartment blocks. Shrieking swifts at sunset around the old church campanile. Nightingales’ liquid warbling day and night. Hoopoes. Golden orioles’ weird electronic beeping. There are stony tracks rising and falling across rosemary and thyme-scented garrigue.

Sun-soaked: The view onto the famous Place Rossetti in Nice in the South of France

Sun-soaked: The view onto the famous Place Rossetti in Nice in the South of France 

The sci-fi drumming of cicadas slipping in and out of one’s consciousness. Deserted hilltop villages, ruined arches twined with wild fig. Lonely wayside oratories, Roman churches, ice-cold monastery chapels. Monks, with their habit sleeves rolled up, selling veg in the weekly village markets. Bells tolling the sweltering hours.

Weeks without socks nor a cloud in the sky. The raucousness and courtliness of southerners. Flaking croissant and quince jelly for breakfast. Strong coffee. Unbearable heat after 11am. Silence at noon. Afternoons on my back under a fan behind closed shutters. Velvet, sweaty, lantern-lit nights. Mosquito bites. Red wine stains on the tablecloth.

I quicken my step as I pass through the sliding doors into the hot, sweet South of France.

Advertisement

Poland as you’ve never seen it before, from epic mountains to fairy-tale castles 

There can be few better adverts for a trip to Poland (when travel reopens) than this set of photographs.

They come courtesy of Karol Nienartowicz, from Krakow, who you won’t be surprised to learn is a professional photographer.

His images capture Poland’s most enticing aspects, from its fairy-tale castles and fascinating cities to its epic mountains, stunning lakes and lush green meadows.

Karol, 35, who is also an author, told MailOnline Travel: ‘Since the beginning of the pandemic, I have only managed to travel abroad a few times. That is why for over a year, I have been photographing places in Poland that I have not seen before.

‘The whole area in the south of Poland is occupied by mountains – these are the most beautiful places in my country. The Tatras – the highest Polish mountains – are a miniature of the Alps. There are many rocky peaks, beautiful blue lakes and green meadows.

‘Poland also has old and interesting cities with a rich history. It has a lot to offer people who like hiking in the mountains and visiting monuments.’ Scroll down to start your Polish adventure…

A jaw-dropping image by Karol of the Tatra Mountains, which stand on the border between Poland and Slovakia. It is the highest range in Poland and the wider Carpathian Mountains, which stretch through countries including Ukraine, Romania and Hungary. The range’s highest point in Poland is Rysy – an 8,200ft (2,499m) peak 

Karol said: 'Autumn is definitely the most beautiful in Poland. We have great colours here in October. In the mountains, it is spectacular in winter, when everything is frozen and frosted.' Pictured are the Tatra Mountains

Karol said: ‘Autumn is definitely the most beautiful in Poland. We have great colours here in October. In the mountains, it is spectacular in winter, when everything is frozen and frosted.’ Pictured are the Tatra Mountains 

Another shot taken by Karol of the Tatra Mountains, this time from the village of Lapszanka. He described the range as a 'miniature Alps' explaining: 'They are very interesting and effective. There are many rocky peaks, beautiful blue lakes and green meadows'

Another shot taken by Karol of the Tatra Mountains, this time from the village of Lapszanka. He described the range as a ‘miniature Alps’ explaining: ‘They are very interesting and effective. There are many rocky peaks, beautiful blue lakes and green meadows’

This breathtaking image was snapped from the top of Trzy Korony, which with a summit at 3,222ft (982m), is the highest peak in the Central Pieniny mountains. It is made up of five crags, with a viewing platform on Okraglica - the highest crag

This breathtaking image was snapped from the top of Trzy Korony, which with a summit at 3,222ft (982m), is the highest peak in the Central Pieniny mountains. It is made up of five crags, with a viewing platform on Okraglica – the highest crag 

The imposing ruins of the 13th-century Ogrodzieniec Castle in Podzamcze, around an hour's drive from Krakow. It sits on top of a 1,690ft (515m) mountain and is open to tourists. As the Polish Tourism Organisation points out, scenes for the 2019 Netflix series The Witcher, starring Henry Cavill, were shot at the castle

The imposing ruins of the 13th-century Ogrodzieniec Castle in Podzamcze, around an hour’s drive from Krakow. It sits on top of a 1,690ft (515m) mountain and is open to tourists. As the Polish Tourism Organisation points out, scenes for the 2019 Netflix series The Witcher, starring Henry Cavill, were shot at the castle

