Zahra Pettican

Freelance Writer

United Kingdom

I'm a UK-based lifestyle and travel writer. I write for publications and brands. I have bylines in Lonely Planet, Reader’s Digest, Bon Appetit, Fodor’s, and the i Paper.

Fodors Travel Guide
Why Are Brits So Obsessed With These Tiny Beachside Sheds?

As Brits spend more time and money on staycations, 2021 is shaping up to be the year of the beach hut. The humble beach hut is a familiar sight along the UK's beaches and boardwalks. Except it isn't so humble these days.

Fodors Travel Guide
14 London Locations That Will Send Chills Up Your Spine

With over 2,000 years of history, it is safe to assume that not all of London's stories ended happily ever after. The royal city has seen its fair share of horror, tragedy, and mystery, making it the perfect destination for those interested in the paranormal.

Bon Appétit
11 Positively British Snacks to Order Online Before the Royal Wedding

Like any good spectator sport, royal weddings require a stash of snacks for enthusiastic viewers. But popcorn and hotdogs-no. Royal weddings call for something more occasion-appropriate. Something posh. Which is why I, actual British person, was called in for snack expertise. Anyone for yeast extract on a crumpet?
Magical Mersea: 6 ways to explore Essex's laid-back island

Your first glimpse of Mersea will be as you cross the Strood, an ancient causeway surrounded by salt marshes. Dominated by huge skies, the poker-straight road trails a well-worn Roman route where legends of ghostly soldiers abound - it's only 10 miles from Colchester, Britain's first Roman capital, after all.

Fodors Travel Guide
Scary Places in Transylvania That Aren't Dracula's Castle

Bran Castle is marketed as Dracula's home and attracts tourists in their droves. In reality, neither Bram Stoker nor his possible inspiration, Vlad the Impaler, had any particular connection to it. While Bran Castle looks the part with its high walls and Gothic turrets, it is distinctly lacking the fear factor.

The spooky secrets hidden in our walls - Reader's Digest

In the past, Britons would secure their houses against supernatural forces by burying lucky talismans deep within their walls. Here are some of archaeologists' creepier discoveries... Mummified cats and cat bones Dried cats and rats from the Stag Inn, All Saints Street, Hastings.

The 12 Best Things to Do in Colchester, England

Colchester has been around for a long time. It was Britain's first Roman capital and reminders of its ancient past are scattered throughout the town. Museums, restaurants, shops, pubs, and contemporary art venues sit within the longest-surviving town walls in England. The big attraction is the Norman castle and its beautiful park.

Reader's Digest
Why Queen Elizabeth Is the World's Most Famous Introvert

Queen Elizabeth II comes under intense scrutiny, but despite being a classic introvert she handles the attention well. The Queen has only given one interview while a sovereign. Her true personality remains elusive to the public. However, one thing is clear: Queen Elizabeth is an introvert, or at the very least, an ambivert.

Reader's Digest
65 Movie and TV Filming Locations You Can Actually Visit

Danjaq/Shutterstock Skyfall begins in Istanbul with James Bond on a spectacular motorbike chase scene through the Spice Market in the Eminonu district of Istanbul, Turkey. The chase moves to the rooftops of the Grand Bazaar and the magnificent Hagia Sophia mosque forms part of the backdrop.

Matador Network
How to piss off someone from Essex

Yes, everyone knows about Essex's reputation. People from Essex in particular are well aware of that reputation, thanks to the knowing looks and smirks we frequently get when we confess our roots. In order to avoid this, less hardy locals will respond to the innocent enquiry with ambiguous statements like "near London" or "in the South East."