Kate Simon

Kate Simon is the Travel Correspondent of The Independent and The Independent on Sunday. She was Travel Editor of The Independent on Sunday from 2005 to 2011. Kate is also the co-founder of Little Black Book Creative (www.lbbcreative.co.uk), which offers editorial services, media relations consultancy and travel-writing training.

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Full steam ahead: The restored Epping to Ongar railway

Countyfile: Essex - From art trails to vapour trails in the East of England

There's still time to get creative at Thurrock's first dedicated art trail (07977 017240; entrance free), which runs until next Sunday. Photography, sculpture, textiles and fine art are currently on display in galleries and spaces at Grays, Purfleet, Tilbury, Stanford-le-Hope and Horndon-on-the-Hill.

The 50 Best beaches

Whether you're looking for sandy solitude, that perfect wave or space to let the kids run wild, Kate Simon and her team have scoured the country for their favourite spots by the sea

Palm Beach

Magaluf scrubs up for a new type of tourist

The Mallorcan resort's notorious foam parties are still in evidence, but developers are now hoping to attract the smart set, says Kate Simon

Life’s a pitch: a Rajasthani tent at A Terra, Portugal

Luxury camping: To all in tents

European glamour at affordable prices? Pitch up at a luxury campsite for sunshine, fresh air and a chic, cheap holiday. Kate Simon unrolls her smartest sleeping bag

At a stroke: Windermere's Great North Swim

Countyfile; Cumbria - Race to the Lakes for outdoor fun and games

The skies above Windermere will light up this Thursday when Cumbria hosts one of the four opening events of the London 2012 Festival (0845 267 2012; festival.london2012.com), the cultural celebration of the Olympic and Paralympic Games that runs till 9 September. A French group, Les Commandos Percu, will take to the shores of Windermere for On the Night Shift, a free open-air production mixing music and pyrotechnics, which will also mark the arrival of the Olympic torch in the county.

The breakfast room at Halford House

B&B And Beyond: Halford House, Gloucestershire

A homely ambience is complemented by hotel-standard style and service at this elegant guesthouse, says Kate Simon

The coast is clear: Jersey's south-west coast mixes sandy beaches with rocky outcrops

Traveller's Guide: Jersey

The tiny Channel Island with hints of France makes a great summer break, says Kate Simon.

Award-winner: the Curve theatre in Leicester

Countyfile: Leicestershire - The stage is set for an all-action summer in the Midlands

Leicestershire's struck gold. At least it has in the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2012. At last month's prize-giving ceremony, Leicester Theatre Trust, the body behind the city's performance space, Curve (0116 242 3595; curveonline.co.uk), picked up a gold Access for All Tourism Award for its commitment to theatregoers with disabilities. You can take a closer look at Curve on one of its fortnightly guided tours (the next one is on 23 June, adults £3, under-18s £2), while, front of house, this month's performances include the family favourite Horrible Histories, performed by the Birmingham Stage Company on 11-13 June (tickets £14).

Downhill all the way (almost): The former industrial railway line, now Via Verde (greenway), in Sant Esteve d'en Bas

Freewheel with the family along the greenways of Catalonia

Spain's abandoned railway lines have a new lease of life as cycling trails, says Kate Simon

Sand Dance: Bedruthan Beach is the location for site dancing

Cornwall, as the Adventure Butler saw it

From ballet on the beach to harvesting a hedgerow, a new company shows Kate Simon how to get the most from a UK holiday

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Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home