Freedom festival, Hull


The UK City of Culture’s signature three-day festival of the arts features a mishmash of outdoor theatre performances, music and art installations across the city centre. Children are encouraged to experiment, laugh, get messy and express themselves in an exhaustive programme of events, this year including circus skills, science experiments and an acrobatics workshop for older children.


Far-west Cornwall


It may be close to home but it’s worth driving around west Cornwall – including Land’s End – taking in the tiny hamlets with great names (Zennor and Morvah, for example). There are ancient granite hedges ready to give you a scrape if you’re distracted – and those views really do distract. Plus old tin mines, wild countryside dotted with farms and cottages and, to cap it all, that backdrop of the wild Atlantic. It’s worth parking and taking a short walk to the clifftops, if you want to feel even further away from civilisation.There’s a breathtaking vista at every turn.

Kerala, south India


First stop, the idyllic Periyar River Lodge and then up early the following day for guided tour at Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary. On to the hill station of Munnar, staying at the beautiful Windermere Estate. A spectacular route then took us to the Wildlife Sanctuary at Kumily, where vistas were reminiscent of Jurassic Park. Down to the coast and the Arabian Sea at Varkarla, staying at the chilled-out Villa Jacaranda, eating fresh fish at beachside restaurants, while watching the twinkling lights of fishing boats out to sea. At the Alleppey backwaters, we paddled quietly past families at work or play, spotting abundant birdlife on the way. Our final stop was the city of Kochi. Just by chance the biennale festival of art was on – an unexpected bonus to end our memorable road trip.

Real Montenegro


Despite being one of the smallest countries in Europe, Montenegro has it all; glorious beaches, bustling historical towns, blissful lakes and rugged mountain ranges. It’s the perfect place for a road trip. Pick up a car in Herceg Novi and head south along the coast, stopping off to bask on sandy beaches and explore the enchanting old towns of Kotor and Budva. Head inland to Lake Skadar for boat trips, bird-watching and delicious local food. Next, climb north-east, along spectacular mountain highways, arriving in Durmitor national park. Stay in a cosy cabin and explore glacial lakes, canyons and tremendous peaks.

Port Navas, Cornwall


This four-bedroom cedar-clad and stone house, designed by local architect Roger Hocking in 1985, sits in two acres of terraced gardens on the banks of the Port Navas Creek. The land goes down to the water’s edge where there is almost 400ft of water frontage and two licensed moorings. Inside the airy three-storey house are dramatic double-height wood-clad ceilings and lots of windows, while wraparound balconies and connected patio areas make the most of the views from outside.

Clitheroe, Lancashire


Close to good country walking routes near Churn Clough reservoir yet just four miles to the market town of Clitheroe and with great transport links to Preston, Manchester, Lancaster and the Lake District, this detached stone-built house offers a lot. Originally built about 1892 for the water bailiff, Churn Clough House was altered from its original chalet design in 1995 and is now a four-bedroom family home with gardens on all sides.

Eredine, Argyll & Bute


Braevallich House is a four-bedroom detached house on 10 acres on the shores of Loch Awe. The land that comes with the house includes a 180 metres of private loch frontage where there is a slipway, jetty and moorings. Fishing and sporting rights are also included. The spacious interior is in good order but could do with some general modernisation and upgrading. The secluded property comes with several outbuildings, a colourful garden, woodland and terrific views as far as Ben Cruachan, 30 miles north-east, on a clear day.

Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire


The Tryst House, a converted medieval granary in the middle of Shakespeare country, sits in beautiful grounds in which the dominant feature is the large natural pond, which flows into Shottery Brook. The three-bedroom property features many exposed timbers dating back to the 14th century, flagstone floors and a galleried drawing room with part vaulted ceilings and large window openings onto gardens. It comes with a detached one-bedroom guest cottage.

Highly Commended – Our Solar System


‘Saturn at opposition system’ by Damian Peach (UK). This incredibly sharp portrait brilliantly captures the jewel of our solar system, revealing the subtle banding around the orb that results from the planet’s weather. It also shows the exquisite gradation of brightness and colour in the planet’s rings. The ultra-faint inner ‘D-Ring’ and outermost Encke gap are clearly visible. The hexagonal storm at the North Pole – a scientific curiosity – shows off three of its angular kinks. Images with this much clarity challenge our ideas of what can be achieved with amateur telescopes.

Winner – People and Space Category


‘Moon silhouettes’ by Mark Gee (Australia). This is a deceptively simple shot of figures silhouetted against a rising moon. By photographing the people on the observation deck from a great distance, the photographer has emphasised their tiny scale compared with the grandeur of our natural satellite. Close to the horizon, Earth’s turbulent atmosphere blurs and softens the moon’s outline and filters its normal cool grey tones into a warmer, yellow glow.