My life in travel: Ben Miller, actor and comedian

'A holiday is a crucible for personal relationships'

First holiday memory?

Going to Menorca when I was about seven. It was my first foreign holiday and I remember drinking chocolate milk and lying in my bunk bed at night listening to people outside playing the guitar and singing. It was so exciting. I can also remember my father swimming in the sea and catching a diseased fish with his bare hands and bringing it back up the beach to us.

Best holiday?

About four years ago we went to a place called Cazenac in Prigord, France, for New Year with a bunch of friends. I think of myself as a bit of a gourmand and I ate my body weight in foie gras there; it was brilliant.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

I feel almost evangelical about Cornwall. When I was 16 I hitch-hiked around Tintagel and Bodmin Moor with a school friend called Richard Davenport and we had a great time. I've always found Cornwall such an exciting, bonkers, beautiful and completely occult province.

What have you learnt from your travels?

There are two trips that changed me. The first was Inter-railing as a student through Italy to the Mediterranean then going off the map a bit through Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and back up through Spain. I had a fantastic time, particularly in Algeria where I first experienced Muslim culture.

The second trip was what they now call a gap year but what we used to call a year off. I was 18 and went to college in Alta Loma in the San Bernardino Valley in California and had such a brilliant time. It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.

Ideal travelling companion?

A holiday is a crucible for personal relationships. My ideal companion is often someone who wants to do the same things as me. Alexander Armstrong and I have had very good holidays because we have the same interests of cigars and foie gras.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

I've done a bit of all three, but I prefer to get off the beaten track and find my own way a bit, which is a boring and middle-class thing to say. The last adventurous holiday I went on was to Brazil. I went to Rio and along to Buzios; I found Rio very exciting because you had to work things out for yourself.

Greatest travel luxury?

Staying in a really nice hotel. There's an odd camaraderie in hotels that you don't get anywhere else because you're in a little bubble. I like the soullessness of living in a hotel I'm not far off people like Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen who lived in hotels for months on end; it really appeals to me.

Holiday reading?

Reading is the main thing I do on holiday. I try and read novels because I don't get the chance usually.

Where has seduced you?

Cape Town, Umbria and Los Angeles, in a slightly unhealthy way. There's no better place on earth to ski than Switzerland; New Zealand is the most beautiful place I've ever seen; and Australia has the best food.

Better to travel or arrive?

I did quite a bit of work in Australia last year and I had to go back and forth a lot, sometimes for just a day. Oddly, going for a day was great but going for a month was harder. Travel is so variable, sometimes you can get a great seat on a plane, other times you can have a terrible experience.

Worst travel experience?

Even if you've had a bad time, it can change you. A holiday is effectively a kind of meditation because you remove yourself from your everyday environment and have the chance to think about things.

Worst hotel?

I was on tour with Alexander [Armstrong] in Brighton and we were put up in some terrible digs. I'm not joking when I say my room was like a small corridor.

Best hotel?

Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica, California, was one of the most amazing hotels I've stayed in. The Chateau Marmont in Hollywood is my second favourite, just for all the things that have happened there.

Favourite walk/ swim/ride/drive?

I love walking along the Regent's Canal in London. Robin Hood's Bay in Yorkshire has some amazing walks through little alleyways, too. Walking is a very British thing. I remember walking in Malibu and thinking that someone might come and arrest me.

Best meal abroad?

In Sydney I had grilled cuttlefish with salsa and it was absolutely delicious.

First thing you do when you arrive somewhere new?

I'm slightly obsessed with being able to have drinking water in my hotel room without having to rely on 10 bottles from the mini-bar or dodgy tap water. So I go out and stock up on bottled water and stuff to eat then walk back through the lobby with a carrier bag feeling like I've broken the rules somehow.

Dream trip?

India and China are top of my wish list, and the Orient-Express.

Favourite city?

To live in: London, and to visit: Sydney. I always think you'd have the most amazing life in Sydney because of the lovely weather, scenery and food.

Where next?

I'm going to Robin Hood's Bay with all my family in the summer. We have a big get-together, which is fun.

Ben Miller is appearing at Cheltenham Science Festival, which takes place from 9-13 June ( ). The Armstrong and Miller Show Live will tour the UK from 23 September-19 November ( )

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
peoplePamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals
Arts and Entertainment
tvExecutive says content is not 'without any purpose'
A cleaner prepares the red carpet for the opening night during the 59th International Cannes Film Festival May 17, 2006 in Cannes, France.
newsPowerful vacuum cleaners to be banned under EU regulations
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
sportLeague Managers' Association had described Malky Mackay texts as 'friendly banter'
Arts and Entertainment
tvSpielberg involved in bringing his 2002 film to the small screen
peopleCareer spanned 70 years, including work with Holocaust survivors
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
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
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
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

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Oracle 11g SQL 2008 DBA (Unix, Oracle RAC, Mirroring, Replicati

    £6000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Oracle 11...

    Recruitment Consultant (Graduate Trainee), Finchley Central

    £17K OTE £30K: Charter Selection: Highly successful and innovative specialist...

    SQL DBA/ C# Developer - T-SQL, C#.Net

    £45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Working with an exciting ...

    Sales and Office Administrator – Sports Media

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

    Day In a Page

    Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

    Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

    The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
    Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

    Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

    A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
    Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

    Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

    Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
    Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

    Nick Clegg the movie

    Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
    Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

    Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

    Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
    Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

    Waxing lyrical

    Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
    Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

    Revealed (to the minute)

    The precise time when impressionism was born
    From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

    Make the most of British tomatoes

    The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
    10 best men's skincare products

    Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

    Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
    Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

    Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

    The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
    La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

    Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

    Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
    Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
    Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

    Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

    Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
    Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
    Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

    Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

    Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape