Hugh Cornwell: My Life In Travel

'I'd love to drive to Sri Lanka in a state-of-the-art Morris Minor'
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The Independent Travel

First holiday memory?

Holidays with my family at Selsey Bill near Chichester. I remember floating in the sea in a large black rubber tyre that was moored to one of the breakers.

Best holiday?

I went to the Maldives about five years ago, which was amazing. We stayed at one of those resorts whose name ends with -fushi, I can't remember which one. We did the lot - swimming, snorkelling - it was beautiful.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

Caldey Island off Tenby in Wales. Tenby is a beautiful town but it has become a bit of stag and hen party destination. You catch a little boat to Caldey Island, where there's a monastery and a fantastic golden beach. Nobody is allowed to stay there overnight other than the monks; you can imagine that you're somewhere else.

What have you learnt from your travels?

To have no expectations.

Ideal travelling companion?

My ex-partner was a perfect travelling companion but sadly we're no longer together.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

A mixture of beach and culture. I live on adrenalin with my style of work so it's the last thing I want on holiday. Life's a holiday when you do what I do and I get to travel a lot. I have been on the road for about 25 weeks this year, from Australia to Bahrain and all over the UK.

Greatest travel luxury?

A car - I like being able to jump in and go somewhere else; it's so liberating. I hate tour buses, though, because you have to wait for the driver to take a break and you can't stop when you want to. Their manoeuvrability is terrible and they nearly always break down.

Holiday reading?

I only read when I'm travelling, it's the only time I can concentrate properly. I like a great novel, I have just read The Dark Clue by James Wilson, which is his first novel and is pretty good.

Where has seduced you?

Southern Spain, particularly along the Atlantic coast. I go there a lot because it's unspoilt and clean with great community life and fantastic seafood.

Better to travel or arrive?

I love travelling but I like arriving too.

Worst travel experience?

Flying to Galway where I was playing at a festival. The flight was delayed from Heathrow and about 45 minutes after we had taken off the plane was struck by lightning so we had to turn back. We were then delayed by another seven hours. Strangely, it was the day that the new Pope was announced, and I worked out we were struck by lightning at that exact moment.

Worst holiday?

My first trip to Morocco, about 25 years ago. My managers booked me a flight but it was in the days when you couldn't do that without a hotel reservation. We arrived on Christmas Eve and told the cab driver the name of the hotel, but we found out that it didn't exist. It started a terrible chain of events: I got really ill and missed the flight home.

Worst hotel?

The Cascades in the foothills of the Atlas mountains outside Agadir, Morocco. It could be the most fantastic hotel in the world because the location is superb, but it seems to me that the guy that runs it hasn't spent any money on it for years and it's slowly deteriorating. A shame for a potentially fabulous place.

Best hotel?

The Manila Hotel in Manila. You could live there. It's got everything: it's by the beach and there are about five superb restaurants; the service is fantastic too.

Favourite walk/swim/ride/drive?

I love driving anywhere in Spain because you don't have the traffic problems that you have here and the scenery is so wonderful.

Best meal abroad?

It was at a restaurant called La Fontanilla on the outskirts of Conil in Spain. It's on the beach and the food is superb - the seafood is stunning.

First thing you do when you arrive somewhere new?

Find a great restaurant.

Dream trip?

I'd love to drive to Sri Lanka in a state-of-the-art Morris Minor, because they have a base there. It would be the most fantastic drive from the UK factory to the one in Sri Lanka.

Favourite city?

I've always had great friendships and experiences in New York. I've been to Sydney a few times recently and it's fabulous. It's the perfect Australian experience because it's laid-back, the climate's lovely and everywhere you are, you're close to the sea.

Where next?

I'm going to Galicia in northern Spain.

Hugh Cornwell's live album 'Dirty Dozen' is out now and his 12-date UK tour starts on 11 October ( www.hughcornwell.com)

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