My Life In Travel: Jenni Murray, broadcaster

'It was wonderful being a tour guide in Paris'

First holiday memory?

Learning to swim in the sea in Scarborough, when I was three. My mother had knitted me a swimsuit using a pattern from Woman's Weekly. What we hadn't accounted for is that when wool gets wet, it goes down to your knees. I've never been more embarrassed.

Best holiday?

Barbados, when my children were young. At that time it was really undeveloped – I remember driving up the coast and thinking it was absolutely stunning.

We rented a house on the beach for £200 a week, with a maid and cook. It was absolutely gorgeous – a wonderful terrace with hammocks where we could eat, and the children could walk straight down the steps to the sea. I'd never go back now – I wouldn't want to change the memory.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

The New Forest. I lived in Lymington as a young reporter, and the area had everything I wanted: the sea in front and miles of trails to go walking and horse-riding through.

What have you learnt from your travels?

You need to stay in a place for more than the statutory two weeks to see how it ticks. My best travels were during my student years when I could take long summer holidays. I once spent six months in Israel and the rest of the year in France, which allowed me a reasonable amount of time to observe, rather than dip in.

Ideal travelling companion?

Any member of my family – but separately. We've just had five weeks in New Zealand for the Rugby World Cup. We saw geysers in Roturua, visited Cape Reinga and it became a family joke, that every time we turned the corner, there was an even more beautiful beach waiting.

It was lovely being together, but you have this romanticised idea of family getting together. In reality, everybody falls out, so I'd rather travel with one. Beach bum,

Culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

I like becoming part of a community. When we were in Te Kao in North Island, we met a couple of women who invited us to dinner and through them we met a lot of local people. That's my preferred way of travelling.

Greatest travel luxury?

I was working in Bangkok and for the first three nights I booked into a really flash new hotel. We had our own huge apartment with separate rooms, a bathroom each and a shared living space. Because it was Thailand, it wasn't excessively expensive but it was worth every penny. I'm far too old for fleapits now so, when it's affordable, I love luxury accommodation.

Holiday reading?

The Kindle has been a revelation. I used to take at least 15 books away, so my suitcase was always full of novels. This time I went loaded with Lee Child, Sophie Hannah and Mark Billingham – crime authors who write about the society we're in with conscience.

Where has seduced you?

The south of France. I studied French civilisation at university and spent a summer in Montpellier, visiting the small coastal villages.

The best memory was driving down an unmade road with a bunch of French students piled into a battered old car, arriving at a completely undeveloped beach that had nothing but a little shack for a restaurant, where we ate fresh bread, butter and moules marinière as the sun set.

Better to travel or arrive?

Arrive. I absolutely detest flying. When I was a child I used get really excited about going to Manchester airport and walking across the Tarmac, but it was much more glamorous then. Now it's a drag.

Worst travel experience?

Arriving in Beijing after a long flight, feeling extremely tired and finding out the hotel didn't have a room for me. I was there for the UN Women's Conference, so I had to go straight to work. I rang the producer and she told me not to panic: she already had Shirley Williams crashed out on her bed, because they didn't have a room for her either. It was a very long day.

Worst hotel?

A place in the outskirts of Birmingham. It was businessman's hotel which stank of cabbage, sweaty feet and cigarette smoke. The décor involved horribly-patterned wallpaper and carpets, with nylon sheets. I couldn't wait to get out of there. It was horrible.

Favourite ride?

I took my sons around the Dingle peninsula in Ireland in an old-fashioned gypsy caravan. We made enquiries about going horse-riding at one of the campsites.

Off we went to some stables, where a young boy came out with very good horses all nicely tacked up and a beautiful grey with no saddle or bridle for him. We started at the top of an endless beach, as this lad galloped into the water and leapt effortlessly over rocks. I've never seen man and beast so completely as one.

Best meal abroad?

The Grove in Auckland. They serve really unusual flavours – wonderful crayfish and snapper paired with fruit and pomegranate, followed by an exquisite chocolate pudding.

Favourite city?

Paris. I worked there as a tour guide when I was a student. I would collect a bus load of American tourists from the airport, lead them around the city – along the Seine and the Champs Elysées, to Montmartre and the Moulin Rouge. We had the most wonderful time. I remain a Francophile to this day.

Where next?

South America to visit our son. He's a vet and works all over the world. Depending on where he goes next, we're off to Peru or Bolivia.

Jenni Murray's book 'My Boy Butch' is published in paperback by HarperCollins on 8 December

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

News
people
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson has rejected criticisms of his language, according to BBC director of television Danny Cohen
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Sport
Club legend Paul Scholes is scared United could disappear into 'the wilderness'
football
Life and Style
food + drink
News
video
Sport
Malky Mackay salutes the Cardiff fans after the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday
footballFormer Cardiff boss accused of sending homophobic, racist and messages
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
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

    Oracle 11g SQL 2008 DBA (Unix, Oracle RAC, Mirroring, Replicati

    £6000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Oracle 11...

    Recruitment Consultant (Graduate Trainee), Finchley Central

    £17K OTE £30K: Charter Selection: Highly successful and innovative specialist...

    SQL DBA/ C# Developer - T-SQL, C#.Net

    £45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Working with an exciting ...

    Sales and Office Administrator – Sports Media

    £23,000: Sauce Recruitment: A global leader in sports and entertainment is now...

    Day In a Page

    Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
    Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

    Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

    Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
    Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
    Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

    Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

    Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
    eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

    eBay's enduring appeal

    The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
    Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

    'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

    Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
    Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

    Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

    Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
    Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

    Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

    After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
    Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

    Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

    After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
    Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

    Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

    Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
    7 best quadcopters and drones

    Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

    From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
    Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

    Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

    The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
    Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

    Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

    British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
    Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

    A descent into madness in America's heartlands

    David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
    BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

    BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

    Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home