Amanda Holden: My Life In Travel

'I fell in love with Florence - that's why it's my daughter's middle name'


First holiday memory?

We used to go to Cornwall every year around Polperro, where we'd rent a house or go camping. I have memories of buckets and spades and eating sand sandwiches and cockles in polystyrene cups on the beach. My parents live in Bude, so I go back quite a lot.

Best holiday?

I have a place in Norfolk that I go to at weekends, which I love. Otherwise I was lucky enough to go to Necker Island in the Caribbean when I was about five months pregnant. There were 12 of us and the staff were so accommodating - we dined on the beach and on cliff tops, you could probably eat on the roof if you wanted to. If you were hungry in the middle of the night you could help yourself to something in the kitchen. It was like being in a gorgeous open house.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

Norfolk, near Burnham Market, where my house is. Holkham is a vast beach where we walk our dogs - it's like walking on the moon. We eat at the Hoste Arms, which is owned by friends of ours. Norfolk hasn't been spoilt by tourism; it's one of the best places in the world.

What have you learnt from your travels?

I wish I could learn to pack economically, although now I've got a baby I've learnt to pack a little bit better. I once went to see my sister in Thailand and it took several men to get my suitcase off the carousel at the airport!

Ideal travelling companion?

My partner Chris, because we have such a good time together. We like to sunbathe for the first week then go and explore.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

My first major holiday with Chris was in Florence. We stayed at the Villa San Michele, which was stunning. We sat by the pool for the first few days then went out and saw the Duomo and soaked up the culture. We also enjoyed long lunches and siestas. That's our perfect holiday.

Greatest travel luxury?

I love being able to fly Virgin Atlantic Upper Class. You're picked up and dropped off at the airport and there are flat beds with lovely quilts on the plane. It's particularly nice when you're travelling home because it takes the edge off finishing a holiday. Because I spend a lot of time going back and forth to South Africa filming Wild At Heart I always try and fly with them because it makes it so much more enjoyable.

Where has seduced you?

I love Florence, my daughter has that as a middle name. More widely I just love Italy - the food, the culture, the weather and buildings.

Worst travel experience?

It was in Venice. I was in the middle of doing Thoroughly Modern Millie, and when I was there I keeled over with back pain. They mis-diagnosed it so I ended up being rushed to hospital and it turned out to be an acute kidney infection. It ruined the holiday, particularly since we had started the trip in Barcelona where Chris had been really ill.

Worst holiday?

A holiday in Cyprus with my ex-husband. We stayed at the Hotel Mirabelle and it was like a Carry On film. The hotel was half built and there was a crane outside our room.

Worst hotel?

The Royal Bath Hotel in Bournemouth. Chris and I went for tea and it was one of the worst services I've ever experienced.

Best hotel?

The Columbus in Monte Carlo. It's really funky and modern and has stunning views and a lovely bar where everyone congregates. You feel that you're getting real value for money because it's not overly expensive.

Favourite walk/swim/ride/drive?

My favourite walk is from Holkham Beach to Well's Beach. I also love walking through the woods on the Sandringham Estate.

Where next?

Back to South Africa to film Wild at Heart. Before that Chris and I are heading to Babington House in the Cotswolds for a few days to relax and to take our daughter swimming.

Amanda Holden is fronting the Goldsmiths jewellery campaign

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
art
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features staging of a playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
News
i100This Instagram photo does not prove Russian army is in Ukraine
Life and Style
Martha Stewart wrote an opinion column for Time magazine this week titled “Why I Love My Drone”
lifeLifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot... to take photos of her farm
Sport
sportVan Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
filmReview: Sometimes the immersive experience was so good it blurred the line between fiction and reality
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
i100
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Environment
Tyred out: should fair weather cyclists have a separate slow lane?
environmentFormer Labour minister demands 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists
News
people
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Sales and Office Administrator – Sports Media

    £23,000: Sauce Recruitment: A global leader in sports and entertainment is now...

    C++ Software Engineer - Hounslow, West London - C++ - to £60K +

    £40000 - £60000 per annum + Pension, Healthcare : Deerfoot IT Resources Limite...

    VB.NET and C# developer (VB.NET,C#,ASP.NET)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...

    Visitor Experience volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary role: Old Royal Naval College: To assist the Visitor Experien...

    Day In a Page

    Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

    Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

    Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
    Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

    Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

    When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
    5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

    In grandfather's footsteps

    5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
    Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

    Martha Stewart has flying robot

    The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
    Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

    Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

    Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
    A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

    A tale of two presidents

    George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

    The dining car makes a comeback

    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
    Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

    Gallery rage

    How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

    Eye on the prize

    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
    Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

    Women's rugby

    Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
    Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
    Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

    How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

    As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
    We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

    We will remember them

    Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
    Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
    Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

    Acting in video games gets a makeover

    David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices