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
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
News
news
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
New Articles
i100... with this review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Sport
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
i100
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
News
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
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

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    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 ...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam