Tripologist: from pubs to poets to a peep in a Mousehole

My wife, adult daughter and I will be travelling in a rented motorhome for two weeks in Britain from May 30. From London we wish to go straight to the Lake District, then down the west coast through Wales, back into England through the Cotswolds, the south coast and finally back to London. Can you suggest an itinerary that takes in the best of each area. Should we book campsites in advance or wing it, keeping in mind the Queen's Jubilee is the first week of June? A. Kling, Newport.

There are so many things to do in the region you plan to visit that your itinerary will really depend on where your interests lie.

Do you want to focus on stately homes or country pubs? Gardens, famous poets, historic battlefields or country walks?

There are some wonderful guidebooks around that can help you decide and an hour spent in your local bookshop would most likely pay rich rewards.

You can also find plenty of material on the internet and the Visit Britain ( website is a great place to start.

As well as the areas you mention, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwick Castle, Blenheim Palace, Oxford, Bath, Portmeirion, Snowdonia National Park, Glastonbury Abbey, Wells, the village of Mousehole and the sea-girt islet of St Michael's Mount in Cornwall are probably some of the points you would want to include in your journey.

The Queen's Diamond Jubilee will be celebrated on June 5, a Tuesday, and you can expect a lot of people will make it a four-day weekend. Apart from this period, you could probably book campsites as you go.

Find a base in Cinque Terre

My husband, myself and another couple are spending three weeks in Italy, one of which will be spent at Cinque Terre. Should we stay in the one place there and walk or take trains between the towns or should we think of spending a few days in one town, some in another? We will be there in the middle of September. Do we need to book our accommodation in advance and where would you recommend we stay? We are trying to be conscious of budget. J. Wiedenbein, Lane Cove.

Stay in one place. If you're booked in for a week you might be able to get a slightly reduced rate and it's far more convenient. You definitely need to book in advance.


You'll find plenty of small hotels and guesthouses in villages such as Monterosso and Vernazza, although there are no bargains. In Riomaggiore, at the southern end of the Cinque Terre, Alla Marina ( is a B&B that gets good reports from travellers. In Monterosso, Hotel Pasquale ( is a small, family-operated hotel and another good choice. La Torretta ( in Manarola is delightful but this is not an inexpensive option.

Monterosso is the most northerly of the Cinque Terre villages and is the largest and most accessible. It has a better choice of cafes and restaurants and the only beach worthy of the name between here and Riomaggiore.

From Monterosso it's about a 90-minute hike to Vernazza, where the Cinque Terre reaches its Kodak moment. You may be able to get a boat between towns and there's always the train.

Be prepared for an icy reception in Canada

I am having difficulty finding active-style tours of western Canada that run outside the peak summer season (May-September). Do you know of any companies that offer such tours, between February and April preferably? E. Perrins, Eastwood.

From February to April, western Canada is all about snow sports, with skiing and snowboarding commanding the greatest attention, but there are still a few options outside the region's ski resorts. Adventure World ( offers a choice of multi-day dog-sledding adventures, snowmobile tours and coach trips from Calgary through the Rocky Mountains towns of Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper. You could also combine this with a rail trip between Vancouver and Jasper, which is a spectacular journey. There's also an Aurora Borealis tour that takes place in northern Alberta and a six-day multi-sport trip to Sun Peaks near Kamloops, British Columbia, with snowmobiling, dog-sledding and snowshoeing on the itinerary.

Just the voyage to fill in time

I'm off to South America and Antarctica in November-December this year. I'm joining a tour that takes me from Buenos Aires to Rio de Janeiro, I then have eight days spare until I join my Antarctic tour in Ushuaia. I'm keen to see Patagonia — particularly the glaciers, Torres del Paine and Tierra del Fuego. What are my best options? I'm fairly adventurous but my Spanish is non-existent and I'm on my own. T. Webber, Richardson, ACT.

Cruceros Australis ( operates small-ship cruises around Tierra del Fuego that either begin or end in Ushuaia. Rates for the coming season start at $US944 ($890) a person in a two-berth cabin and a single cabin is from $US1696. The voyage gives you plenty of time ashore to approach glaciers and walk through spongy forests.

Weather permitting, on the longer trips you get to land at Cape Horn. Their cruises are only three to four nights, which means you might end up in either Punta Arenas or Ushuaia.

If it happens to be Punta Arenas, you could squeeze in a trip to Torres del Paine National Park ( Alone is no problem but a few words of Spanish will help. If you have a smartphone or tablet, try Michel Thomas's ( Spanish language course.


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