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

newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Scientist have developed a test which predicts whether you'll live for another ten years
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
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

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Lifeguards / Leisure Club Attendants - Seasonal Placement

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Qualified Lifeguards are required to join a fa...

    Recruitment Genius: Assistant Exhibition Content Developer

    £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Based in South Kensington, this prestigi...

    Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - major leisure brand

    £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Partner

    £25000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Partner is required to ...

    Day In a Page

    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
    Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

    Poldark star Heida Reed

    'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn