A hiker in Finland – the world's happiest country

Ranked: happiest countries in the world 2024

Finland is the happiest country in the world for the seventh consecutive year. We take a look at the latest World Happiness Report

Happiness is a nebulous thing; hard to grasp and harder to hold onto. Scientists, economists and philosophers have defined it through the ages as a combination of different things, among them health, wealth, companionship and security.

The sun sets over the sea on a section of the English coast. A trail sign is seen in the foreground.

Britain’s best long-distance footpaths: 12 epic treks

Britain’s best long-distance footpaths provide excellent access to the outdoors while showcasing the finest scenery our isles have to offer

When you think of the best long-distance hiking trails from around the world, little old Britain probably wouldn’t top of your list. Hikers will more likely be drawn to the Triple Crown of the Appalachian, Continental Divide and Pacific Crest trails in the US, New Zealand’s Great Walks or the famous Annapurna Circuit and Everest Base Camp treks in Nepal.

how to choose hiking boots

How to choose hiking boots: a beginner’s guide

Our guide on how to choose hiking boots will ensure you enjoy every step of the trail. Here’s how to pick the perfect pair

Footwear is a hiker’s most critical piece of gear. Inappropriate or poorly fitted boots or shoes can spoil a day on the trail and have you wincing with every step. But with a dizzying array of choices, from lightweight trail running shoes to double-layered plastic mountaineering boots and everything in between, knowing where to start can be bewildering.

cleanest air in the world iceland

Which country has the cleanest air in the world?

The countries with the cleanest air in the world have been ranked in a new report. We take a look at the results

The Pacific Island nation of French Polynesia has the world’s cleanest air, according to the latest World Air Quality Report from IQAir. The report ranks 134 countries and territories by the level of fine particulate matter present in the air.

Wheal Coates at sunset – one of the best views in Cornwall

Best views in Cornwall: 12 Instagrammable spots

From the birthplace of King Arthur to the westernmost point of mainland England, these are the best views in Cornwall

It’s easy to see why Cornwall is one of the UK’s most popular holiday destinations. This historic county has over 300 miles of jaw-dropping coastline with rugged cliffs and golden beaches, quaint fishing villages and bustling ports, while inland it boasts ancient forests and dramatic moors.

Hadrian's Wall Path and the best hikes in Northumberland National Park lead image

12 best hikes in Northumberland National Park

The best hikes in Northumberland National Park reveal an underappreciated but utterly delightful expanse of English countryside

Amid the ancient rolling hills between the Scottish border and England’s industrial northeast, you will find Northumberland National Park. England’s most northerly national park is also the least visited in Britain and the least populated in England and Wales with just over 2,000 residents.

How to pass the PADI Open Water Diver course

A step-by-step guide on how to pass the PADI Open Water Diver course

In theory, an expert diver should be writing this post. Logically, he or she could tell you what to expect, give you insider tips and prepare you for the challenge ahead. That said, I have one distinct advantage over the experts: I know exactly how hard it is for nervous first-timers.

the best esim for travel in mexico will allow you to post pictures of suyun cenote

Best things to do in Yucatán State: a 4-day itinerary

From mystical Maya ruins to sun-soaked cenotes, our 4-day itinerary covers the best things to do in Yucatán State

We began our month-long trip through Central America in the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. It was my first visit to this part of the world and I was keen to visit the ancient Maya ruins of Chichén Itzá – my seventh world wonder – and to explore the region’s famed cenotes (freshwater sinkholes).

15 best hiking apps to download in 2024

We share the best hiking apps to download this year, from navigation and route planning to first aid and stargazing

Occasionally, when Kia and I are driving somewhere remote – the Kalahari in Namibia, say, or the Australian Outback – she will marvel at the fact that travellers used to do this with only paper maps. Unlike me, Kia grew up in inner city London and had little opportunity to venture into the outdoors. As such, she never learnt how to use a compass and map or how to build a campfire, or any number of the skills a frequent hiker should have.

A scene from Antarctica

32 best books about Antarctica: updated for 2024

From harrowing accounts of survival to a heartwarming tale of a rescued penguin, we list our favourite books about Antarctica

The most inhospitable place on Earth is an engrossing setting for any story, be it fictional or factual. Unsurprisingly, Antarctica’s literary canon is filled with tales of tragedy and/or survival against the odds. It would be easy, then, to fill this list with biographies of Amundsen, Scott and Shackleton alone. But Antarctica deserves attention beyond its tales of tragedy.

A vibrant sunset over staple tor in Dartmoor National Park

10 best hikes in Dartmoor National Park

The best hikes in Dartmoor National Park showcase the very finest of England’s wildest landscape

I’ve always been fond of Dartmoor. I first visited as a child on a family holiday and I’ve returned regularly ever since to scope out the best Dartmoor hikes. Famous for its wild ponies, open moorland and craggy granite tors (free-standing rocky outcrops that rise abruptly from the surroundings), it is one of the few genuinely wild places left in England.

Sentinelis lined up on the shore of North Sentinel Island, ready to fight off visitors

North Sentinel Island: a timeline of the world’s most isolated tribe

North Sentinel Island is unlike any other place on Earth. Home to a fiercely independent tribe, it is both ferociously dangerous and worryingly fragile

On a map, North Sentinel Island looks like any other idyllic spot in the Indian Ocean. Fringed with beaches and crystal cobalt waters, it lies in the Andaman archipelago of the Bay of Bengal.

Borobudur in Indonesia, the most multilingual country

95 most inspirational travel quotes ever penned

Our favourite inspirational travel quotes have encouraged us to travel with abandon over the years. Perhaps they will do the same for you…

For us, there is no such thing as luxury travel; travel is, by default, a luxury. It is a privilege provided by the country of our birth, a privilege that many are not as fortunate to enjoy.

Sometimes, we have to pinch ourselves at just how ridiculous our lives have become: an ex-teacher and jobbing writer travelling the world for a living. It is absurd, it is astonishing, it is luxury.

Jaipur Cycle Tour: testing my mettle in the frantic Pink City

The Jaipur Cycle Tour is not for the fainthearted – but is it worth the panic? Kia finds out

The legend of Jaipur is that it’s India’s first planned city. Historians will tell you that its founder – scholarly prince Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II – was passionate about astronomy, mathematics and science, that he studied European cities and collected maps from all over the world.

Horsetail Falls illuminated by the setting sun

The most stunning natural phenomena on Earth

From the famous northern lights to the lesser-known sea of stars, we share the world’s most stunning natural phenomena

It’s firefall time. Every year, beginning around late February, the setting sun hits Yosemite’s Horsetail Fall at just the right angle to light the cascade in blazing orange and red hues, giving the appearance of flowing fire or lava. To celebrate the spectacle, we’re exploring the world’s most stunning natural phenomena.

Ella Rock how to hike it yourself lead image and view from top

Ella Rock: how to hike it yourself unguided (updated for 2024)

A guide to hiking Ella Rock by yourself, including detailed directions, a downloadable route map, a video and the latest essential tips

Ella in Sri Lanka is beautiful, they said. ‘The closest thing to an English country village’ and the perfect place to slow down, we’d read.

The Taj Mahal reflected during our Essential India tour

Essential India: the highs and lows of our two-week tour

From the rush and thrill of New Delhi to the pyres of Varanasi, we share the highs and lows of our Essential India tour

“India is not a holiday; it’s an experience,” says our guide in what sounds like a promise but might also be a warning. India, she’s trying to say, is unpredictable – not easily tamed and packaged for the average tourist. 

The UN world food programme helps the world's poorest countries

Poorest countries in the world 2024 – ranked

African nations continue to dominate the ranking of the poorest countries in the world based on the latest data from the World Bank

We all have preconceptions about places. Take Ethiopia, for example. As children of the eighties, Kia and I were only too aware of the struggles Ethiopia has faced historically: political unrest, civil war and, of course, famine.

It was easy then to imagine a vast desolate dust bowl ahead of our visit in 2017. 

Siberian tiger in Russia – one of the countries where you can see tigers in the wild

Countries where you can see tigers in the wild

From the Russian taiga to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, we profile the places and countries where you can see tigers in the wild

A century ago, as many as 100,000 wild tigers stalked the planet but by the dawn of the 21st century, that figure had plummeted by around 95% largely due to habitat loss and poaching. Current numbers are hard to confirm – tigers are masters of camouflage after all – but estimates by the Global Tiger Forum put the global population at approximately 5,574 in 2023.