Real-life hobbit houses that you can actually stay in

One of our favourite real-life hobbit housesNature.house

As travellers turn to nature in a post-pandemic world, we share 10 real-life hobbit houses that offer the perfect retreat

It’s said that humans are one of the most adaptable species on the planet. We have settled the High Arctic and explored the deep sea, making homes in the unlikeliest places. When circumstances change drastically, as they did in 2020, we are able to adapt rapidly to a new way of living. In fact, our collective slowdown last year was so profound, we saw immediate effects on the natural world

National parks in Wales: which one is right for you?

Llyn Fan y Fach is a 20,000 year-old glacial lakeAndreac77/Shutterstock

When it comes to Britain’s breathing spaces, the national parks in Wales compete with the best of them. Here, we explain why

Surrounded by sea on three sides, Wales is a dream destination for outdoor enthusiasts. While not as rugged as Scotland, or romantically perceived like Ireland, deepest Wales is just as beguiling. 

Lonely corners abound on dramatic mountain passes, deep river valleys and weather-lashed cliffs. Scattered seamlessly across the natural landscape are Iron Age hill forts, Roman ruins and over 600 castles – more per capita, it’s said, than any other country in the world. 

20 (typically modest) natural wonders in the UK

Natural arch of Durdle Door. natural wonders in the ukDreamstime

The best natural wonders in the UK may not equal those in the US, Canada or Australia, but the sometimes quirky, always striking sights are still worth seeing

When the ArcelorMittal Orbit was foisted on the London skyline in 2012, it split opinion rather starkly. I, for my sins, thought it was quirky and interesting while Peter thought it a blight on the landscape.

Why I’ve given up eating fish (again)

Rudmer Zwerver/Shutterstock

At the age of 13, Kia turned vegetarian but 15 years later, she started eating fish again. Here she reflects on why that decision was wrong

There is an inherent hypocrisy in what I do for a living. On one hand, I write about the state of the planet, call for tourism caps and grapple with extinction tourism, but on the other, I continue to fly when I know that it’s the worst way to travel in terms of carbon emissions. 

Britain’s best long-distance footpaths

Britain’s best long-distance footpaths england coast pathDreamstime

Britain’s best long-distance footpaths provide excellent access to the UK’s 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.

Adventure travel books 2021: our top 10 picks

We share the best adventure travel books 2021 and explain why each should be on your reading list

From a cross-country road trip in a hostile America to boundless sand dunes in remote China, our crop of adventure travel books 2021 have one thing in common: their journeys are more than just physical. 

Atlas & Boots’ top 10 posts of 2020

Mam Tor in the Peak DistrictDaniel_Kay/Shutterstock

As a difficult year draws to a close, we reflect on the top 10 posts that our readers most enjoyed

Well, what can we say about 2020 that hasn’t been said already? As a writer, I feel that I should be able to say something grand and stirring about the global pandemic, but to be honest, I can’t. I don’t know how to aptly describe the hopelessness and inertia that so many of us have experienced this year.

Unknown treks in Asia: 10 offbeat trails

From remote corners of Bhutan to the lofty heights of Nepal, we profile some of the best unknown treks in Asia

When it comes to exploration, ‘too late for the seas, too soon for the stars’ may best describe our current times. Legendary explorers like Drake and Magellan charted the seas long ago while Scott, Shackleton, Amundsen and their like did the same for remote lands. 

17 megadiverse countries of the world

A tiger lazes in Ranthambore in IndiaOndrej Prosicky/Shutterstock

We profile the world’s megadiverse countries, from obvious contenders like Ecuador and Brazil to one or two surprise entries

It should be comforting to know that a mere 17 countries hold more than 70% of the world’s species. It should be easy to rally this small group of ‘megadiverse countries’ to protect the planet’s extraordinary biodiversity. Alas, some of these countries are also the world’s biggest consumers and polluters. 

