Kate Humble, writer and broadcaster, shares her favourite sites.

Kate Humble is a writer and broadcaster who presents the BBC's Springwatch, Lambing Live and most recently The Spice Trail.  She has travelled widely and writes on travel for The Independent, The Telegraph and The Times. She is the founder of the website www.stuffyourrucksack.com which puts travellers in touch with charities, NGOs and projects throughout the world that need anything from clothes, to footballs, to books.  The website's slogan is Pack a Bag, Change a Life.  It works."


I have to be honest and confess that I don’t spend much time on the web.  When I was asked to be a guest editor my first thought was that I would have to refuse because I simply didn’t know enough websites to suggest. So I put the word out to friends; what would they recommend?  I checked out some of their suggestions and have over the last few days signed up to some really fantastic, innovative sites that I may never have come across.  So the list below is a mixture of some sites I know and use regularly and some new discoveries.

Sawdays - I became a devotee of Alastair Sawday’s special places to say books before the internet even existed. These charming and personal guidebooks lead travellers to homes, guesthouses, pubs and tree houses that all have one thing in common. There is nothing institutional or corporate about them; they are all unique and I have never had a disappointing stay in any of the ones I’ve chosen. The website is excellent – brilliantly designed and easy to use and makes the sometimes stressful and onerous task of finding somewhere lovely to stay fantastically easy.

Etsy - The friend who pointed me to this site was a little unsure whether she wanted anyone to know about it.   As soon as I visited it I could see why.  It is a site that sells the most wonderful collection of ephemera, household items, toys and presents from all over the world.  Beautifully laid out, easy to use and far, far too tempting.  Visit this site at your peril…!

The Week - I subscribe to The Week – a weekly magazine about which Dawn French said was perfect for people who are too busy or too lazy to read all the newspapers.  She confessed to being both and I’m afraid I am too.  It is an inspired idea that collates the main news stories of the week and how they’ve been reported, but also includes some of the best foreign articles, gossip, tabloid tittle-tattle, science, art, film reviews and a recipe.  This is the online version that allows me to get my fix when I’m away from home.

Spotify - My husband signed me up to this justifiably popular music site.  I hate the question ‘what sort of music do you like?’ because I never really know how I should answer.  I love listening to music but rarely buy it, relying on my very musical husband to fill the house with an eclectic mix of sounds, from Bach to Sarah Bareilles to Mumford & Sons.  This site is perfect for someone like me to experiment, try new artists as well as find old favourites.  It’s like being allowed to borrow all your friends’ record collections for as long as you want.

Walkopedia - Going for a walk is one of life’s great pleasures and I am lucky to live in one of the best bits of the UK for indulging that pleasure.  Walkopedia does not just help you find a great walk in Britain, with links to maps, guidebooks and places to stay, but its aim is to provide suggestions for walks in every country in the world.  It’s doing quite well, with suggested walks in places as diverse and far flung as China and Chile, Bhutan and Norway.

Very Short List - Thank you , thank you  Wendy for introducing me to this gem of an idea.   I signed up instantly.  Every day this website sends you a very short email recommending a great film, or TV show, book, art exhibition, some form of entertainment or media that they think worthy of attention.  It might be new, it might be vintage, but it won’t be something that has been endlessly hyped everywhere else.  Brilliant!

8 March 2011