My Life In Travel: Jacqueline Wilson, children's author

'I've met children all over the world and they all laugh at the same things'

First holiday memory?

Clacton-on-Sea in the Fifties. It wasn't too far from Kingston where I grew up and it had a beach. My mum used to like playing bingo on the pier and I once remember her winning me a beautiful white fluffy toy poodle. I was desperate to have a dog at the time, so it was the next best thing.

Best holiday?

Prague. I went with my daughter Emma – just after the Velvet Revolution in 1990 – and it was astonishing how completely unspoilt it was. It was such a delight to walk around a city with so many lovely buildings – and yet it hardly cost a penny. I'm almost scared to go back because I think it's changed enormously.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

North Norfolk. I've just come back from there and it's the most beautiful place. Because it's so flat, the sky seems endless and, at the moment, there are poppies and wild roses everywhere. The saltmarshes are very strange and wonderful but, best of all, are the vast unspoilt beaches. Holkham beach is my absolute favourite. Norfolk still has lots of second-hand bookshops too, and enormous platefuls of fantastic home-grown food – so it ticks every box.

What have you learnt from your travels?

I've met children from all over the world – yet they all laugh in exactly the same places when I give a talk and worry about the same things. There's something immensely touching about that.

Ideal travelling companion?

I love going on holiday with my friend Trish, because she likes going for walks along the beaches and browsing in book shops. Also Emma, because we like going to art galleries and shopping. And, Nick Sharratt who illustrates my books, because once a year we go on a Landmark Trust holiday together. Last time, we stayed in a Gothic temple in Stowe, which was the most beautiful, bizarre place.

Holiday reading?

I like to re-read books when I'm away. In Norfolk I took a biography of the children's author E Nesbit, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and a lovely volume of short stories by the novelist, Elizabeth Taylor.

Where has seduced you?

New York. I didn't go until I was 30 and suddenly there I was in this extraordinary place. There was a transit strike at the time, so everybody adapted to wearing their running shoes. By the end of the day, there were T-shirts being sold on street corners saying "I've survived the transit strike". It's just such an enterprising, energetic place.

Better to travel or arrive?

Arrive. I'm not very keen on travelling – I tend to flap about missing planes. The one exception, however, is when I've done the Emirates Festival of Literature in Dubai. They fly you there first class, so the whole experience is restful and pain-free.

Best hotel?

The Four Seasons in Florence. It's converted from a former palace, with fantastic staff, perfect food and lovely gardens. You feel like a princess.

Worst travel experience?

Being stranded in Virginia on a book tour. All the planes had been grounded because of a thunderstorm, so I was put up in a bizarre hotel, which had a Wild West theme. There was a stuffed buffalo in the lobby and all the guests were dressed as cowboys and were all incredibly drunk.

Dream trip?

I've had dream trips to Australia and New Zealand on book tours – so I'd like to repeat them, with more time out for sightseeing. Sydney has this magical combination of a lovely, sophisticated city and fantastic beaches. I'm a huge Katherine Mansfield fan too, so I went to her house in Wellington, New Zealand, which was pretty special.

Favourite city?

Boston. Somebody said it has 80 per cent of the culture of New York, but none of the hassle. I love the public gardens, Newbury Street and the Isabella Gardner Stewart Museum. It's a very friendly place where you feel instantly at home.

Where next?

I have a week booked in a converted chapel in Yorkshire. I'll be able to commune with nature but still watch a bit of TV at night. There'll probably be at least one trip to Betty's Tea Room in York.

Award-winning children's author best known for the Tracy Beaker series. Her new novel Four Children and It, is a tribute to the E Nesbit classic, published on 16 August.

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
Sport
footballStriker has moved on loan for the remainder of the season
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
News
The five geckos were launched into space to find out about the effects of weightlessness on the creatures’ sex lives
i100
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
booksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
News
i100
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

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

    VB.NET and C# developer (VB.NET,C#,ASP.NET)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...

    Business Development Manager / Sales Pro

    £30 - 35k + Uncapped Comission (£70k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Business Develop...

    Day In a Page

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

    US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
    Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
    Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
    Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
    Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

    Neil Lawson Baker interview

    ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model for a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering