My life in travel: Fay Ripley, actress and cookery writer

'Sydney has the best food in the world'

First holiday memory?

We used to go to a place called Port Grimaud in the south of France. We stayed in very basic accommodation, but it was on this amazing beach. My dad had a boat moored there and I remember a mistral storm came in one year and he swam out to save it from thrashing against the rocks. I thought he was James Bond, and at that point he achieved superhero status.

Best holiday?

I got married in Lucca in Italy. We rented the most extraordinary old garrison with a lemon grove and a private chapel. We only had 40 people, so the combination of that villa and a few local B&Bs gave everyone somewhere to stay.

Other than having my children and beating Gordon Ramsay on The F-Word, it was the best day of my life. We're coming up to our 10th anniversary now and I'd love to relive it. The downside of visiting my in-laws is definitely cushioned by the fact that they live in Italy.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

Whitstable in Kent – we have a tiny cottage there. The British seaside doesn't do it for me normally, but there's something very particular about Whitstable. I love all the restaurants and the amazing fresh local fish I can buy in the harbour. It's almost stuck in a time warp, but it's quirky and the high street has brilliant shops.

What have you learnt from your travels?

That I need good food, a hairdryer and, where possible, a ping pong table. Can I also point out, I'm pretty good.

Ideal travelling companion?

My husband – we like the same things. A sunset isn't quite as beautiful unless somebody's looking at it with you.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

A beach bum who needs a bit of culture. Wherever we stay, I like to have a little village nearby; I never like to be too far from a good market.

Greatest travel luxury?

Something I don't do enough of – flying first class. I once got flown out to Jamaica because my husband was filming there. I went with Air Jamaica and I thought I'd put my feet up, relax and sleep. But no: the music was turned up, the fashion show started and an exercise routine ensued. If you thought you'd just read, they called out your seat number and said "Hey, 5c, you don't want to get deep vein thrombosis, let's move those legs."

Holiday reading?

I really like Sadie Jones, but the key with young children is short chapters. If there was such a thing as a novel with half-page chapters that would be ideal.

Where has seduced you?

New York. My husband and I started dating there. It's a very romantic city, especially in winter with the ice rink in Central Park. You feel like you're in a movie.

Better to travel or arrive?

Arrive – I like the expectation of what's ahead. As a child in the Seventies, I used to love travelling; it felt so glamorous. But now I find it a chore.

Worst travel experience?

Last year, we went to the Princesa Yaiza hotel in Lanzarote. We arrived on the island, which is like landing on the moon because there's not a tree in sight and not a blade of grass as you travel through the volcanic terrain. The lobby of the hotel was plush, but I just didn't like the room. It was barren with just a couple of wooden chairs and a sofa that looked like it was from Ikea.

Best hotel?

Babington House in Somerset. It's expensive, but I think it's the only place where I've never complained. I always leave thinking it was fantastic.

Favourite ride?

On my dad's boat in the south of France. We used to find little coves and have picnics on beaches that were unreachable by foot.

Best meal?

At the Hotel La Bobadilla in Loja, Andalucia with my husband. We had the "fine dining experience", which was very quiet, very grown-up, with lots of clinking of cutlery and no children allowed – and he proposed to me. I got on the phone in a state of hysteria to tell my parents and the waiter came over to say that a German couple had complained. As my husband tried to reason with the woman, one of her shoulder pads came off and they started to call the police. We were thrown out but went on to have a fantastic evening drinking in the local bars.

Best city?

Sydney. The food is the best in the world as far as I'm concerned and the architecture is beautiful, with lots of little Victorian terraces and amazing modern buildings. It's incredibly multicultural and the shopping's amazing. Plus, it's surrounded by water, beaches and inlets. You could never feel claustrophobic there. It's one of the few places in the world I could imagine living.

Where next?

Vila Vita Parc in the Algarve on a family holiday – the kids are really excited about going – and apparently the food is fantastic. It appears to tick all of the boxes for us.

Fay Ripley narrates 'Perfect...' on the Good Food channel, Mondays-Wednesdays at 7pm until 8 June

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Life and Style
tech
News
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
film
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
News
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
people
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
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - Bedfordshire/Cambs border - £32k

    £27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...

    Recruitment Genius: Class 1 HGV Driver

    £23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This successful group of compan...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas