FANCY a holiday at the airport? Maybe not, but the most rewarding places are often those which we pass through on our way to somewhere else.

A few years back we spent a couple of days in the Portugese city of Faro.

It’s known to most as their flight destination before they make their way to the Algarve.

We found a charming place, rich in architecture, inviting bars and fantastic restaurants serving good, inexpensive food.

It whetted my appetite for stays in this kind of place. This summer, to avoid travelling for eight hours straight, we stopped for a night just outside Calais in the Norman French seaside town of Wissant.

The town boasted miles of rolling beaches near Cap Gris Nez, the closest point in France to England.

I didn’t see another British car, but plenty of Belgian plates, whose drivers were drawn, I’d imagine by the stunning local moules frites. They were so good I bet they travelled from the home of mussels and chips just to sample them.

We did the same on the other side of the channel.

Not wanting to travel from South Wales to France in one day, we broke the journey with a night in Ramsgate.

The Kent seaside town with its Regency era pubs and its Victorian wharves turned out to be a real gem.

We arrived on a bright afternoon and the French coast was clearly visible 20 miles away.

Beneath skies which saw the RAF battle the Luftwaffe, the sea was thick with ferries, container ships and coasters.

On the outskirts of town lay one of the centres of the Battle of Britain, RAF Manston. I went there for a run just after arriving.

As I passed the airfield perimeter, a tell-tale roar announced a Spitfire circling overhead.

I stood looking up, open-mouthed.

It's rare enough to see one of these anywhere, but to see one flying over here was profoundly moving.

So, try stopping at one of these unreguarded places, it'll make the rest of your holiday more pleasant and you might be smitten by somewhere quite unexpected.