My life in travel: Gareth Malone

'My best holiday? Escaping to Tobago'

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The Independent Travel

Gareth Malone is taking part in his first UK tour in May and June joined by his new choir, Gareth Malone's Voices. Their debut album, Voices, is out now (

First holiday memory?

Dawlish Warren in Devon. There was a Wild West-style shooting range, with water pistols, on the way to the beach. It was broken, so you would put 10p in and it would last for hours. Now I'm a parent, I think how awful it must have been.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

That really winding part of Cornwall, from St Ives to the St Agnes coast. I went with my wife, hired a nice car and drove around. There's really good food, the Cornish people are great and there are loads of rambling walks. I'm much better with British holidays where you get one nice day and for the rest you're in a cagoule.

Best holiday?

Escaping for Christmas with my wife to Tobago. It was great to get away. It felt so radical, not to go through the whole rigmarole. As the whole of England ground to a halt with snow in 2010, we were drinking piña coladas.

Ideal travelling companion?

My wife. We once went to Bordeaux and the wineries of Saint-Emilion, which was probably our most luxurious holiday. It was so hot, you could only make it from the pool to the restaurant. We didn't really drink a lot, we just drank really well.

Greatest travel luxury?

Hiring your own car. It's fun and a great way to explore. We have turned up so many times, hired a car and got hopelessly lost trying to find the hotel, but then you get that initial shot of excitement trying to place yourself.

Where has seduced you?

Scotland. I stayed on Loch Lomond a few years ago and went into all these little valleys around the loch. I went around the Trossachs and got as far as the foothills of the Grampians, where I made a mental note to go back. I love the wildness of the landscape.

Best hotel?

The Dream Downtown in New York was fun. They have a pool above the lobby, with a transparent floor, so you can look up to see people swimming above you. It felt very sophisticated. You walk out and you're right in Chelsea, too.

Favourite drive?

From Hyannis, where the Kennedys holidayed in Massachusetts, up through New England, all the way to the border of Vermont and the White Mountains.

Best meal abroad?

We arrived in Sicily, got off the plane and drove to the island called Ortygia, off the coast of Syracuse. I found a restaurant which had one guy in the kitchen. He asked "do you like fish?" and out came this enormous squid. It wasn't quite what we were imagining, but it was amazing, simply fried it with olive oil and lemon juice.

Where next?

I'd like to go to Italy this summer. I've been to Siena and Florence, but not the Amalfi Coast.