An aerial shot of the beautiful St Basil the Great Orthodox Church in the small village of Konieczna on the Polish/Slovakian border. Karol said: 'Poland has a lot to offer people who like hiking in the mountains and visiting monuments'

An aerial shot of the beautiful St Basil the Great Orthodox Church in the small village of Konieczna on the Polish/Slovakian border. Karol said: ‘Poland has a lot to offer people who like hiking in the mountains and visiting monuments’

A dramatic scene of storm clouds brewing in Pieniny National Park in southern Poland. 'Within its borders are the Pieniny Czorsztynskie, the Trzy Korony massif and the Pieninki' mountains, says the Polish Tourism Organisation. It adds: 'The pride of the park are the butterflies, especially the Apollo butterfly, which is found only in the Pieniny'

A dramatic scene of storm clouds brewing in Pieniny National Park in southern Poland. ‘Within its borders are the Pieniny Czorsztynskie, the Trzy Korony massif and the Pieninki’ mountains, says the Polish Tourism Organisation. It adds: ‘The pride of the park are the butterflies, especially the Apollo butterfly, which is found only in the Pieniny’

A breathtaking image of Poland's Ponidzie region in the south of the country. According to Wildlife Worldwide, its 'landscape and biological interest are protected in three parks, Nadnidzianski, Szaniecki and Kozubowski, and a number of nature reserves which feature meadows, peat bogs, fish ponds and relict steppe vegetation'

A breathtaking image of Poland’s Ponidzie region in the south of the country. According to Wildlife Worldwide, its ‘landscape and biological interest are protected in three parks, Nadnidzianski, Szaniecki and Kozubowski, and a number of nature reserves which feature meadows, peat bogs, fish ponds and relict steppe vegetation’

A stunning snap of the Western Tatras taken just inside Poland's border with Slovakia. To the right, over the border in Slovakia, you can see Bystra, the highest mountain in the Western Tatras at 7,375ft (2,248m). Karol said: 'The whole area in the south of Poland is occupied by mountains - these are the most beautiful places in my country'

A stunning snap of the Western Tatras taken just inside Poland’s border with Slovakia. To the right, over the border in Slovakia, you can see Bystra, the highest mountain in the Western Tatras at 7,375ft (2,248m). Karol said: ‘The whole area in the south of Poland is occupied by mountains – these are the most beautiful places in my country’

This image was snapped on the epic Giewont mountain massif in Poland's Tatra National Park - close to the town of Zakopane.  According to Summit Post, 'it is the most distinctive peak in the area and it has been referred to as the "Sleeping Knight", based on its silhouette and old legend'

This image was snapped on the epic Giewont mountain massif in Poland’s Tatra National Park – close to the town of Zakopane.  According to Summit Post, ‘it is the most distinctive peak in the area and it has been referred to as the “Sleeping Knight”, based on its silhouette and old legend’ 

A mesmerising shot of Wawel Castle in Krakow, a former residence of the kings of Poland and now an art gallery. The building, which stands on a rocky outcrop called Wawel Hill, dates back to the 14th century and usually attracts one million visitors each year

A mesmerising shot of Wawel Castle in Krakow, a former residence of the kings of Poland and now an art gallery. The building, which stands on a rocky outcrop called Wawel Hill, dates back to the 14th century and usually attracts one million visitors each year 

Karol snapped this mesmerising image at the top of Ciemniak, a 6,876ft (2,090m) peak in Tatra National Park, on a freezing morning when temperatures were a bone-chilling -20C

Karol snapped this mesmerising image at the top of Ciemniak, a 6,876ft (2,090m) peak in Tatra National Park, on a freezing morning when temperatures were a bone-chilling -20C

An incredible panoramic image of the Tatra Mountains from the slopes of Babia Gora - one of the highest peaks in Poland and the highest in the Beskid Mountains at 5,659ft (1,725m). It is on the border between Poland and Slovakia

An incredible panoramic image of the Tatra Mountains from the slopes of Babia Gora – one of the highest peaks in Poland and the highest in the Beskid Mountains at 5,659ft (1,725m). It is on the border between Poland and Slovakia 

Karol waits for the moon to rise in this incredible shot taken in the Czerwony Wierchy range of the Tatra Mountains. He said a warm sleeping bag is crucial as there can be a lot of waiting around in cold temperatures to get the right conditions for taking pictures

Karol waits for the moon to rise in this incredible shot taken in the Czerwony Wierchy range of the Tatra Mountains. He said a warm sleeping bag is crucial as there can be a lot of waiting around in cold temperatures to get the right conditions for taking pictures

A stunning image of the Gasienicowa Valley in Tatra National Park. Karol said: 'Poland has an area of over 300,000 square kilometres (120,726 square miles). There is a lot to discover here'

A stunning image of the Gasienicowa Valley in Tatra National Park. Karol said: ‘Poland has an area of over 300,000 square kilometres (120,726 square miles). There is a lot to discover here’ 

Although Karol enjoys taking images of cities, he much prefers snapping landscape shots. He explained: 'I professionally photograph mountains, so landscape is the obvious answer.' He captured this beautiful scene from the village of Lapszanka, which has a population of just 400

Although Karol enjoys taking images of cities, he much prefers snapping landscape shots. He explained: ‘I professionally photograph mountains, so landscape is the obvious answer.’ He captured this beautiful scene from the village of Lapszanka, which has a population of just 400

The beautiful St Mary's Church in Gdansk towers over the rest of the city's rooftops. According to Karol, the port city of Gdansk, on Poland's Baltic coast, is 'one of the most beautiful in Europe'

The beautiful St Mary’s Church in Gdansk towers over the rest of the city’s rooftops. According to Karol, the port city of Gdansk, on Poland’s Baltic coast, is ‘one of the most beautiful in Europe’ 

A striking aerial shot of the ruins of the 13th-century Gothic Checiny Castle in the town of Checiny, north of Krakow. The Polish Tourism Organisation says: 'Currently, the castle in Checiny is one of the most visited heritage sites in Poland'

 A striking aerial shot of the ruins of the 13th-century Gothic Checiny Castle in the town of Checiny, north of Krakow. The Polish Tourism Organisation says: ‘Currently, the castle in Checiny is one of the most visited heritage sites in Poland’ 

The grand Bolkow Castle towers over the town of Bolkow, in south-west Poland. The Gothic castle is thought to date back to the 13th century and one visitor to the castle wrote on Tripadvisor: 'It is indeed an old beauty, if you are in area it's very much worth seeing!'

The grand Bolkow Castle towers over the town of Bolkow, in south-west Poland. The Gothic castle is thought to date back to the 13th century and one visitor to the castle wrote on Tripadvisor: ‘It is indeed an old beauty, if you are in area it’s very much worth seeing!’ 

An amazing shot of Lake Pilchowickie near the town of Jelenia Gora in south-west Poland. It was created as a result of the building of the Bobr Dam in 1912. Poland Travel Tours says: 'There is a railway bridge extending over the lake – it is an especially romantic place for taking photos in the autumn'

An amazing shot of Lake Pilchowickie near the town of Jelenia Gora in south-west Poland. It was created as a result of the building of the Bobr Dam in 1912. Poland Travel Tours says: ‘There is a railway bridge extending over the lake – it is an especially romantic place for taking photos in the autumn’ 

Karol snapped this jaw-dropping image in the Bieszczady Mountains, which run through the extreme south-east of Poland and into north-east Slovakia and are part of the wider Carpathian Mountains. It is a place that Karol often visits

Karol snapped this jaw-dropping image in the Bieszczady Mountains, which run through the extreme south-east of Poland and into north-east Slovakia and are part of the wider Carpathian Mountains. It is a place that Karol often visits 

A beautiful shot of Pieskowa Skala Castle, which is around 17 miles north of Krakow in Ojcowski National Park. Lonely Planet says: 'If you can only do one thing in Ojcow National Park, visit this 14th-century castle, one of the best-preserved castles in the upland'

A beautiful shot of Pieskowa Skala Castle, which is around 17 miles north of Krakow in Ojcowski National Park. Lonely Planet says: ‘If you can only do one thing in Ojcow National Park, visit this 14th-century castle, one of the best-preserved castles in the upland’ 

A breathtaking shot of the Bialka River, a mountain river that runs for 24 miles (40km) through southern Poland from its source in the High Tatra mountains

A breathtaking shot of the Bialka River, a mountain river that runs for 24 miles (40km) through southern Poland from its source in the High Tatra mountains

The Airbnb in the Californian desert that’s shaped just like a flying saucer 

For a holiday that’s out of this world book a stay at the Airbnb in the Californian desert that’s shaped like a flying saucer

  • The pod home is located near Joshua Tree and is the only ‘Futuro House’ in America you can stay the night in 
  • It used to be stationed at the Playboy Club Hotel in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, and has also been a realty office
  • The Airbnb listing for the pod, which is called Area 55, describes it as  an ‘off-grid glamping experience’ 

Advertisement

Area 51 is off-limits, but you can visit the next best thing – Area 55, an Airbnb in the Californian desert that’s shaped just like a flying saucer.

