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TRAVEL

10 of the best whisky distillery tours in Scotland

Dreaming of a dram? These distilleries offer an insight into one of the world’s great drinks, and are often in stunning locations, too

It’s an adventure in itself just reaching Nc’nean, a remote and free-spirited whisky startup 12 (slow) miles down a single-track road on the Morvern peninsula on Scotland’s stunning west coast. For those that do make it, tours (with coffee and a slice of organic cake) are less about stats and more about the soul of this exciting, sustainably-minded enterprise. The team here is experimenting with different strains of yeast, curiously-shaped stills and longer mash times. To what end? We’ll find out next year when its first whisky is released. Walks in any direction offer the chance to spot otters, pine martens and sea eagles.
Stay Achnacriche, doubles from £95 B&B
Tours from £15pp, Lochaline, ncnean.com

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TRAVEL

More travel companies offsetting carbon emissions

A growing number of operators are offsetting each holiday they sell by funding reforestation and renewable energy schemes

A growing number of tour operators are offering to offset carbon emissions on behalf of holidaymakers. Trekking and adventure company World Expeditions says all of its trips will be carbon neutral as of 1 November – at no extra cost to its clients. The Australian company, which was established in 1975, sells 500 itineraries globally. For every holiday sold it will invest in forest protection projects in Zimbabwe and Tasmania, and renewable energy projects in China and Vietnam. Bamboo Travel has also announced plans to offset 1.5 tonnes of carbon for each client it sends on its holidays in Asia through a partnership with Gold Standard, a major player in the offsetting market.

According to new research by adventure travel company Intrepid, younger travellers are keener to book through a company that offers offsetting than older ones. The study, based on its own figures and research by YouGov, found that 58% of travellers believe sustainability is an important factor when making travel choices, but when asked what steps they would like companies to take, only 20% of travellers aged 55+ said they would like the chance to offset, compared with 44% of those born in the late 1990s.

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Air miles should be axed to deter frequent fliers, advises report

UK climate body says policy would target heavy users but not penalise occasional flyers

Air miles schemes should be axed as they encourage jet-setters to take extra flights in a bid to maintain “privileged traveller status”, according to a report commissioned by the government’s climate change advisers.

An “escalating Air Miles Levy” should also be introduced to rein in the number of trips taken by frequent flyers without penalising those taking an annual holiday, with the income raised to be invested into low-carbon aviation technology.

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TRAVEL

Tiny house holiday: can a family of four fit in a 15-square-metre space?

Tiny houses are presented as the ultimate in back-to-nature minimalism, but tiny people are rarely in the picture

“Oh,” I say as we pull into a clearing off a dirt track. “It’s really small.”

Which should not have come as a surprise, really – “it” being a tiny house and smallness being rather the point of it. But, as I checked my rear-view mirror to see my five-year-old unbuckled and silently trying to release her two-year-old sister from her car seat, I thought again: “That house is very small.”

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TRAVEL

New stylish and sustainable ski kit – in pictures

A new wave of skiwear uses recycled materials and sustainable manufacturing to produce snazzy but practical gear, from mittens to customised skis

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TRAVEL

Family skiing in the French Alps – fun on and off the slopes

The small resort of La Rosière has great beginners’ pistes, but for these kids it’s the non-ski activities – from ice hockey to dog sledding – that make their holiday

My six- and eight-year-old sons are watching an ice hockey match, their noses pressed to the Perspex. They gasp as the star player of the Tigres Blancs, Patrick “Pat” Adin, gets slammed into the barrier by an opponent: his face is squished a few millimetres from theirs. When he then wins back the puck and scores, they erupt with a fervour usually reserved for their football team.

All around us, French families and holidaying friends were cheering and chanting Pat’s name. What made this more unusual is that Pat is in his mid-60s, and we later saw him driving the ice resurfacer in the interval and selling refreshments at the end of the match. He also gave us a skating lesson at a group session here the day before.

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TRAVEL

10 of the best things to see and do in Batignolles, Paris

Away from Paris’s more touristy areas, the Batignolles district in the 17th arrondissement is loved by locals for its bistros, bars, offbeat culture and romantic gardens

This could be renamed the Batignolles food street, as both sides of the road are lined with restaurants symbolising the new image of the quartier. Meat-lovers should book the bistro-like Gaston, whose friendly owner, Rachid, serves traditional dishes such as oeufs en meurette (eggs poached in a rich red wine sauce) or aged prime rib with a béarnaise sauce (lunch menu €20). For more veggie-friendly dishes (plat du jour €10-€12), there is the casual Bar Pignon, while Formaticus is a fromagerie that serves sharing plates from its long list of cheeses and Le Costaud des Batignolles is part modern art gallery, part restaurant.

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TRAVEL

Lille wonder: a whistle-stop tour of a Franco-Belgian jewel

Take a quick Eurostar trip from London for a short break to a city with a medieval heart but a modern approach to life

Lille may not be the obvious city for a short break, despite the fact it’s highly convenient to reach via Eurostar. On the train, I flick through the current issue of Metropolitan, the Eurostar magazine, which skips past Lille to focus on the more obvious tourist locations of Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam. However, when you alight here this city feels as if it’s transforming.

Get past the sight of Primark that greets you from the station and there’s a medieval heart, with curving, pedestrianised streets. There’s a Franco-Belgium feel, from the place names to a love of mussels and the craft-brewery scene. Lille houses France’s biggest university; there are 67,000 students floating around in term-time.

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10 of the best surfing beaches in the UK

There’s no need to head to Biarritz or Bali – the UK coastline has plenty of great waves and our surfing expert knows exactly where to catch them

Northern Ireland’s toned-down answer to Newquay has a cheerful holiday vibe thanks to the swarms of beginners splashing around in the waves, in contrast to the more serious nature of some of the wilder and more remote surf spots found in this part of the world – especially to the west in Donegal. Portrush offers two options, West Strand (usually bigger) and East Strand, and like the rest of the breaks along this coastline they’re oriented in a generally northerly direction, which means the region’s prevailing winds are offshore, creating wonderful “clean” waves.

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Beyond Seville: three ancient towns to visit in Andalucía

Carmona, Écija and Osuna are great places to explore between Spain’s bigger cities and are rich in history and sights – but have fewer crowds

Such is the dazzle of Seville, Cordoba, Granada and Málaga that few visitors to Spain’s south-west pause to explore the space between them. Part of it, La Campiña, a region of Seville province, appears largely empty. But over ploughed fields and olive groves there are towers and ramparts, the hazy outlines of towns founded in antiquity. Over the centuries, these have been built up by Romans, Vandals, Visigoths, Arabs – who created the Islamic caliphate of Al-Andalus – medieval knights, religious orders, and a who’s who of Spanish nobility granted land and cash in reward for helping kings.

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TRAVEL

Where environmentalists go on holiday

To mark Climate Week, campaigners and writers reveal how they take their holidays while staying true to their eco-values

Kate Humble, TV presenter and author

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