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Carl Wilkinson switches on to new electric cars

Carl Wilkinson switches on to new electric cars

• Corbin Motors’ three-wheel Sparrow (right) and Merlin Roadster electric single-seaters are capable of up to 70mph and 11 Omph respectively. Fitted with leather seats, laptop sockets and full audio systems, the range combines low-energy consumption with speed, luxury and style. Sparrow $14,900; Merlin Roadster $23,900; www.corbinmotors.com

• Ford THINK City is a two-seater electric car with a top speed of just 56mph. However, it generates zero pollution, gets free parking in some London boroughs and has an electric ‘fill up’ of around 40p (from household sockets) that takes you 53 miles.

Currently only available to lease, £325 per month; www. thinkmobility. com

• Honda’s Bulldog car, still at the concept stage, will hold two fold-away electric mini-scooters to beat jams, parking and pollution. To save space, the scooters will double as rear seats and will be charged while docked in the Bulldog, www.honda.co.uk

If you’re planning a summer break on the west coast of Scotland, detour to the Isle of Bute. Mount Stuart, above, the mock-Gothic Victorian mansion of ex-Formula 1 driver and current Marquis of Bute, Johnny Dumfries, reopened last month. It has a new visitor centre by architects Munkenbeck + Marshall, with a gallery, shop and restaurant, while on the main lawn artist Kate Whiteford has created a 100-metre-long ‘land drawing’ of a Bronze Age necklace, cut into the earth and embedded with silver sand. From next month, nearby Loch Lomond will also have its own visitor centre, Loch Lomond Shores. Set in 30 acres of woodland at the loch’s southern tip, the complex will give visitors access to shores hitherto the preserve of private waterfront residences and hotels. Part of the centre is a baronial-style tower containing an Imax cinema that will screen films about the area’s history and wildlife. A luxury hotel is also planned. Marcus Fairs/Rufus Purdy For Mount Stuart call 01700 50387; entry to house and gardens £7. For Loch Lomond Shores call 01389 754872

About a third of Spain’s 87 state-owned paradors are former castles, palaces and monasteries. The latest conversion is , a sixth-century Benedictine monastery in Orense, Galicia. The parador, which opens next month, has a baroque fagade, Renaissance cloister and Romanesque and Gothic details. Also reopening this year after renovations are Cuenca’s , an

eighth-century fort, and Navarra’s , a 15th-century palace. Moorish architectural influence can still be seen in the Alarcon’s arches and floor plan; the Olite, which has stained-glass windows, was once the residence of Navarra’s kings. As with all paradors, the Olite’s menu features local ingredients – here small, sweet piquillo peppers steal the show. Amanda August Doubles in all properties from about €88 (about £55). For booking information call 00 34 91 516 6666

Tip off… Sip Champagne with the in-crowd at Vertigo on the 61st floor of Bangkok’s Banyan Tree hotel, the world’s highest open-air bar. Call 00 66 2 679 1200

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