Harriet O'Brien

Harriet O’Brien is a travel writer and award-winning author. Her first book Forgotten Land, a rediscovery of Burma was published just before she joined The Independent, her second Queen Emma and Vikings, a few years after she left. She was on staff at The Independent during the 1990s and subsequently worked in Canada and then as managing editor at Conde Nast Traveller before going freelance in order to travel more. She mainly covers the UK, Europe and Asia, where she grew up.

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Arbor master: a treelined street in the French Concession

Shanghai's colonial quarter: Making concessions

Look beyond the skyscrapers to the city's historic former French territory, writes Harriet O'Brien

Rocking out: the granite outcrop of Haytor

Dartmoor: granite tors, cream teas and a prison

From magnificent views to the grounds of HM Prison Dartmoor, Harriet O'Brien experienced the lot

Sea view: Blue Lagoon

Malta: Traveller's Guide

This Mediterranean nation celebrates 50 years of independence this weekend. Go now to enjoy beachy days and a rich historical landscape, says Harriet O'Brien
Cool off: Mazzaro Bay

Sicily and the Aeolian islands: Island-hopping in the land of fire and water

Dominated by volcanic peaks, some of them still active, Sicily and the Aeolian islands offer stunning coasts, fertile interiors and dramatic, rumbling cones
Statuesque: the old town’s Cathedral Square

Faro travel tips: Where to go and what to see in 48 hours

More than just a gateway to the beaches of the Algarve, this compact city is also about to enter festival season. Harriet O'Brien gets in the spirit
Poetry in motion: hiking the Laurie Lee Wildlife Way

Laurie Lee: A literary landscape in the Cotswolds

Harriet O'Brien walks out one midsummer morning in the valley that inspired the writer, as a new trail marks the 100th anniversary of his birth
Resting on the road from Alvados to Batalha

Bespoke emotion on an e-bike exploration in Portugal

In the mood for a gently active break, Harriet O'Brien sets off from an intriguingly named hotel to explore Estremadura's monasteries, orchards and surf spots
Revamp: Mellow colours bring calm to the rooms

Room Service: Merchants Manor, Falmouth

Sample added fizz at the old Screw Top
Golden opportunity: one of Albufeira's popular beaches

Traveller's Guide: The Algarve

This southern sliver of Portugal draws crowds to its beaches and golf courses, but there's plenty more to see, says Harriet O'Brien
Rum coves: the harbour quay at Fowey

Cornwall: Smugglers' country

As the TV adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's 'Jamaica Inn' hits our screens, Harriet O'Brien visits the places which inspired the classic tale

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Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible