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Travel Chat With British Author Christopher Nye

The summer is nearly upon us which means sunny weekends out and about enjoying the great outdoors but if you are stuck for a few ideas on something exciting to do, I know a man that can help. British author, Christopher Nye was kind enough to drop in for this weeks travel chat.

This summer sees your latest book hits the shops, what is it about and how much will we love it?

It’s called Weekends to Brag About – 100-plus Adventures in Britain’s Great Outdoors, and it’s a collection of around 140 ideas to get more out of your leisure time. I think people will love it, because while there are so many of the 1001-things-to-do-before-you-die books, they’re basically picture books. My book is a detailed explanation of the kind of activity (say, paragliding, or western-style horse riding), that you might have seen someone doing and thought, “ooh, I quite fancy a go at that, but where do I start?” My book tells you where to do it, how old you need to be (or how young), what it costs, the dangers, the appeal, all that, plus a few phone numbers and websites to start you off. And we do everything from abseiling to zorbing, covering just about everything you can do on wheels, on horseback, under a powerkite, underwater, up a mountain, rain or shine, summer or winter…

With so much choice out there for the world traveller, why come to Britain?

Or indeed, for British people, why go abroad, when you can be the other end of Britain and checked into a hotel before you’ve even reached the departure gate at an airport. For doing energetic activities, Britain has great advantages. The weather is surprisingly good, when you actually analyse it, but rarely too hot or too cold. We are a compact country where countryside is never far away, thanks to planning controls that protect greenbelt. We have the cleanest water for more than 100 years, more trees than for 250 years. Governments have spent a fortune on tourism infrastructure in recent years, so there’s tons of information, and for dangerous sports those much-maligned health and safety experts have done a good job in making them safer, but still fun.

Your top three places in Britain?

For adventure activities I do love the Scottish “minches” between the Outer Hebrides and the mainland/Inner Hebrides. They feel so wild and remote.

I have to say the South Downs for the mix of countryside and the artistic and cultural heritage there – from the Bloomsbury group at Charleston, to Jane Austen at Winchester, plus Glyndebourne, Brighton – and because I live there.

Lastly… London and the area around Westminster, Buckingham Palace and St James’s Park. Until you go there you can forget how linked are the military, the government and royalty. I can watch them changing the guard in Whitehall all day. I like to get the 24 bus from Victoria to Trafalgar Square then walk back via the parks and Horse Guards.

What can you not travel without?

Trains, planes, buses, whatever…, I cannot travel without having a window seat. Fortunately my girlfriend is usually happy with the aisle. Things-wise, I’ve learned to travel light, so an iPhone and a paperback is enough. Again, my girlfriend is the opposite.

If you only had two days in Britain, what would you do in that time?

Two days is plenty for a Weekend to Brag About… I would take a sea kayak out along the Welsh coast, packed with a bivouac, catch my own fish, cook it in the evening on a fire on some deserted shore, and pitch my tent as the sun goes down.

When do you think is the best time to visit Britain?

Spring is most beautiful, but people are really friendly at Christmas – I never understand why so many Brits go abroad then.

If you could live anywhere in Blighty, where would it be?

Where I am, Lewes, but in a bigger house.

What has been your best travel experience?

London to Liverpool first-class by Virgin trains, then a good wander round the nearly empty Walker and Tate galleries there. I went last month and it was FANTASTIC.

What annoys you most when travelling?

Having to worry all the time about parking – Where? Is this permit holders only? Have I got the right change? How long have I got until the parking ticket runs out? Etc. My own town of 15,000 people has 30 full-time staff employed to control the parking. Ridiculous!

Who would be your ideal travel partner?

My family of course. But you want someone known by everyone else I expect? I’d quite like to get to know the real Pippa Middleton.


A big thank you to Chris for talking to The Blighty Traveller this week. Don’t forget to check out his latest book Weekends To Brag About: 100 Adventures in Britain’s Great Outdoors. You can also follow him on twitter and visit him at his website.


Photo’s by Elsie esq.bill85704Chris Walker InnerwealthFiring up the quattro….

3 Responses to Travel Chat With British Author Christopher Nye

  1. The Blighty Traveller Reply

    May 26, 2011 at 9:51 am

    I agree about England at Christmas, I love the atmosphere and the festive spirit and certainly don’t like to be abroad around that time.

    Really enjoyed this travel chat.

  2. Jane Reply

    June 4, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    Absolutely loved photo of a man on a boat! and I liked his choice of what to do if you have just 2 days. Really, if to think about it- 2 days is too little to stress out about spending them culturally, like running from museum to museum, and too much to spend too relaxing way just lying down on the grass. Kayaking is something perfect!
    This is the second travel chat, and the second person mentioning London as one of the top places. I wonder why:=)

    • The Blighty Traveller Reply

      June 6, 2011 at 7:55 am

      Yes, something is telling me that London is well worth a visit 🙂

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