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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A ride on The Great Elephant, one of the feats of engineering in the Parc Des Chantiers

Nantes: Pack your trunk for an art safari

Kate Simon walks the pink line that leads to classic sights and contemporary installations

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

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Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker