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With its secluded cliff-side perch, pristine private beach and convenient location, the property is a fine choice for first-time visitors. The number of private villas is also on the rise, with developments creeping up the steep hillsides. Despite all this new construction, Bodrum is no upstart.

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Founded as the ancient city of Helicarnassas, it was first mentioned by Homer in the "Odyssey" and then by Herodotus, and was a thriving trading port when it was captured by Alexander the Great in the fourth century. Spreading upwards from a crescent-shaped bay dominated by the towering 15th-century castle of St. Peter, Bodrum today is popular for its markets, its nightlife, and its ferry port, from which boats make daily day trips to the Greek island of Kos, 50 minutes away.

While much of the castle -- including its famed museum of underwater archaeology -- is closed for renovations until early , enough is open to experience the grandeur of the setting with its commanding views of the harbor.

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The nearby 4th-century Tomb of Mausolus -- one of the original seven wonders of the ancient world and from which we get the world mausoleum -- and the Greek amphitheater above it give a sense of Helicarnassas' storied past. But the primary lure of Bodrum, which also encompasses the entire thumb-shaped peninsula north of town, is its golden sand beaches, and there are quite literally dozens to choose from.

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  4. As the road dips and weaves along the coast, humble fishing villages alternate with glitzy yacht harbors for a dizzying variety of seaside experiences. There, you can sample the stuffed mussels known as midye dolma, a local staple, before moving on to traditional Turkish dondurma ice cream, its characteristic chewy texture derived from the addition of orchid root flour and a type of natural gum, or resin, called mastic. Refreshing flavors include fresh melon and mint. As the tide drops and the late afternoon sun's rays illuminate the water, it's a good time to spot the King's Road of the ancient city of Myndos, its enormous stone blocks now submerged in the waters of the lagoon leading to Rabbit Island.

    The ruins in Ephesus, about one hundred miles north of Bodrum, are worth a visit. Most visitors to the area take at least one half- or full-day boat trip, which is highly recommended as the best way to appreciate the craggy beauty of the coastline, which can't be seen in full from the road. Depending on the itinerary, boat trips may include snorkeling, a stop at one of the many small islands offshore, lunch -- or all three if it's an all-day trip.

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    Our boat trip featured a stop at Black Island Kara Ada , known for its mineral pools, and a lunch spread of traditional mezze small plates. A lavish spread of cheeses, olives, sausage, honey and jams served with cucumber, tomato and fluffy bread to be dipped and slathered in any combination you choose is a traditional Turkish breakfast. No matter what our day's plan, we start off with a traditional kahvalti -- or Turkish breakfast -- a lavish spread of cheeses, olives, sausage, honey and jams served with cucumber, tomato and fluffy bread to be dipped and slathered in any combination you choose.

    With some parts dating from the 10th century BCE and splendid examples of early Greek and Roman architecture, Ephesus is both the oldest and most complete ancient city ever excavated. And it doesn't disappoint: Standing in the middle of the broad Arcadian road, its massive blocks of marble still perfectly fitted and smooth from 2, years of use, it's not hard to imagine the thunder of chariot wheels or the march of gladiators en route to the enormous amphitheater that stair-steps up the hill above it. While it is possible to do Ephesus as a day trip from Bodrum, staying in the adjacent village of Selcuk or the nearby port city of Kusadasi makes it easier to be at the gates when they open, an advantage for those who want to experience the ruins before the large tour buses arrive.

    Also on most visitors' itineraries are the area's other historic sites, chief among them the Maryemana, or Virgin Mary's House, where the devoted light candles in the tiny chapel and tuck prayers between the stones of the wishing wall, and the Basilica of St. This simple pillared tomb is believed to be the final resting place of St. John the Apostle; above it, Ayasoluk Castle makes a perfect spot to watch the sunset. Located on the Cesme peninsula an hour and a half north of Ephesus, Alacati makes a perfect final stop for those who choose to make their return flight from Izmir.

    Substantial houses of oatmeal-colored stone draped in clouds of bougainvillea, each with its bright blue, red or yellow door and overhanging balcony windows line the streets.

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    Boutique hotels define the experience here, among them our choice of Alavya, an artful enclave in the heart of the village made up of five historic houses joined together around a restful garden that was once the town's open-air cinema. Still a center of Turkey's wine and olive production, Alacati is renowned for its produce and artisanal food, and the Saturday draws shoppers from far beyond the region. Stalls line the main road through town and extend up numerous side streets, tables laden with fruit and vegetables, fresh bread, and the day's fish catch on ice.

    The chapters are themed collections of passages and lists, most extending to just a page or two.

    These range from historical accounts of the Victorian beach holiday to lists of the animals you might come across near the shore, the rules of classic beach games, glossaries of nautical terms and stories of ghost ships over Goodwin Sands, the notorious shallows off the Kent coast where some 2, ships have come to grief. In this sense, Beside the Seaside is an end-of-pier lucky dip of seaside fun.

    The compendium format is one that Struthers employed in her previous book about lost countryside wisdom, Red Sky at Night. Here it ensures that the book is well suited to being dipped in and out of between applications of factor 50 and trips to the lolly van. Though the content necessarily lacks depth, Struthers often delivers satisfying dollops of entertainment. Struthers tells us that more than million of his postcards were sold during his lifetime.

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    Little good it did him, though. McGill never earned any royalties from the sales, just very modest payments for his original designs. McGill was fined under the Obscene Publications Act. Equally engaging are the snippets about pirates and smugglers, which include explanations for how the jolly roger gained its moniker and Blackbeard his notoriety, as well as the signs by which smugglers knew whether an inn might offer them a safe haven from the law — this being signalled, apparently, by lime trees planted outside or the image of a dolphin on a wall.

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    Unfortunately, like a seaside town that has seen better days, Beside the Seaside delivers rather less than it promises. This is why, she adds, the position of the moon has such a dominant influence on our tides. But it is wrong. In fact, the gravitational pull of the moon on the Earth is not twice that of the sun but around times weaker.

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    The position of the moon has the greater influence on our tides because it is so much closer to us. When it comes to the ebb and flow of our oceans, it is the proximity of the celestial body that matters more than the overall strength of its gravity. But there are other ways one might feel a little short-changed. A few of the entries have the faint, salty whiff of Wikipedia, such as the seven-page list of fish species found in British waters or the six pages dedicated to the names and coordinates of all the lighthouses around the British Isles. Its phenomenal success has spawned many imitators over the past decade, but here the lists feel a little lazy.

    Neither surprising nor revealing, they seem more like page fillers. But all in all, Beside the Seasid e is a fun book that is awash with edifying flotsam and jetsam. And just in case you are interested, flotsam refers to cargo that floats ashore after a shipwreck, while jetsam is that which has been thrown overboard deliberately. For tickets, visit hayfestival.