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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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

Elegant streets in Gozo

Malta: Season's greetings - why now is the perfect time to visit the marvel of the Med

Did Malta invent the rock loud speaker? Blue skies, wildflowers, ancient temples and a world first for acoustic archaeology ... Harriet O’Brien discovers it all goes with the territory on these islands

A green and pleasant land: India

Sikkim: Welcome to India's 'hidden paradise'

The Himalayan state is a pocket of lush hills, waterfalls and peaks, but its serenity is under threat. Harriet O'Brien meets a local hero who's trying to save it

Glove story: The Woodstock suite

B&B and Beyond: The Glove House, Woodstock

A 19th-century glove workshop has been given a sleek makeover by a local and her husband, says Harriet O'Brien

Short straw: baby pandas at Chengdu's breeding centre

Trail of the Unexpected: Gentle giants of Chengdu

Pandas and a soaring Buddha statue greet Harriet O'Brien on a visit to this Sichuan city

Wide screen: a Bollywood mural in Mumbai

100 years of Bollywood: Movie magic in Mumbai

India's film industry is booming, says Harriet O'Brien as she goes on a studio tour

Water world: The Yangtze cuts through the Qutang Gorge

The Yangtze: River of mists and sunken cities

A three-day cruise brings Harriet O'Brien face to face with China – ancient and modern

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Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...