INSPIRATION • August 2021
With the traffic lights glowing green for many of the world’s most captivating destinations, The Club’s favourite travel devotees share their pet pursuits in each location
Says who: Madévi Dailly, travel writer and frequent flier
There’s much to love about Gibraltar’s high street – not least of which is the opportunity to shop VAT-free and in sterling currency. Bargain hunt on Main Street, a charming car-free stretch packed with beloved British brands, antiques shops and cosy cafés to refuel in. Start at Grand Casemates Square, where the old fortress walls now house boutiques and watering holes. It’s worth having a poke around the side streets, too, where there’s treasure to be found in old curiosity shops.
Where to stay: Blessed with classic good looks, the largest outdoor pool in town and views over The Alameda Botanic Gardens, the historic Rock Hotel has been around since 1932. Or try the more contemporary O’Callaghan Eliott Hotel (pictured) with sea-inspired décor and breathtaking views of the Strait of Gibraltar.
Says who: Ed Grenby, creative director at Family Traveller magazine
Iceland has more museums per head than any other country (the northern village of Flateyri alone has six – and only 267 citizens), so it’s no surprise that some of them are a little obscure. Swerve those devoted to stuffed aquatic birds, the herring industry and, um, some stones, but earn your companions’ undying appreciation with trips to the museums of Arcade Games, Sea Monsters, Ghosts, Elves & Trolls and the surprisingly beautiful Library of Water (pictured).
What to bring back home: If you truly want to immerse yourself in the authentic Old Norse traditions, dress up in knock-off chain mail and faux fur, grab a replica axe from the rack, pull your fiercest face – and bag yourself a souvenir ‘Viking portrait’ from Mink, run by a photographer who worked on Game of Thrones when it was shot in Iceland. Nice big scowl for the camera now!
Photo credit: Bragi Þór Jósefsson
Says who: Janet Dobson, Executive Club Member and Bermuda regular
In Bermuda, you have to get out on the water. I’d recommend a trip to see the amazing coral reefs in a glass-bottomed boat. We booked this with Reef Explorer and, though the sunken ships, colourful coral and plentiful fish made it fantastic, the very best part was the commentary from Captain Mike. You can find his boat at the quay in Hamilton easily enough. Personally, I just love riding the ferries, especially the St George ferry (only running in the summer months), which gives a lovely perspective of the island.
Getting around: You cannot hire a car in Bermuda, but the bus and ferry services are excellent. The Number 7 bus ride is absolutely stunning. It takes you from the main bus station in Hamilton to the Dockyard via the island’s South Shore (often voted one of the world’s best beaches). If you sit on the left-hand side, you have the most magnificent views of the ocean.
Says who: Ally Wybrew, editor of High Life online and Executive Club Member
Cross Malta’s coordinates with its illustrious history and you get a gastronomic experience like no other, something recognised by its inauguration into the Michelin family last year. The buzzy food scene is proudly local, with dishes influenced by Sicilian, North African, British and French flavours. And, as English is a dual national language, ordering is a breeze. Take a tour of the islands’ five Michelin-starred restaurants, including Valletta’s Noni (pictured – the place to try rabbit, Malta’s national dish) and Under Grain, and De Mondion in Mdina (whose snail ragout is a must).
The perfect picnic: Hop on a ferry to the less populated Gozo, pick an outdoor dining spot (try the cliff-edge Ras il-Wardija Bronze Age temple in St Lawrenz) and tuck into a hamper provided by Gozo Picnic. This family-run company lays out luxurious spreads and picks them up afterwards, so you don’t have to worry about a thing.
Says who: Katie Gatens, digital editor, The Times
It would be rude to decline a tipple of the Madeiran fortified wine that the island is famous for, and you can visit the terraces of vines snaking across steep mountainsides on a vineyard tour with Blandy’s. Afterwards, stop into Blandy’s Wine Lodge in Funchal for a free tasting where you can take a bottle home. For something more modern, Barbusano in the northern village of São Vicente has been making table wine for just 25 years. You can pop into its glass-fronted warehouse for a six-wine tasting. See those roadside taverns? They’re serving zesty poncha, a drink made from sugar cane juice, honey and orange and a must-try on the island.
The best bar: Funchal is reinventing itself as one of the coolest city centres in Europe. Reserve a bar seat at restaurant-of-the-moment Kampo and you can watch chef Júlio Pereira plating up dishes of oxtail and truffle mousse, and white chocolate, olive and passionfruit dessert.
Says who? Rob Crossan, travel writer
With a beach for every day of the year (there really are 365), plus tumbledown windmills, swaying fig trees and bijou villages, Antigua doesn’t boast much about its charms – which is exactly how visitors and locals seem to like it. Perched on a platform overlooking the sea, Sheer Rocks is a lunch spot par excellence, with oven-baked mahi-mahi and pan-fried red snapper rendering a siesta on one of their daybeds afterwards all but essential. Come evening, promenade along Dickenson Bay where bars such as Coconut Grove and Ana’s On The Beach offer up potent cocktails and a suitably soporific vibe under the stars.
Spot of history: Stroll around Nelson’s Dockyard, believed to be the only Georgian-era dockyard left on earth, with the ruins of 18th-century Fort Berkeley perched above. It’s a 15-minute climb, but you’ll be away from the crowds.