Angellica Bell: My Life In Travel - News & Advice - Travel - The Independent

Angellica Bell: My Life In Travel

'Whenever I go to St Lucia I stay with family, so I'm treated like a local'


First holiday memory?

When I was six, I went to California with my mum and sister. The memory that really stays with me from that trip is the sound of crickets. My sister and I caught them in eggshells. We wanted to take them home, but they escaped.

Best holiday?

I had a fantastic time in Cyprus a few years ago. The hotel - the Grecian Park - was amazing. There was a cove with a beautiful sandy beach just down the road and it had the best room service I've ever experienced. I went out in Agia Napa, which was great fun. However, when I was dancing on a bar, I jumped off and hurt my ankle.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

Brighton has a really good vibe. I love staying at the Hotel du Vin near The Lanes, and pottering around the shops. I have a great memory of watching Withnail and I on a big screen on the beach.

What have you learnt from your travels?

There are so many beautiful places, with fascinating cultures. I'm really interested in history so I love finding out about places.

Ideal travelling companion?

Someone active; I don't like people that sleep when they're on holiday. My boyfriend is the best companion because he's open to experiencing new things.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

I like to relax on beaches, but I also like to visit at least one cultural site and go where the locals go. I also like going out at night.

Holiday reading?

I like Stephen Fry and I'm reading The Da Vinci Code at the moment.

Where has seduced you?

St Lucia, because my family are from there - Dad is from Castries and Gran is from Soufriere. My parents divorced when I was quite young and Dad went to live there. When I was 18, I flew out to see him and had a fantastic time. I always stay with family rather than in a hotel, so I get a taste of real St Lucian life and I'm treated like a local. I love the sulphur springs and botanical gardens; it's such a pretty island.

Better to travel or arrive?

I like both - I like the build-up to holidays and I love duty-free. There's nothing better than when the heat hits you as you step off a plane.

Worst travel experience?

A family holiday to Sardinia when I was about 11. None of us are particularly strong swimmers, and my sister and I went into the sea on a Lilo. All of a sudden, the weather changed and the waves got choppy and we began drifting out. I started to panic but thankfully somebody swam out and brought us back to the shore. I was so frightened.

Worst hotel?

A motel in Santa Monica, California. We felt as if someone from Reservoir Dogs was about to batter the door down.

Best hotel?

The Jebel Ali in Dubai. It's just unbelievable. The weather was the hottest I think I've ever experienced, the room service was amazing, and the room was lovely, overlooking the sea.

Favourite walk/swim/ride/drive?

A walk across the Yorkshire Dales. My step-family is from Sheffield, so I know the area quite well. I was recently driven around Las Vegas in a pink Cadillac by an Elvis impersonator - I felt like a star. Another favourite drive was on a family holiday when we drove across France to Genoa, where we boarded a ferry to Sardinia.

Best meal abroad?

An Arabian themed meal at the Jebel Ali, complete with belly dancers and hookah pipes.

First thing you do when you arrive somewhere?

Get to the beach.

Dream trip?

I wouldn't mind taking a couple of months out to go to Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand. I've got family from Malaysia, so I'd really like to visit.

Favourite city?

New York. I feel at home when I'm there because it's really down to earth, and the Hudson Hotel is fantastic.

Where next?

Filming in Thailand and South Africa. I'm hoping to go away with my boyfriend in October. Hopefully, it will be somewhere long-haul and we'll be staying in a five-star hotel!

Angellica Bell presents the new travel show 'Departure Lounge' on BBC1, from Friday 29 July, 7pm

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