The most English Scotsman?

Round & About


Robbie James shares his love of his ‘homeland’ in his new TV show and invites you to join the journey up north

I’ve lived all but two years of my life in the south of England. I grew up near Winchester. Winchester! It doesn’t get much more English than middle class, oat milk flat white, Schoffel wearing Winchester. I’ve since moved to Farnham. Farnham! Middle class, oat milk flat white, Schoffel wearing Farnham.

Ok so maybe I’ve had a fairly English life so far, but at heart, I feel very, very Scottish. I know, you’re rolling your eyes as you await me to tell you about my great aunt’s, cousin’s, labrador’s, dressing table’s Scottish heritage, but let me explain.

My grandparents on my mum’s side came down to Aldershot from Glasgow when my grandad (Papi as we call him) was in the parachute regiment. Ever since, my family has been settled down south, but they’ve never lost their love and impassionment for Scotland, and that’s rubbed off on me. 

Watching Scotland play in the Six Nations from their south coast home has formed the nucleus of all major family events. Hearing stories of Jack & Betty’s less than glamorous upbringings in the Glaswegian tenements has humbled us through the years, and near enough everything I have in my life is thanks to their relentless hard graft. But anyway, we’ve always been brought up to be aware of our Scottish roots, and to feel them.

So when Travelxp asked me if I’d like to host a TV show taking you around Scotland for 10 days, I immediately said yes. We filmed it at the back end of the summer and it was the most fun. It felt like a form of homecoming, which even I struggle to comprehend given I’ve only ever lived in Scotland to study at Heriot Watt University for two years, but I feel at my most content in Scotland. 

Every country has a mixed bag of people; but the self-deprecating, warm, charming and often downright mischievous sense of humour from Scottish people is something I can really get on board with. The landscape is also just beautiful to the point where I feel drained from the emotion it somehow brings out in me. So romantic, curiously personable, and yes really cold, but that’s fine.

I think the show covers all bases when it comes to exploring the country. We of course take you through some of the most emotive landscape the UK (and in my opinion, the world) has to offer, but we also head into cities, touch on Scotland’s often traumatic history, and you bet we learn the bagpipes (which by the way is one of the hardest things to do, lots of blowing, to the extent I nearly passed out).

I think it’s important not to force any kind of #content down anyone’s throat. No one trusts a sales rep, so we wanted to give you some ideas of things to do if you’re visiting Scotland, but they’re only ideas. You’re grown up and can plan your own trip, you don’t need me to tell you how brilliant every single cafe or walk in Scotland is, because it’s not. That’s not the case anywhere, except maybe Farnham…or Winchester. Uh oh.

Watch Robbie James in 10 Days Scotland, which airs from 25th November exclusively on Travelxp.

Dub Pistols’ Barry Ashworth Q&A

Liz Nicholls


We chat music, heroes and mental health with music industry veteran Barry Ashworth ahead of Mucky Weekender festival in Winchester, 8th & 9th September, plus Dub Pistols’ upcoming UK tour…

Q. Hello Barry! Like us, you love a festival! What’s your best festival memory, and why?

“Playing nearly three festivals a week for over 25 years… that’s a hard one to answer. Rise festival in Victoria Park was pretty special because we had Terry Hall and Lynval Golding from The Specials playing with us and it was the first time they had played together in over 20 years; we played Gangsters and over 100,000 people lost their minds. They went on to say that day was the catalyst for them reforming the band. Last year’s Glastonbury Glade show was pretty special too, it was the biggest crowd we had played to at Glastonbury and the roar from the crowd when we came out was spectacular.”

Q. What’s your first memory of music?

“My mother loved her Motown music, I remember she had a white record player and would play and sing along to all her favourite Motown tunes all day long; she loved singing.”

Q. Who was your hero growing up? And now?

“I had a few to be honest, I’m a mad Liverpool fan so Kenny Dalglish was my idol. Musically I had a few: Terry Hall from The Specials, Joe Strummer from The Clash and Paul Weller the Modfather, all have had a massive influence on me musically.”

Q. Really tough one but what’s your favourite tune? (Or top three!)

“Almost impossible to answer this one as it changes daily but going with the above answer; The Specials – Ghost Town, The Clash – Straight To Hell and The Style Council – Shout to the Top.

Q. Who are you most looking forward to seeing, hearing and hanging out with at Mucky Weekender this year?

“Everyone on the line up – that’s why I’ve booked them all!”

Q. How do you take good care of your mental health?

“I’m very fortunate to live in a small village called Reed in Hertfordshire. Walking is so good for your mental health. Being in the fresh air in the middle of the countryside makes me very happy.”

Q. Have you enjoyed any other great festivals this summer?

“Festival season is always my favourite time of the year. Every festival is unique and brings its own vibe but there are three that I feel are very close to my heart and have a special connection to. Beat-herder, in my opinion, is the best independent festival in the country. We have such a strong connection with the crowd there and the love that we get from them is something I will never take for granted. The amount of work and attention to detail that goes into Beat-herder is unique. The venues they build are off the scale and if I were handing out awards for best festivals in the UK this would be a winner. In Europe nothing comes close to Electric Castle in Romania. The production is next level and again the relationship we have built up from being part of the festival from the beginning is one of mutual love and respect. The noise, the energy and the vibe that comes when we walk-out leaves me quite emotional. So, I have covered the UK and Europe, but it is always festival season somewhere in the world and my next mention is halfway around the world in New Zealand. Splore Festival is another one of my spiritual homes. A better location for a festival is hard to find. Set on a beach in Tapapakanga National regional park, its ethos, its connection to the people and the traditions of the Māori land it is on, make it truly unique and one of a kind. I feel blessed to have been part of it over the years and again for the bond we have built with its crowd. For me, these festivals stand out against the others due to the care and pride the production team have for what they have created and for the experience they are providing.”  

Q. What is the best feedback you’ve ever had from Mucky Weekender?

“We have people coming to the festival on their own and leave with a tribe of new friends. This always blows me away. For customers to feel safe to arrive alone because they know the vibe and crowd are so friendly. We have a lady who’s traveling solo all the way from Australia. Her first year coming to Mucky was 2022 and she’s made friends that will last a lifetime that she’s meeting up with again this year. I think this is such a huge compliment for the environment we’ve created. It’s incredible how many people are traveling from different parts of the globe to join us.” 

Q. What else is on the horizon for you over the next few months?

“Rest, if only I could relax! The Dub Pistols have recently released a new album called Frontline on my own label Cyclone Records. It went to number 3 in the UK charts. There is a stack of remixes due for release from the likes of Don Letts, Guadi, The Allergies, Klue and a host of others. We have a winter UK tour lined up and I am already working on my next album with The Freestylers. Oh, and a documentary called what could possibly go wrong. The history of The Dub Pistols. It’s a rock n roll story of every band and a cautionary tale of what not to do to make it in the music industry!” 

Q. Finally, if you could make one wish for the world, what would it be?

“It is cheesy but I am a socialist. I would like to see peace, love and unity throughout the world. A world where everyone is given a fair chance and a decent existence. A world in which we care less for ourselves and more for others.” 

Mucky Weekender, named after one of the Dub Pistols’ bestselling singles Mucky Weekend, covers all genres across four stages at Vicarage Farm with an intergalactic theme this year. See you at the front! For info about Dub Pistols’ long awaited album Frontline visit A Dub Pistols documentary will be out soon.

Hampshire Fairy Lights & Fizz Highlight

Liz Nicholls


Showcasing Hampshire’s finest still and sparkling wines, the celebrated Christmas event Fairy Lights & Fizz returns to Guildhall Winchester on Friday, 9th December

Get ready to raise a festive glass or two, as Vineyards of Hampshire’s annual Fairy Lights & Fizz returns to Guildhall Winchester on 9th December 6-10pm. One of the most popular fixtures in the Winchester Christmas calendar. This is one of only two events a year that offers the opportunity to sample and enjoy the widest range of Hampshire’s finest sparkling and still wines under one roof.

Hosted by The Vineyards of Hampshire (VoH) producers from Black Chalk, Cottonworth, Danebury Vineyards, Exton Park, The Grange, Hambledon, Hattingley and Raimes; this year will also be the first time that newest members, Qub Park and Louis Pommery England, join in with the yuletide merriment.

Proudly sponsored by the NFU Winchester and Wickham. Fairy Lights and Fizz is a fun festive excursion for friends or even an interesting alternative to the work Christmas party outing this year, held in the Victorian grandeur of Guildhall Winchester’s Bapsy Hall.

From learning about new grapes and blends and finding that preferred Hampshire fizz for your festive meal, to mingling with the winemakers and getting those Christmas orders in early; Fairy Lights & Fizz is a festive celebration not to be missed.

“Fairy Lights & Fizz is a festive celebration not to be missed.”

Priced at £25 per person (plus booking fee). Including expert tastings of 20+ wines, early bird tickets are now available from Eventbrite at Guests will be given a returnable tasting glass on arrival, a tasting note booklet and entitled to tasting samples of all the wines on show.

Tickets are £30 on the door.

Visit for full details.