Death: Southbank's Festival for the Living

Postcard from London: Death festival goes live

Good grief: death finally got its own festival in the UK last weekend. Since we hate to miss out on under-the-radar activities in London, we sent a spy. Bon viveur Bruce Traynor’s verdict was that Death: Festival for the Living at London’s Southbank Centre was definitely worth writing home about…

London Southbank’s artistic director, Jude Kelly, put it well in the programme for the inaugural Death Festival: ‘It is not about morbidity, sentimentality or sensationalism. It is full of delight and humour. It’s about hearing powerful stories and interesting facts from people who have had to sort out practically and emotionally how to face up to the greatest and most challenging of all certainties. Come and be part of it – we’re all in this together.’

She was dead right. The mood was almost euphoric; there was a buzz. Was this the dawn of a new era of openness? We felt like pioneers. Indeed, this was probably the first event like this in Western history, according to Rosie Inman-Cook at the Natural Death Centre stand, who’d been on BBC breakfast telly saying how funerals can and should be so much better (and cheaper) than what we put up with. Their website immediately got 10,000 hits.

Death Festival in London: Crazy Coffins

Mexico‘s Day of the Dead celebrations inspired the great logo for the Death Festival, and it was subtitled the Festival for the Living. It seems there’s a groundswell to break free from the sombre Victorian attitudes that we’re still lumbered with. The festival sold out quickly. Another sign of the times is British company Crazy Coffins, who make caskets as uplifting, personalised and elaborate as the famous Ghanaian coffins. Exhibitions of both were delighting the crowds at the weekend.

Palais Amani riad, Fez – Morocco hotel deals

Palais Amani, Fez: hotel of the week

How does an inexpensive week in sunny Fez, whilst learning a new skill, with a bit of pampering on the side sound? Yes, that's what we thought… Have a look at Palais Amani riad in Morocco.

Travel gallery: Bay of Fires Lodge & Walk in north-east Tasmania

Bay of Fires Lodge & Walk, Tasmania

Unique in the Smith collection, Bay of Fires Lodge & Walk in north-east Tasmania combines a stay at a boutique eco-retreat with an inspiring two-day guided trek along one of Australia‘s iconic coastlines. Turquoise seas, snow-white beaches and wildlife-filled bush make the Bay of Fires the perfect place to recharge…

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1 Day One kicks off in Mt William National Park, with a flat, nine-kilometre coastal trek and jaw-dropping ocean views.

Tasmania: Bay of Fires Walk

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