'We rent a villa away from the crowds - I love not hearing English voices'

Going to the island of Formentera, off Ibiza, with my parents and brother and sister when I was about seven or eight. We would go to a different beach every day and eat an ice cream on the way home. It was fabulous.

Best holiday?

Sailing on a Turkish gulet with a group of friends. The captain sets sail while

you're asleep and you wake up and have breakfast in a different place every morning.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

Poole - we have friends who own a little beach house there. The south coast seems to have its own climate, it gets extraordinarily warm in the summer. Because I'm half-Australian, I've been spoilt with wonderful beaches so that's probably why I love Poole.

What have you learnt from your travels?

I think you should go to places that have been recommended to you. Most of my holidays are for relaxing, so we usually rent a villa somewhere away from the crowds. I love not hearing an English voice when I go on holiday.

Ideal travelling companion?

My husband. I rarely go abroad without my kids, but a week away just the two of us is a real joy.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

I love places like New York, where I want to go into every museum. However, now I have young children I don't want to drag them around galleries so I don't get much of a chance.

Greatest travel luxury?

I was once told to take a scented candle with me, which was great advice because hotel rooms can smell unwelcoming and sterile. I'm also given flowers at shows, so it's nice to put a bunch in your room.

Where has seduced you?

Barcelona has a wonderful atmosphere. I can't imagine ever getting bored there. I also love San Francisco - because again it's a city built on water. I can't wait to take my husband there because he's Australian and believes that Sydney is the best city in the world.

Better to travel or arrive?

I quite like travel, it's part of the excitement of going away. I travel quite a bit, in a year I probably go twice to Japan, once to Australia, then to Europe at least six times. It can be crazy. My kids are addicted to plane journeys, which is good.

Holiday reading?

I don't get much of a chance to read. If I'm on a plane without my kids I like to paint my nails. I do love reading a good book but often I'm too tired and end up re-reading the last chapter.

Worst travel experience?

I came back from holiday and had seriously bad food poisoning, which started on the plane. I couldn't leave the bathroom for about four days so that put paid to the relaxation of the holiday.

Worst holiday?

I once hit a cliff on a boat. We were coming into a narrow port on a Greek island and our jib got stuck and the engine failed. Everybody was watching us, but thankfully somebody helped.

Worst hotel?

A hotel in New York, which had rodents. The whole of the Royal Ballet was staying there and we had to move rooms because people kept finding mice or rats in their rooms. We could hear them scratching at night, but we couldn't change hotels because there were so many of us.

Best hotel?

The Hotel Eden, near the Spanish Steps in Rome. It is truly beautiful. I had never been to Rome before so my husband arranged for us to stay there. I would go back now if I could.

Best meal abroad?

A meal in a Club Med resort in Turkey. We ate outdoors every night and the food was amazingly fresh and felt so healthy.

First thing you do when you arrive somewhere new?

I like to unpack fully and get outside as soon as I can to explore and find out where to eat that night. Then I'll probably have a drink.

Dream trip?

I'd love to travel around the world for a year with the kids. When I was a child, my parents took me around the States in a caravan, which was great so I'd love to give them an experience like that. I've also always wanted to sail around the Canary Islands because I've heard so much about them and they sound wonderful.

Favourite city?

London is high up there because I always love coming home. Sydney is my dream city, especially now that I have children. I love being able to be outdoors and to go to the beach whenever you like.

Where next?

I'm going to Italy in a couple of weeks' time, to work with my partner, Roberto Bolle. Then I'm doing Romeo and Juliet at the Royal Opera House in London later this month.

Darcey Bussell's Pilates For Life DVD (EMI) is out on Monday

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