The UFO aesthetics of the pod home, located near Joshua Tree, are enhanced further by huge oval windows, a drop-down stairway and four ‘landing legs’ – a bona fide out-of-this-world rental and the only ‘Futuro House’ in America you can stay the night in.

Futuro Houses were the brainchild of Finnish architect Matti Suuronen, who came up with the design in 1968. He intended them to be used as portable ski chalets.

Area 55, an Airbnb in the Californian desert that’s shaped just like a flying saucer.  It is the only ‘Futuro House’ in America you can stay the night in

They had 520 sq ft of inside space and boasted a kitchen, a bathroom and a fireplace, while the front door took the form of an electric hatch.

According to thefuturohouse.com, the 16 parts that made up the house could be assembled on-site or the fully-formed structure could be transported by helicopter – making them look uncannily like spaceships.

However, less than 100 of these houses were ever built as the 1973 oil crisis caused the price of the materials used to build them to soar.

Today, it is believed that around 68 of them still exist around the world, including one that is a home in Houston, Delaware, several in Australia – including one at Canberra University – and one in Bloemfontein, South Africa.

The pod's Airbnb listing describes it as an 'off-grid glamping experience' and explains: 'The idea is to disconnect, kick back on the queen-size daybed and enjoy, but still have those perks of having some connected amenities when needed'

The pod’s Airbnb listing describes it as an ‘off-grid glamping experience’ and explains: ‘The idea is to disconnect, kick back on the queen-size daybed and enjoy, but still have those perks of having some connected amenities when needed’

Area 55, built in 1968, is believed to be one of 19 Futuro Houses still in the United States. Its first home was the Playboy Club Hotel in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

Area 55, built in 1968, is believed to be one of 19 Futuro Houses still in the United States. Its first home was the Playboy Club Hotel in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

Outside, the Airbnb has an outdoor shower and an outdoor kitchen area, pictured, with a propane grill where you can 'make your favourite food and eat by the fire pit under the stars'

Outside, the Airbnb has an outdoor shower and an outdoor kitchen area, pictured, with a propane grill where you can ‘make your favourite food and eat by the fire pit under the stars’

Close encounters with Area 55 start from $299 (£216) per night

Close encounters with Area 55 start from $299 (£216) per night

Area 55, built in 1968, is believed to be one of 19 Futuro Houses in the United States. 

Its first home was one of Hugh Hefner’s favourite spots, the Playboy Club Hotel in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, now the Grand Geneva Resort, reports Thrillist.

After that, its history is unclear, but it is thought to have also been a beauty salon and a realty office before being snapped up by Ronald Jackson, who opened it as an Airbnb in California in 2019.

Its listing describes it as an ‘off-grid glamping experience’ and explains: ‘The idea is to disconnect, kick back on the queen-size daybed and enjoy, but still have those perks of having some connected amenities when needed.’

These perks include solar power to keep electronic devices charged, an in-house Bluetooth sound system and a coffee maker.

The property also has quirky furniture, board games and space-themed comics and VHS movies, such as Alien and Star Wars.

In addition, there’s fresh water for outdoor showers and an outdoor kitchen area with a propane grill where you can ‘make your favourite food and eat by the fire pit under the stars’.

Close encounters with Area 55 start from $299 (£216) per night.

Advertisement

Linen-supplier to five-star hotels Tielle Love Luxury launches plush bathrobe for DOGS

Linen-supplier to five-star hotels launches plush bathrobe for DOGS – to give pooches the bow-wow factor

  • The robes are by  Tielle Love Luxury, which supplies linen to the Savoy hotel
  • The robes are, it says, ‘super soft, fluffy and irresistibly cute’ 
  • There is an option to customise each robe with bespoke embroidery 

Dog owners can now dry their pooches off in five-star-hotel style – thanks to a plush bathrobe launched by a company that supplies linen to some of the world’s poshest hotels.

