My life in travel: Fern Britton

'Cornwall is the land of legends, sea mists, sand dunes and surf'

First holiday memory?

Driving down to Cornwall in the back of my mother's Triumph Herald. She would drive and my grandmother would be in the passenger seat – both of them looking impossibly glamorous and smoking. My uncle, aunt and cousins would be behind in the convoy. There was no M4 or M5 at the time, so the journey would take hours. My two favourite parts were crossing Dartmoor and arriving in Looe at sunset. I couldn't wait to feel the cooling sand between my toes. Cornwall is the land of legends, sea mists, sand dunes and surf.

Best holiday?

My husband, Phil [Vickery, the television chef] and I took the children away for a week's cruise on a Turkish gulet. We sailed out of Bodrum and travelled sedately along the coast, stopping to go swimming in the clearest blue sea and to catch sardines for supper. The captain and his crew treated us like royalty. I can't recommend it highly enough.

What have you learnt from your travels?

That you mustn't think you are going to get anywhere too quickly. There will always be delays, hold-ups and frustrations. Take a book, have a drink and a snooze. Manage your expectations and enjoy the ride.

Ideal travelling companion?

I enjoy travelling with or without other people. When I go on the charity bike rides for Genesis Research Trust, there are 100 women all travelling together. If you need tweezers, plasters, a laugh, a magazine, or a gin and tonic, someone is guaranteed to have it.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

A bit of everything. I do like to loll on the beach or by a pool (nothing beats the pleasure of lying in the shade reading a great book and drinking a cool beer), but I also like a bit of culture and cafés too.

Greatest travel luxury?

I take a hot water bottle, an old cotton shawl and a tea cosy. The hot water bottle for comfort. The old shawl to cover my eyes so that I can sleep anywhere, and the tea cosy because I like my tea hot.

Holiday reading?

My publishers gave me a Kindle when my first novel came out, so now I load it up with a bit of culture, a bit of trash and a thriller. You can't go wrong!

Where has seduced you?

Central America. I recently cycled through Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua, mostly on quiet back roads, which put me in close contact with the people and the culture. Highlights of this trip included spotting sloths, hearing howler monkeys, swimming in the Caribbean at the end of a long hot day of cycling and submerging ourselves in volcanic hot springs.

Worst travel experience?

A ghastly self-catering gîte in Brittany. It was dirty; there was no welcome of any kind (no loo paper, soap or light bulbs) and a goat that kept leaping into the swimming pool.

Best hotel?

I love the Savoy in London. I've been lucky enough to stay a few times and I felt like a film star every time. Also, the Oberoi in Delhi is incredible. It has beds I could happily die in.

Favourite walk?

You cannot beat the Saturday market in St-Tropez for colour, smells and variety. Get there by 8am and wander around for an hour or so. They have jewellery, flowers, tablecloths, hats, food, shoes ... you name it. Then walk down to the harbour and sit in one of the cafés to spy on the millionaires and their yachts.

Best meal abroad?

A place in Positano, Italy where I ate gorgeous calamaretti (baby squid) lightly battered and fried, with a glass of red wine. Also, anything from the Trattoria alla Madonna in Venice, which does fabulous, old-school Italian food.

Where next?

My next planned trip is to cycle from Tallinn to St Petersburg in June next year. As it's the summer, we'll have the White Nights, where the sun doesn't set. I first went to St Petersburg when I was 17 and the city was called Leningrad, so I can't wait to see how it's changed, and to revisit the Hermitage and the Summer Palace.

The presenter is a patron for the Genesis Research Trust, which supports the health and well-being of women and babies (genesisresearchtrust.com).

Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tvWhy BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
News
people
News
Campbell: ‘Sometimes you have to be economical with the truth’
newsFormer spin doctor says MPs should study tactics of leading sports figures like José Mourinho
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Voices
Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey VC
voicesBeware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
Alexander McQueen's AW 2009/10 collection during Paris Fashion Week
fashionMeet the collaborators who helped create the late designer’s notorious spectacles
Sport
football
News
i100
News
Perry says: 'Psychiatrists give help because they need help. You would not be working in mental health if you didn't have a curiosity about how the mind works.'
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

    Recruitment Genius: Car Sales Executive - OTE £36,000

    £12500 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This established Knaresborough ...

    Beverley James: Accounts Payable

    £23,000: Beverley James: Do you have a background in hospitality and are you l...

    Recruitment Genius: Cleaning Manager - York and Bradford

    £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The post holder is a key member of the V...

    Recruitment Genius: Vehicle Breakdown Recovery Drivers

    £18000 - £28800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Vehicle Breakdown Recovery Driv...

    Day In a Page

    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
    A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

    It's not easy being Green

    After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
    Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

    Gorillas nearly missed

    BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
    Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

    The Downton Abbey effect

    Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
    China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

    China's wild panda numbers on the up

    New census reveals 17% since 2003
    Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

    Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

    Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
    Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

    Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

    Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
    Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

    Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

    Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
    New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

    Dinner through the decades

    A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
    Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

    Philippa Perry interview

    The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

    Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

    Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
    Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

    Harry Kane interview

    The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
    The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?