My Life In Travel: Amanda Lamb

'A first-class flight to Necker Island would be nice'


First holiday memory?

When I was about six or seven, our family all went down to Saltash in Cornwall to stay in a chalet at a holiday camp. There was a games room that my brother and I spent endless hours playing in and I remember racing to the swimming pool to see three floating dead mice; I was so excited.

Best holiday?

A holiday about a year and a half ago when I first got together with my boyfriend. We stayed in a castle called Castello di Vicarello in the Tuscan hills. We were the only two people in the whole hotel because it was the middle of December. It was wonderful just watching the sunrise and sunset each day.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

Sennen Cove in Cornwall. There's something about it that is just magical and the beach is really beautiful. I remember thinking if I could live there and produce children and keep chickens I would be happy.

What have you learnt from your travels?

A decent pillow and duvet – along with soundproofing – go a long way to improving a hotel room.

Ideal travelling companion?

Because I have spent so long travelling on my own, I think I'm my ideal travelling partner, because I don't have to worry about anybody else; it's quite selfish. I have yet to attempt travelling with my daughter, Willow, who is six months old, so being one of those women on a plane with a screaming baby should be interesting.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

Given half a chance, I am a beach bum. However, I'd throw in half a day of culture to appease my guilt about being such a philistine.

Greatest travel luxury?

Considering the amount of travelling I do, I should have some kind pillow that was hand-knitted from Lebanese goat hair or something, but I don't.

Holiday reading?

Another reason why I like travelling on my own is so that I can read. Flights are the only time people can't get you on the phone or on email. I often try to get a book about where I'm going, such as The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón in Barcelona, or The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova in Italy, which scared the bejesus out of me.

Where has seduced you?

Marrakech. I remember standing in the main square thinking it could be 50, 100 or 5,000 years ago. I was mesmerised by the smells, the sights, the sounds and the colours. I think it's the most beautiful place.

Better to travel or arrive?

Unless I turn left on a plane – which happens so infrequently you would not believe – I'm not a fan of flying.

Worst travel experience?

A flight to South Africa that was delayed for hours at Heathrow. We boarded at about 11pm and my seat was in the middle of an economy row. By some stroke of luck, I was upgraded to first class, so there I was in a seat bigger than my sofa at home with a gin and tonic, ready to go. Then the pilot announced that the plane couldn't leave. I was put on a flight the next day, in a seat that was back in economy.

Worst holiday?

A cycling tour of the high Atlas Mountains in Morocco with an ex. It had all the elements of a trip that I abhor – hard physical exercise with a group of people I didn't want to socialise with, staying in budget accommodation.

Worst hotel?

We were staying at a beautiful five-star hotel in Marseille during some filming, but there had been a mix-up with reservations so we had to move. It was August so everywhere was full and the only hotel the production crew could find was a place where the bed was a piece of foam and a hosepipe masqueraded as the shower. There were various forms of human waste on the sheets, too. I lasted a night there.

Best hotel?

Babington House in Somerset. I went two weeks before Willow was due and had afternoon naps and massages. Another favourite is Moondance Lodge in the Margaret River region, Australia. It is a series of eight villas on ancient tribal camping ground. You can hear the wildlife from your bed, it's just amazing.

Favourite walk/swim/ride/drive?

Swimming in Golitha Falls, Cornwall. It is a series of cascades on the River Fowey and looks like it's from The Lord of the Rings, with mossy banks and fast flowing water that goes into a huge plunge pool. It takes your breath away.

Best meal abroad?

A family home that opened as a dining room up the side of a mountain overlooking Hvar, Croatia. We had organic lamb, beautiful potatoes and home-made bread and wine, all for about £5.

First thing you do when you arrive somewhere new?

I light a candle that I burn a lot at home.

Dream trip?

I spend too much time in built-up areas so I want to see big landscapes like the Canadian Rockies. Failing that, a first-class flight to Necker Island would be nice, but will never happen.

Favourite city?

New York. I remember thinking it's one of few cities that that has a heartbeat. Architecturally, my favourite city is Paris, but Parisians scare me so I don't go there a lot.

Where next?

Camping in Dorset, then to Puglia. I've got an apartment there, which has just been finished so I'm really looking forward to seeing it.

Request a free copy of 'The Little Book of Holiday Fun', with a foreword by Amanda Lamb, from halosnhorns.co.uk

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