Travelwr¡ters UK
 
 
 

 
Gillian Thornton
TRAVEL WRITER AND PHOTOGRAPHER







SPECIALITIES


MARKETS

EXPERIENCES

PICTURES

AWARDS
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EXAMPLES OF
PUBLISHED WORK

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PHOTOGRAPHY
SELECTION

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Writing was only ever meant to be a hobby, but after almost 35 years as a busy freelance, I regard my unexpected career as a very happy accident indeed. After training as a bilingual PA at the Institut Français in London, I worked for a variety of multinational companies whilst writing – and selling - articles in my spare time.

So when I was unexpectedly made redundant in 1980, I took the plunge and went freelance. Soon I was writing regularly for women’s magazines - general features, celebrity interviews, parenting articles and occasional travel pieces – as well as for regional publications and corporate clients.

In 1998, a couple of chance conversations led me into travel writing full-time and now I’ve come full circle back to my French roots. Today I’m an established specialist in France, travelling regularly to all corners of the country, whilst also writing on the UK and other European destinations.

I’m a regular contributor of features and digital images to specialist travel magazines, general interest publications and women’s titles, as well as writing for a travel website and undertaking copywriting for tourist brochures – see Markets. I love a new challenge and my diary is full of them.

 


 

SPECIALITIES

I’m first and foremost a specialist in France but I also write about UK destinations and days out, European city breaks, family resorts, and hotels. I travel to France regularly and regions I know particularly well include Nord/Pas-de-Calais, Poitou-Charentes, Rhône-Alpes, Normandy, Midi-Pyrenees, Languedoc-Roussillon and Corsica.

I speak and write fluent French, have a rusty Italian A-level and an even rustier German O-level.

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MARKETS

I write travel and general interest features for a variety of UK magazines, most of them between 1000 and 1500 words long and illustrated with my own digital pictures.

These appear regularly in specialist travel magazines French Entrée, Living France, France Magazine, Voyage (Brittany Ferries onboard) and Go Holiday, as well as national women’s magazines such as Woman’s Weekly, People’s Friend and My Weekly. I am a regular contributor of hotel, holiday and destination reviews to the over-50s website www.silvertraveladvisor.com

I also write English-language brochures and website copy for French tourist boards, and offer a translation service from French to English. Clients have included Normandy, Poitou-Charentes, the Loire Valley, Nord-Pas de Calais, and Rhône-Alpes.

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BEST TRAVEL EXPERIENCES

Every trip delivers something good, but highlights for me have included watching brown bears in the forests of northern Finland and whales in the north Atlantic, seeing the French Alps from a paraglider and the Pyrenees from a hot air balloon. I’ve ridden over the lava fields of Iceland on a horse with five-speed gearbox and through lagoons dotted with flamingos in the Camargue. And whilst I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy luxury hotels and relaxing spas, some of my most enjoyable evenings have been spent in character B&Bs.

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PICTURES

I take high resolution digital images to accompany my features. Several shots have been used as double page spreads and cover shots. Pictures can be provided on disc.


PHOTOGRAPHY SELECTION

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AWARDS

I am an honorary Chevalier de la Commanderie du Saulte Bouchon Champenois– the Champagne brotherhood of Aube-en-Champagne.

In 2011, I was Runner-Up in ABTOF's Best Online Article with a piece entitled 'Ten of the Best - Beautiful French Villages' that appeared on thetraveleditor.com (now closed). I was Runner-Up again in 2013 with ‘Top Ten French Underground Experiences’ which appeared on www.silvertraveladvisor.com.

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TO CONTACT ME

Contact me by email or by telephone on 00 44 (0)1582 468771 or mobile 00 44 (0)7831 275889.

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BY GILLIAN THORNTON -
EXAMPLES OF PUBLISHED WORK

La Rochelle - weekend guide
When you’ve had early breakfast in Britain, there’s something ever-so-slightly decadent about sitting down to a pre-lunch glass of pineau de Charentes on the bustling quayside at La Rochelle.
  Sleek white yachts glide in and out of the harbour, picking their way carefully between the tour boats that cruise to the islands of Ré, Aix and Oléron. Tiny ferries provide a shuttle service across the harbour mouth. And nautical folk do what nautical folk do best – just mess about in boats.
Read full article ...

Tarn-et-Garonne - Small wonder
Linger at a table beneath the red brick arches of Montauban’s glorious Place Nationale and it’s easy to imagine yourself back in the 17th century. Look past the 21st century fashions and café furniture, the discreet electric street lights and ubiquitous TV aerials, and you realise that very little has changed in almost 400 years.
Read full article ...

Best of Britain - St Albans
Growing up on the edge of St Albans, I rather took the local heritage thing for granted, because whatever we were learning about in class, we could pretty much find it on the doorstep.
  History lessons were brought to life by our local Roman heritage, atmospheric Cathedral, and the shadow of a great monastery which would have been even greater if Henry VIII hadn’t thrown a wobbly in 1539. We had nature lessons beside the duck-filled lakes of Verulamium Park and enjoyed geography field trips in the local countryside.
  At the time, I didn’t really appreciate how lucky we were. It was only when I came back to live in the city as a parent that I really began to appreciate what St Albans has to offer.
Read full article ...

Lingering in the Loir
You can always rely on the Romans to pick a plum site for a settlement and their urban planners certainly got it right when they chose Aubigné-Racan, an area of flat land on the north bank of the river Loir. Here in the shelter of wooded hills, they built temples and a forum, public baths and a theatre, and yet no-one today really knows why. With no road space and no living quarters, the site seems to have been a seasonal sanctuary rather than a town.
  Today, this important archeological excavation near Le Lude is one of the unexpected treasures – and enigmas - of the Loir Valley, an enchanting area dotted with vineyards and chateaux, glorious gardens and historic small towns.

Read full article ...

Finding Your Feet in Florence
On a scale of one to ten, the Duomo in Florence scores a resounding eleven for sheer in-your-face impact. Turn out of any side street into Piazza del Duomo and you’re suddenly confronted with this ornate confection of pink, green and white marble embellished with geometric carvings, angelic figures, and sculpted foliage.
  I first visited Florence as a student, eager to try out my A-level Italian on the unsuspecting natives ... Now, more than two decades later, I was making a long overdue return. But would the city live up to my rose-tinted memories?
Read full article ...

Arras - Secret History
Think about a city break in Nord Pas de Calais and most people automatically head for the bright lights of Lille or the historic old quarter of Boulogne. But if you fancy a town that combines stunning architecture with great restaurants, fascinating heritage sites with modern retail therapy, start thinking Arras instead.
Read full article ...

Suffolk stress-buster
Early afternoon on Southwold sea front and you can hear a seagull’s feather drop in the Sailors’ Reading Room. A lady rustles quietly through the daily papers on the table whilst deep in an armchair, her partner enjoys a post-prandial snooze, a copy of Warship Technology abandoned on his knee. Meanwhile, the rhythmical tick of the wall clock reminds readers that outside at least, time marches steadily on.
Read full article ...

Walk On The Wild Side
The long, steady climb to the rounded summit of Mont Lozère is a popular route with both hikers and mountain bikers – not just for the 360º views but also because you don’t have to be super-fit to tackle it. Highest point of the Mont Lozère ridge is the Sommet de Finiels, some 1700 metres above sea level and an hour’s comfortable tramp from the tiny ski resort of Le Bleymard/Mont Lozère.
  You’ll frequently find families following the menhirs up the sandy trail or pausing for a picnic at the summit, but you may also run into a very different kind of traveller.
Read full article ...

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Gillian Thornton
 Gillian Thornton


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