Arts and culture

12 amazing TV programmes to give you wanderlust this week

Rick Stein continues his culinary journey in Oaxaca, Mexico this week Credit: AP

Monday January 15

1. Great British Railway Journeys (BBC Two, 6.30pm)

Michael Portillo embarks on the first leg of a journey from East Yorkshire to Caernarfon, beginning by travelling from Hull to the North Yorkshire market town of Malton.

Tuesday January 16

2. Great British Railway Journeys (BBC Two, 6.30pm)

Armed with his Edwardian Bradshaw's guide, Michael Portillo conducts important research in an historic tea room, built by an Edwardian immigrant to the city of York. In Leeds he discovers the city's textile heritage, and also investigates Bradford's musical heritage.

The Caernarfon Castle in Wales Credit: AP

3. Rick Stein's Road to Mexico (BBC Two, 7pm)

For Mexicans, their most revered dishes come from the south, and their Mecca is Oaxaca, where locals still dress in traditional costume. Rick Stein explores the home of Mexico's national cheese, Queso Oaxacana. It's also a land where vanilla grows wild and cacao orchards are harvested to make superb chocolate. Repeat

4. Secrets of the National Trust with Alan Titchmarsh (Five, 7pm)

AlanTitchmarsh visits Attingham Hall in Shropshire to tell the story of the second Baron Berwick, the profligate 19th-century owner who amassed a considerable art collection and squandered the family fortune. During his visit, he wanders around the elaborate walled garden where the family grew its own pineapples - a sign of great wealth at the time - and helps to remove a priceless 16th-century painting from the wall of the grand picture gallery for restoration. Repeat

Wednesday January 17

5. Great British Railway Journeys (BBC Two, 6.30pm)

Michael Portillo travels to the steel city of Sheffield where he discovers an early 20th century steam engine which produced armour plates for a Royal Navy warship. Later he heads south into Nottinghamshire and to the former pit village of Eastwood, before arriving in Nantwich, where he takes a dip in the briny.

6. Rick Stein's Road to Mexico (BBC Two, 7pm)

Rick Stein’s journey draws to a close as he heads east from Oaxaca to the Yucatan Peninsula, where dishes like papadzules and sikil pak are enjoyed in villages across the countryside. Here, the locals have lighter skins and blue-green eyes, and feast of the hottest chilli of them all, the Habanero. He ends his journey feasting on grilled seafood in Tulum, along the shores of the Caribbean Sea. Last in the series. Repeat

The Yucatan Peninsula Credit: bobiphil - Fotolia

Thursday January 18

7. Great British Railway Journeys (BBC Two, 6.30pm)

Michael Portillo travels between Liverpool and Wales. Along the way he discovers a childhood favourite - a miniature tank engine with three carriages in dark red - made by Frank Hornby, and learns the story of a Welsh countess who lived in Gwrych Castle. In Snowdonia, he also rides the waves with a Welsh surfing champion.

8. The Hairy Bikers' Mediterranean Adventure (BBC Two, 8pm)

The bikers' Corsican adventure begins in Bonifacio in the south of the island. They head straight for one of the best delis in town to scope out the local cuisine, including the legendary sausage figatelli. Tony, the owner, tells them that there is a holy trinity of ingredients that makes up the basics of Corsican food - meat, cheese and chestnuts and suggests that the best way for the bikers to understand what makes Corsicans tick is to meet the producers.

Bonfacio in Corsica, France Credit: ©Tomasz Czajkowski -

9. The Cruise: Return to the Mediterranean (ITV, 8.30pm)

The Royal Princess continues its busy summer season travelling around the Mediterranean. While it's hot outside and passengers try to cool themselves in the pool, inside galley staff are feeling the heat as the entire catering operation braces itself for the scrutiny of the fleet's health inspector.. Narrated by Hugh Bonneville.

Friday January 19

10. Great British Railway Journeys (BBC Two, 6.30pm)

In picturesque Snowdonia, Michael Portillo braves the fastest zip line in the world - stretching 1,500 feet across a vast slate quarry as he begins the last leg of his journey to Caernarfon. En route, he also visits the home of British mountaineering, Pen y Gwryd, to hear how an Edwardian journalist and poet created a climbing community, which grew to include men who would conquer Everest in the 1950s.

11. Costa Del Celebrity (Five, 8pm)

After visiting one of Spain's top flamenco venues, Anne Diamond, Nick Owen, Ainsley Harriott, Vicki Michelle and Christine Hamilton buckle up their dancing shoes to perform. The quintet then head to Madrid, where they bask in the splendour of the royal palace which, with more than 3,000 rooms, is one of the largest royal buildings in Europe.

The royal palace in Madrid Credit: Jenifoto - Fotolia

12. Monty Don's Paradise Gardens (BBC Two, 9pm)

In this series, Monty Don travels across the Islamic world and beyond in search of paradise gardens. The Koran, the holy book of Islam, tells of these magical places - green spaces filled with flowers and fruit where shade and water provide a safe haven from the harsh climate that dominates the Arab world. Don starts in Spain, a country synonymous with Christian traditions but which, for 800 years, was actually Islamic. At the Alhambra, he discovers the basic building blocks of paradise gardens - green spaces divided into four by channels of water that meet at a central fountain. In Seville, he explores their symbolic significance.