My life in travel: Carol Kirkwood

'LA was great: you could be at the Getty one day and in Santa Monica the next'

Carol Kirkwood is a weather presenter, best known for forecasting on BBC Breakfast.

First holiday memory?

Jersey. We stayed in St Helier and it was my younger brother's birthday so we took him to the zoo as a treat. I come from the Highlands, where there were no zoos, so I remember thinking: 'Wow! Look at these animals!'. The one that really sticks in my mind was the orangutan. I'd never even seen a monkey, much less an orangutan, so it was special.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

Morar, on the west coast of Scotland, has the most beautiful beaches. It's known for its silver sands, because the sand is so fine it seeps through your hands like in an egg timer and glistens when it's sunny. There are these big dunes too, which we used to roll down as kids.

Best holiday?

The Maldives. You can justify being lazy because there's not a lot to do but wander out of your accommodation, eat loads of fresh fruit salad for breakfast and then head to your sun lounger to take in some rays, read your book, and listen to music. It's just so relaxing and you don't feel as if you've got to suddenly scoot off and look at the culture.

What have you learnt from your travels?

That I really don't need to take so many pairs of shoes. I used to take shoes for every eventuality, but you can really trim down to three or four pairs: nice ones for the evening; trainers in case you do anything energetic; flip flops for the beach; and comfortable shoes for a city break.

Ideal travelling companion?

My friend Sue. Forget partners, they're a pain in the neck. I like going with Sue because we like a mixture of culture, shopping, relaxing, and going out for a nice evening meal. She's also brilliant at organising trips, so all I have to do is rock up.

We went to Paris on a shoestring, just to see if we could do it, and also did a more extravagant one to Los Angeles last year, where we hired a car and went off like Thelma and Louise.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

I love both culture and the beach, so Los Angeles was great because we could go to the Getty museum one day and be in Santa Monica the next. We got caught up in the glamour of it. We also did some really dreadful things, that all the girls would do, like hunting down Eva Longoria's restaurant, Beso in West Hollywood, and having a meal in there.

Holiday reading?

I don't read Tolstoy or anything like that when I'm on holiday. It's shameful, but I like rom-coms, magazines and easy reading. My partner's more cultural though, so I'll pick up what he's been reading. My favourite book that he ever passed on was by Stella Rimington, the former director general of MI5. I love that kind of thing as well.

Where has seduced you?

I go to New York every year just before Christmas with my sister and love it. I love the shopping, the razzmatazz, and going up the Statue of Liberty. But it's particularly special at Christmas, because of the ice rinks and all the traditional window decorations. We normally go the day after Thanksgiving, which is Black Friday, when there are millions of sales on. Normally, it snows too, which really gets you in the mood for Christmas.

Worst travel experience?

A flight to Sydney, en route to a wedding in Hamilton Island. I'd been working during the morning, then hopped on a flight at 10pm, had something to eat and fell asleep. When I woke up in Singapore, I looked down and thought 'Whose legs are those?!' They had swollen up from my knee to my toes and my legs were gigantic.

It took three days of doing an awful lot of walking to get them back down to normal. After that, I went straight out bought DVT socks and always wear them now.

Favourite walk?

Dartmouth. I was there recently for the first time and the weather was absolutely fabulous. The views as you walk along the coast are stunning and you get lost in time as you wander along past beautiful scenery.

Best meal abroad?

The chateaubriand I ate at a five-star hotel in Dubai. It was a very romantic evening, which always helps, but the food was cooked to perfection and washed down with some beautiful wine. There was love in the air that night.

Favourite city?

I just love everything about Bath. The shops, the Roman elements, the baths themselves, the countryside around. I like being a tourist there.

Where next?

I'm going back to New York again just before Christmas, and to Las Vegas with some of my colleagues from BBC Breakfast – Sally Nugent and Steph McGovern, who do sport and business. What happens on tour, stays on tour!

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