Culture Reading

Reading: 10 of the best indie records shops around the world

Vinyl is not dead! From reggae in Iceland to a backstreet in Malvern, readers pick their favourite independent record shops, where you’re encouraged to listen, learn and love all music

Spillers Cardiff

Spillers, Cardiff

Founded in 1894, Spillers claims to be the oldest record shop in the world. For locals, it is a legendary store, and even today it has a vast variety of music that could keep you in there for hours. It still has the same charm and personal, friendly service that has made it a landmark for music lovers of all ages and backgrounds.

Comprehension Culture Learning Reading

Reading: Before Stonehenge

One long-ago day around 3200 B.C., the farmers and herdsmen on Scotland’s remote Orkney Islands decided to build something big…


They had Stone Age technology, but their vision was millennia ahead of their time. Five thousand years ago the ancient inhabitants of Orkney—a fertile, green archipelago off the northern tip of modern-day Scotland—erected a complex of monumental buildings unlike anything they had ever attempted before.

Culture Learning Reading

Reading: Top 5 pop-up restaurants and food experiences in Amsterdam

Fresh tastes, clever design and a relaxed vibe are the order of the day for Amsterdam’s innovative and pop-up restaurants


Culture Learning Reading

Reading: Top 10 Irish Myths and Legends

Ireland’s long history is riddled with ancient mythology and folklore. Ireland’s ancient societies, the Druids and the Celtics, believed in the power of magic and many of these beliefs spread to modern day legends told again and again across the country. Stories of warriors with all the knowledge of the world, fairies playing pranks on farm owners and leprechauns hiding their gold at the end of a rainbow add to the mysterious appeal of Ireland.

10. Banshee


The Banshee was a woman who carried with her an omen of death. Sometimes you saw the Banshee as an old woman dressed in rags, sometimes you saw her as a young and beautiful girl and sometimes you saw her as a wash woman, ringing out bloody clothing. Whenever she was seen, she let out a horrible cry and legend has it this cry brought death to any family that heard it. King James I of Scotland thought he was approached by a Banshee. Shortly after, he died at the Earl of Atholl.

Learning Reading Vocabulary

Reading: Top 10 national and state parks in Oregon

Oregon has only one national park but is by no means lacking in scenery. With 360 miles of public beach, gorges, wild rivers, forested peaks and fossil-rich desert, the state is packed with natural wonders

Wizard Island in Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake national park

Today, Crater Lake national park in western Oregon is known for having one of the deepest, clearest lakes in the world, but 7,700 years ago, the landscape stunned witnesses for a different reason: the eruption of the Mount Mazama volcano, which created Crater Lake, is thought to be one of the greatest geologic catastrophes ever witnessed by humans. After it erupted, Mount Mazama collapsed, leaving behind a crater more than 1,200 metres deep – and 8km north to south and 10km east to west – that eventually filled with rain and snowmelt.

Culture Learning Reading

Recipe: Jacket Potato with Cajun Salmon Dressing




2 large Fluffy baking potatoes
2 tsp oil
1 x 175g skinless salmon fillet, cut into 2 cm cubes
50g mange tout, halved
1 tsp Cajun seasoning
6 tbsp low fat crème fraîche

Comprehension Culture Learning Reading Vocabulary

Reading: Wild swimming in the UK

The secluded beauty of wild swimming in the UK makes for the perfect alfresco dip – and you’re never too far away from great campsites, castles, gardens, pubs and restaurants either

Wild SwimmingTaking the plunge … the UK’s wild swimming spots are worth making a splash over.

Comprehension Culture Learning

Recipe: Brownie


185g unsalted butter
185g best dark chocolate
85g plain flour
40g cocoa powder
50g white chocolate
50g milk chocolate
3 large eggs
275g golden caster sugar

Comprehension Culture Learning

Reading: 10 of the best coffee shops in London

London’s top coffee shops, as tipped by Guardian readers. Feed your caffeine addiction at these capital city highlights

Coffee shop The Attendant, Fitrovia, LondonFull of beans … the Attendant, Fitzrovia, central London. 

Comprehension Culture Learning Reading

Reading: How should we commemorate the battle of Waterloo?

Readers answer other readers’ questions on subjects ranging from trivial flights of fancy to profound scientific concepts

The Duke of Wellington in command at the Battle of Waterloo. Illustration: North Wind Picture Archiv The Duke of Wellington in command at the Battle of Waterloo.

Never mind the first world war and D-day, how will we commemorate the bicentenary of the battle of Waterloo (18 June 2015)? Presumably we join with the Germans (Prussians), but should we invite the French?

Culture Festival Movies Reading

Reading: Top 10 open-air cinemas in Europe: readers’ travel tips

With romantic locations under the stars, Europe’s outdoor cinemas evoke the magic of the silver screen

Sala Montjuïc, Barcelona

 Sala Montjuïc, Barcelona

Winning tip: Sala Montjuïc, Barcelona

The Sala Montjuïc is an open-air cinema festival that takes place each summer in the gardens of Barcelona’s Montjuïc Castle. There’s a mix of classics and new films. Last year I saw Blancanieves, the silent film version of Snow White, backed by a live band. You can get a ticket for €13.50 that includes an organic burger and chips, although there are plenty of people who bring hampers full of beer and snacks.

Culture Reading Vocabulary

Recipe: Pepper Jack Potatoes


Pepper Jack Potatoes Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4.

You can use either russets or Yukon gold for this dish. The russets are trickier to keep from overcooking, the Yukons hold their shape easier. If you end up overcooking the potatoes, you can mash them for pepperjack mashed potatoes.