My Life in Travel: Ioan Gruffudd

'Some cool hotels forget that you're paying an absolute fortune to stay there'

First holiday memory?

A trip to Pembrokeshire. I grew up in Aberdare and some of the nicest beaches close by were at Tenby and Saundersfoot. I remember playing cricket with my brother and father on the sand.

Best holiday?

My honeymoon in the Maldives. Alice and I got married at the One&Only Palmilla in Los Cabos, Mexico, and were staying at the One&Only Kanuhura in the Maldives. It was lovely and intimate, but when we arrived, they insisted that we go to their more lavish property, Reethi Rah. Luckily they gave us the same rate. It was incredible. We had a bungalow over the water.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

My father grew up in Llangyndeyrn on a small mountain in Carmarthenshire. My grandmother still lives there; whenever we go to visit her, I feel there is something magical about it.

What have you learnt from your travels?

The Mark Twain quote "travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow mindedness" sums it up. Growing up in Wales, there was a lot of fervour about being Welsh. But the more that I travelled, I realised that people aren't always interested in where you're from, but who you are.

Ideal travelling companion?

My wife Alice. We travelled together quite a bit before our daughter Ella arrived three years ago. Alice worked as an actress in Italy and France before she did in the UK, so we've travelled a lot there.

Greatest travel luxury?

Often in my game as an actor, someone else pays for your travel and there's nothing like being able to lie flat on a flight home from LA.

Holiday reading?

On a trip to Cabo San Lucas, I was obsessed with Donna Tartt's The Secret History. We were staying at the Esperanza hotel doing all sorts of lovely things, but I couldn't wait to get back to the book at night.

Where has seduced you?

Palm Beach, Sydney. It's where they shoot Home and Away and it's paradise, with the Hawkesbury River on one side and the ocean on the other.

Better to travel or arrive?

Travel has become torturous, especially now we have a daughter who is three. She was awake for the duration of a flight from Los Angeles to Zurich and was so tired that she cried for what felt like five hours. Eventually she passed out 45 minutes before we landed.

Worst travel experience?

Travelling to Yalta in Ukraine to shoot the first series of Horatio Hornblower in 1996. We flew to Kiev, then there was an internal flight and a three-hour drive – it was the furthest I'd felt from home and my heart just sank as the journey continued.

Worst hotel?

A hostel in Budapest in 1992. I woke up in the middle of the night to clicking sounds next to the bed. I pulled back the material on the side of the bed and it was full of cockroaches.

Best hotel?

Claridge's, for the old-school service. Some of these "cool" hotels forget that you're spending an absolute fortune to stay there, but at Claridge's, you're made to feel like a king.

Best meal abroad?

A steak house in Tokyo where they cook the meat tepanyaki-style in front of you. I had a lovely sirloin and my wife, who is a pescatarian, ordered prawns, which arrived alive. The chopped them all up, heads and all, then cooked them. It was so delicious, though.

Favourite city?

Berlin. I felt like I belonged there, even though I don't speak German. It's a very youthful place – very fresh and exciting.

Where next?

We've just been to Portland, Oregon, which was really beautiful. However, I don't have any travel plans at the moment because I don't know what I'm doing next.

Actor Ioan Gruffudd voices a new factual series, The British, which starts on Thursday at 9pm on Sky Atlantic HD

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