Tielle Love Luxury, which supplies thousands of five-star hotels with their linen – including London’s Savoy, Connaught, Dorchester and Rosewood – says that the robes will give pooches the bow-wow factor.

And be welcomed with open paws.

Dog owners can now dry their pooches off in five-star-hotel style, thanks to Tielle Love Luxury’s doggy bathrobes, pictured

The robes have a smart black checked trim and come in a variety of sizes

The robes have a smart black checked trim and come in a variety of sizes

The robes are, it says, ‘super soft, fluffy and irresistibly cute’ and available in white ‘with a smart black checked trim and in a range of sizes’.

Each one comes with a hood and a Velcro tie waist.

There is also an option to add a personal touch to each robe with bespoke embroidery.

Catherine Morris, Managing Director of Tielle Love Luxury, said: ‘There is nothing better after a long soak in the bath than wrapping up in a soft and snug dressing gown.

‘Now you can wrap your pup up after bath time too with the plush robe from Tielle Love Luxury, so they can relax and dry out in their own time before venturing out for a playdate.’

The dog robes are available at Tielleloveluxury.co.uk, with prices ranging from £15 to £22. The robes are available to guests upon request at London hotel Nobu Hotel London Portman Square (pictured)

The dog robes are available at Tielleloveluxury.co.uk, with prices ranging from £15 to £22. The robes are available to guests upon request at London hotel Nobu Hotel London Portman Square (pictured)

This week a pooch-pampering option was also unveiled by Hilton in the form of a dog menu.

‘Bone Appétit’, it said, is ‘a mouth-watering new dog menu to provide the nation with an easy way to show their canine pals they care’.

The bespoke menu will be available to guests and their beloved pets across 32 of Hilton’s pet-friendly hotels in the UK and Ireland from May 17.

The dog robes are available at Tielleloveluxury.co.uk, with prices ranging from £15 to £22. The robes are available to guests upon request at London hotel Nobu Hotel London Portman Square.  

Advertisement

British drivers name their favourite UK routes – and it’s Loch Lomond to Glencoe that’s No1,

British drivers name their favourite UK routes – and it’s Loch Lomond to Glencoe that’s No1, followed by Kendal to Keswick and Cheddar Gorge

  • Just missing out on a podium place was Hardknott Pass in the Lake District, which came fourth
  • The breathtaking Black Mountain Road in the Brecon Beacons National Park also made the ranking
  • The A537 road between Buxton and Macclesfield also made the list, as did driving through the New Forest

Advertisement

British car owners are spoiled for choice for scenic summer staycation drives, but there is one route that’s more beautiful than them all, according to a poll – the A82 from Loch Lomond to Glencoe.

In a survey conducted to discover the most awe-inspiring routes to experience by car in the UK, it garnered 24 per cent of the vote, ahead of the A591 from Kendal to Keswick in the Lake District (23 per cent) and Cheddar Gorge in Somerset, which came third (21 per cent).

Just missing out on a podium place was Hardknott Pass in the Lake District (fourth, 20 per cent), with Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coastal Route, known for its dramatic scenery and featuring in Game of Thrones, and Snake Pass in the Pennines coming joint fifth (17 per cent).

British car owners are spoiled for choice for scenic summer staycation drives, but there is one route that’s more beautiful than them all, according to a poll – the A82 from Loch Lomond to Glencoe (pictured). This incredible image was taken by Instagrammer ‘munroart

The A591 from Kendal to Keswick in the Lake District was declared Britain's second-most beautiful route. Instagrammer k.mountford8 took this eye-catching image of it

The A591 from Kendal to Keswick in the Lake District was declared Britain’s second-most beautiful route. Instagrammer k.mountford8 took this eye-catching image of it

Other UK-based routes that made the list, drawn up from a study by the Motor Fuel Group (MFG), include the Black Mountain Road in the Brecon Beacons National Park (sixth, 16 per cent), the roads running through the New Forest (joint seventh, 15 per cent) and Llanberis Pass in Wales (joint seventh, 15 per cent).

The study also revealed that almost half the nation (47 per cent) say it’s high time they explore more of what Britain has to offer – with four in 10 Brits (42 per cent) saying they are planning to take a UK road trip this summer.

BRITONS’ FAVOURITE SCENIC UK ROADS 

1. Loch Lomond to Glencoe – 24%

2. Kendal to Keswick, Lake District – 23%

3. Cheddar Gorge, Somerset – 21%

4. Hardknott Pass, Lake District – 20%

5= The Causeway Coastal Route, Northern Ireland – 17%

5= Snake Pass in the Pennines  -17%

6. Black Mountain Road, Brecon Beacons National Park – 16%

7= A New Forest journey – 15%  

7= Loch Lomond to Lochgilphead – 15%

7= Llanberis Pass, Wales – 15%

8= The Atlantic Highway (Barnstaple to Newquay) – 14%

8= The Road to the Isles (Fort William to Mallaig) – 14%

9. Buttertubs Pass, Yorkshire Dales – 12%

10= The Cat and Fiddle (Buxton to Macclesfield), the Peak District – 10%

10= Ribblehead Viaduct, North Yorkshire – 10%

Source: Motor Fuel Group survey 

 

 

 

Cheddar Gorge came third in the scenic road poll. This image of it was taken by nathan_jermy

Black Mountain Road in the Brecon Beacons National Park came sixth. This image of it was taken by Instagrammer jreesoutdoors

Cheddar Gorge came third in the scenic road poll. The image of it on the left was taken by nathan_jermy. Black Mountain Road in the Brecon Beacons National Park came sixth. The image of it on the right was taken by jreesoutdoors

Hardknott Pass in the Lake District came fourth in the poll. It's pictured here in the foreground, with Wrynose Pass snaking off up the valley beyond

Hardknott Pass in the Lake District came fourth in the poll. It’s pictured here in the foreground, with Wrynose Pass snaking off up the valley beyond

A third of the motorists polled said they often worry about the environmental effect of their car emissions.

In fact, four in 10 (40 per cent) motorists said they are considering switching to an electric car (EV) to protect the natural world, with one in five (20 per cent) saying they will do so within the next two years and six per cent even claiming they will do so by the end of this year.

Sixty-one per cent said they would make the switch to an EV to reduce their carbon footprint, 36 per cent would like an EV because they are cheaper to run, and 30 per cent said they want to be forward-thinking in their vehicle choice.

Other top reasons given for considering an EV purchase include the fact that they are quieter on the roads (26 per cent), cheaper to maintain (25 per cent) and 14 per cent of Brits are doing it because they want their children to be proud of them for trying to make an environmental difference.

The A537 road between Buxton and Macclesfield came joint tenth in the poll. This picture of it was taken by Instagrammer ben.graham88

The A537 road between Buxton and Macclesfield came joint tenth in the poll. This picture of it was taken by Instagrammer ben.graham88

However, 43 per cent of Britons polled said they would be worried about running out of battery power on a drive, with 39 per cent raising concerns that there aren’t enough charging points.

According to the data, drivers aged 17 to 29 are the most likely age group to buy an electric vehicle (47 per cent), compared to just 28 per cent of motorists 60 and over. The poll revealed that men are far more open to considering an EV purchase than women.

William Bannister, CEO at MFG, said: ‘This poll shows that, as the country unlocks from a difficult year of restrictions, we are going to see a resurgence in the popularity of road trips and we are investing £400million ahead of the curve in super-fast 150kW charging points across our UK network, building driver’s confidence in electricity as a cleaner fuel source.’

Llanberis Pass in Wales (joint seventh) is captured here in a stunning image by Instagrammer 'e.linhikes'

Llanberis Pass in Wales (joint seventh) is captured here in a stunning image by Instagrammer ‘e.linhikes’

Advertisement

Two of London’s biggest and smallest hotel rooms go head to head

Sixty or so pounds doesn’t buy you much hotel-room square footage in central London – barely enough room to open a suitcase, it turns out.

However, spend an extra £19,940 and you can spend the night in your very own wing, with seven bedrooms, a library – and your own postcode.

This is what travel experts from The Points Guy UK (TPG UK) reveal in a fascinating new video that takes viewers behind the keyholes of one of London’s biggest hotel rooms – and one of its smallest.

TPG UK head Nicky Kelvin spent the night in the uber-swanky £20,000-a-stay Manor House Wing at the opulent Rosewood hotel

After changing into a dress shirt and shoes, Nicky repairs to the lounge and sips cocktails prepared by a personal barman

After changing into a dress shirt and shoes, Nicky repairs to the lounge and sips cocktails prepared by a personal barman

Jean Arnas checked into a £50-a-night double at the Z Holborn. So small the head and foot of the bed is flush to the wall

Jean Arnas checked into a £50-a-night double at the Z Holborn. So small the head and foot of the bed is flush to the wall

TPG UK head Nicky Kelvin spent the night in the uber-swanky £20,000-a-stay Manor House Wing at the opulent Rosewood hotel, while the site’s Jean Arnas checked into a £50-a-night double at the Z Holborn.

Nicky had a better deal. Just.

The Manor House Wing is spread out over an incredible 6,000 square feet (557 square metres) and Nicky remarks on his segment as he explores that he’s getting hot walking from one end of it to the other.

He throws himself on the beds, climbs inside the humungous marble bathtub, marvels at the never-ending storage and sets plates out on the dinner table for eight.

After changing into a dress shirt and shoes, he repairs to the lounge and sips cocktails prepared by a personal barman while being serenaded by his personal keyboard player.

Meanwhile, Jean is experiencing ‘a slice of affordable luxury’, as Z Hotels describes it.

‘A very very thin slice’ might be more accurate.

'I dare anyone to have a bad night's sleep anywhere in the Rosewood [pictured],' said Nicky

‘I dare anyone to have a bad night’s sleep anywhere in the Rosewood [pictured],’ said Nicky

The Manor House Wing has a library and a dining table that can seat eight, as Nicky shows here

The Manor House Wing has a library and a dining table that can seat eight, as Nicky shows here

The Manor House Wing is spread out over an incredible 6,000 square feet (557 square metres)

The Manor House Wing is spread out over an incredible 6,000 square feet (557 square metres)

Nicky declared the Manor House Wing good enough to keep the fussiest of billionaires happy

Nicky declared the Manor House Wing good enough to keep the fussiest of billionaires happy

Nicky remarks on his segment as he explores the Manor House Wing that he's getting hot walking from one end to the other

Nicky remarks on his segment as he explores the Manor House Wing that he’s getting hot walking from one end to the other

The room measures just under 100 square feet – that’s 70 times smaller than the Manor House Wing. So diminutive that the head and foot of the bed lie flush to the wall.

‘There was a severe lack of storage,’ Jean told MailOnline Travel. ‘If you have a large suitcase, you may even struggle to find a spot to fully open it.’

Did he get a good night’s sleep?

‘Yes, the bed was comfy and the size of the room not visible with eyes shut!’ said Jean.

He added: ‘There was a good finish to the room. It was clean and well-appointed and incredibly reasonably priced.’

And Nicky’s verdict? He declared the Manor House Wing good enough to keep the fussiest of billionaires happy.

He said: ‘The quality and attention to detail in every corner of the room was astounding. Even the most critical of billionaires would be left satisfied.

Jean squeezes into his Z Holborn ensuite, which offers just enough room for turning around

Jean squeezes into his Z Holborn ensuite, which offers just enough room for turning around

'There was a severe lack of storage,' Jean told MailOnline Travel. 'If you have a large suitcase, you may even struggle to find a spot to fully open it'

‘There was a severe lack of storage,’ Jean told MailOnline Travel. ‘If you have a large suitcase, you may even struggle to find a spot to fully open it’

Did Jean get a good night's sleep? 'The bed was comfy and the size of the room not visible with eyes shut!' he said

Did Jean get a good night’s sleep? ‘The bed was comfy and the size of the room not visible with eyes shut!’ he said

‘There was a surprise and delight at every turn. Toys in the kids’ room, sweets and treats everywhere you looked. The giant separate dining room fully stocked with cutlery and crockery was very novel.’

He explained that the Manor Wing could be ‘flexed up and down to go from the one-bedroom Manor House Suite to the entire seven-bedroom wing’.

‘You can select the right size to suit your entourage,’ he said. ‘Also, by affording the space a private entrance, butler and own postcode, the Rosewood has given the Manor House Wing an ingenious grandeur and gravitas that would be hard to match elsewhere.’

He added: ‘Don’t take it from me. Drake is known to stay at the Rosewood – in fact, a portrait of him hangs in the library of the Manor Suite – and in the song “Life is Good”, he raps “Manor house in Rosewood, this s**t too plush”.’

And did Nicky get a good night’s sleep?

‘Yes. I dare anyone to have a bad night’s sleep anywhere in the Rosewood.’

To view the full Rosewood vs Z Hotel video click here. For more information on travel tips and tricks, sign up to The Points Guy UK.