Star struck: exploring the world’s Dark Sky Reserves

Stars shine over the South DownsDreamstime

International Dark Sky Reserves are protected areas that offer exceptionally starry nights. We review the 16 places that hold this hallowed status

They sound like something out of Star Trek, these ‘Dark Sky Reserves’ – like they may have been conjured one evening in a lively LA writers room. Unlike the ‘Delta Quadrant’ or ‘Delphic Expanse’, however, International Dark Sky Reserves actually exist.

Ella Rock: how to hike it yourself (unguided)

Ella Rock how to hike it yourself lead image and view from topAtlas & Boots

A guide to hiking Ella Rock by yourself, including detailed directions, a downloadable route map, a video and a list of 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.

I dolefully thought of this when darting across the thundering traffic to dodge yet another taxi driver insisting on taking me somewhere I didn’t want to go. The main street, stacked with milkshake huts and charm-free cafes, is a loud and roiling stretch of conveniences set up for the tourist alone.

Stewards of the wild: 10 famous environmentalists that give us hope 

Jane Goodall is one of the most famous environmentalists of our time.The Nature Conservancy/Fair Use

We profile 10 famous environmentalists, from the girl who lived in a tree for two years to the sea captain faced with Interpol arrest

I recently read a fact that stopped me in my tracks: in optimum conditions, some trees can live forever. They are vulnerable to predators, disease and natural disasters, but unlike humans, these ‘biologically immortal’ trees rarely die simply because they get old.

20 interesting facts about the Arctic

A series of interesting facts about the Arctic, prompted by our recent trip to the Greenland ice sheet

Our first trip to the Arctic Circle delivered more than we had hoped for: stunning Northern Lights, a close encounter with Arctic reindeer and a night-time husky hike replete with husky puppies. Based in the city of Tromso, however, we saw little of the wilderness that defines the polar regions. 

8 best things to do in Ilulissat, Greenland

Atlas & Boots

Our selection of the best things to do in Ilulissat will help you make the most of your time in this breathtaking part of the world

Ilulissat is the Greenland of glossy brochures. Smatterings of multi-coloured houses, iceberg-strewn waters, majestic sled dogs and gigantic glinting glaciers all contribute to the region’s raw photogenic appeal. It is quite simply one of the most spectacular environments on Earth.

Under the midnight sun: iceberg sightseeing in Ilulissat

interesting facts about the arctic: midnight sun

Iceberg sightseeing in Ilulissat is best done at night, not by moonlight but beneath the Arctic’s infamous midnight sun

Ilulissat is the Greenland you’ve always imagined. Positioned at the mouth of the 40km-wide Jakobshavn Glacier (Sermeq Kujalleq) itself buttressed by an immense icefjord, Ilulissat’s sprinkling of multi-coloured houses on the picturesque iceberg-strewn Disko Bay is one of the most wondrous settings on Earth.

In search of puffins in Mykines, Faroe Islands

puffins arguing on Mykines, Faroe Islands

We journey to Mykines, the westernmost island of the Faroes in pursuit of its famous puffins

“We do not have bad weather,” says the Faroe Islands website.

“Just a lot of weather.”

Adrift in the Atlantic Ocean, halfway between Iceland and Norway, the 18 islands of the Faroes do indeed have weather. It is palpable here: an ever-looming presence that snatches away your car door, rattles against your window and cries shrilly into quiet lulls.

UNESCO’s newest World Heritage Sites

Fanjingshan in Chinasanyanwuji/Shutterstock

From Inuit hunting grounds to sacred mountain monasteries, UNESCO’s newest World Heritage Sites have been formally recognised for their outstanding value

The aim of UNESCO’s list is to identify, protect and preserve sites of cultural and natural heritage considered to be of exceptional value to humanity. These sites include a range of locations such as the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, east Africa’s Serengeti, the Pyramids of Egypt and Machu Picchu in Peru.

To be included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, nominated sites must be of “outstanding universal value” and meet at least one of 10 selection criteria.