My Life in Travel: Jenny Eclair, comedian and novelist - News & Advice - Travel - The Independent

My Life in Travel: Jenny Eclair, comedian and novelist

'I arrive with a headache from keeping the plane up with my mental powers'

First holiday memory?

Lake Como. We used to drive to the Italian Lakes in a Sprite 400 caravan, which today would be considered child cruelty because it was so small.

Best holiday?

A post-pantomime splurge in Miami. I'd done a seven-week stint at Richmond over Christmas so I was exhausted. Afterwards, I went for a week at the Soho House on Miami Beach, with my partner Geof, our daughter Phoebe and her friend. Ocean Drive is fantastic, it's one of those modern wonders that you think "I'm glad that I saw this".

Favourite place in the British Isles?

Cornwall. We've borrowed the world's ugliest bungalow in Rock in the past. It's not posh but it's a great base. I like getting the ferry to Padstow and stopping in at one of Rick Stein's fish restaurants. It's got the National Lobster Hatchery too, where you can go and see all of these little baby lobsters.

What have you learnt on your travels?

Never rely on the weather. Wherever you're going, whatever you're doing, go with the feeling that the weather is going to let you down and you won't be disappointed.

Ideal travelling companion?

Geof is quite good because I've beaten him into submission over 30 years. He's a much better driver than I am too, so if we're going to Cornwall, he has to be with me.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

My ideal trip is a city by the sea. I've just come back from a weekend in La Rochelle, which was ideal because it's only an hour from Stansted and the airport in La Rochelle is only 15 minutes from the city centre. It's one of the easiest weekend breaks you could imagine.

Greatest travel luxury?

I'm not one of those people with matching luggage – but I think you should always buy yourself a little luxury when you're on holiday. My treat is a small memento or souvenir.

Better to travel or arrive?

Arrive. There's always the feeling that things can go wrong with travel. I normally land with a headache, because it feels like I've been single-handedly keeping the plane up with my mental powers.

Holiday reading?

Contemporary fiction. I've found that Twitter is really useful for keeping an eye on what people are reading. I've had a lot of good recommendations from using it. I really liked Room by Emma Donoghue, so now I'm reading The Sealed Letter.

Where has seduced you?

Venice is such an old hand at seduction. You think it's going to be a bit clichéd, but it works. I also love Edinburgh during the Fringe. On a rare sunny day in August, it's breathtaking.

Worst travel experience?

An all-inclusive holiday in Antigua. The food was awful and everything went wrong. It was in this precious gated community, where no one dared leave the hotel. It just wasn't the picture-postcard.

Best hotel?

I'm a great fan of the Hotel du Vin chain. There's a splendid one in Cheltenham, that's got some very special, very big rooms with grand baths.

Worst hotel?

There's a hotel in Manchester, near Granada Studios, that's part of a chain. I'm very against it because they charge you £15 an hour for using the internet. When you can get it for free in McDonald's, it's stupid having a charge in hotels.

Favourite swim?

The Lake District. It's exciting and the scenery's jaw-dropping. Nature just goes a bit mad up there. Even when the weather's grim, the Lakes are dramatic.

Best meal abroad?

It's difficult, because Geof won't eat fish and all I want to do is eat lobster. We ended up dining on cheese toasties in La Rochelle – on our anniversary.

Dream trip?

I'd like to do a Grand Tour of every European capital and tick them all off.

Favourite city?

London beats New York easily. The culture and the shopping is far better. Next thing I want to do is get on the Emirates cable car. I saw some photos on Twitter and so I'd love to get myself in one of the bubbles across the Thames.

Where next?

Hopefully another city by the sea. We're waiting until September, when we've got a bit more time.

Comedian and novelist. Jenny Eclair's latest book Life, Death and Vanilla Slices is out now and her new stand-up tour "Eclairious" starts from 29 September (jennyeclair.com).

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