My Life In Travel: Julia Bradbury, television presenter

'I'd love to do a proper trek in the Himalayas'

First holiday memory?

Scottish dancing in the hall at the Crieff Hydro, which is a big family-run hotel in Perthshire where my parents used to take me when I was a little girl. It was a real traditional Scottish family holiday with riding, walking, crazy golf and dancing. We take my nephew there now.

Best holiday?

The first time I went to South Africa, nearly 20 years ago. I did a six-week journey around the country and I fell in love with it. I went from the mountains of Franschhoek, to Cape Town and the wine lands. I go back about three times a year now.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

Rutland – the smallest county in England in terms of population – is a favourite because I live there. More recently, I've discovered the Isles of Scilly. They are absolutely breathtaking and there is such a wonderful, quiet way of life there. It was pretty idyllic.

What have you learnt from your travels?

Curiosity and empathy travel well. You have to be sensitive to wherever you are, but inquisitive too.

Ideal travelling companion?

A good director who knows what they want and the story we need to get.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

All of the above. It really depends where I'm at with work because I'm constantly on the move. Sometimes I've got to flake out and read books on a beach. For me, it's exploration and exposure to new things and new places.

Greatest travel luxury?

Turning left on the plane. It's still a special occasion but it is the greatest luxury.

Holiday reading?

I've always got a couple of books on the go. I don't pick a particular genre because I like to dip in and out of things. At the moment, I'm reading Celebrity by Marina Hyde and Mawson's Will, which is the incredible story of the Antarctic explorer Douglas Mawson. He survived an amazing polar journey on his own but his story is often overlooked.

Where has seduced you?

South Africa. I've just made my first television series there, a walking programme for the BBC. The walks there are incredible. Otherwise I loved Costa Rica and Nicaragua, which are both wild, lush and gorgeous with volcanic landscapes and wild beaches.

Better to travel or arrive?

I'm always excited to arrive. My life is travelling so I'm over it. I'm waiting for teleportation to arrive.

Worst travel experience?

A frightening experience was getting lost in a car on the outskirts of Johannesburg as night was falling. All of us in the car, including South Africans, were pretty scared.

Worst holiday?

Not making it to Vietnam. The flights were booked, the hotel was booked but there were visa issues.

Worst hotel?

A hotel in Strangford Lough, County Down. They wouldn't serve any food after 8.30pm, not even at 8.35pm. The hungry crew were not happy.

Best hotel?

The One&Only Reethi Rah in the Maldives; the infinity pool is just gorgeous. Close to home it's Barnsdale Lodge in Rutland. It is an old farmhouse and I know them all really well there. It's lovely and comfortable and there's a great bar where you can while away Sunday afternoons.

Favourite walk/swim/ride/drive?

One of my favourite walks is the Monsal Trail in the Peak District, where I started walking when I was a nipper with my dad. And of course, Wainwright territory in the Lake District. I couldn't choose one, though – every day is a different day up there.

Best meal abroad?

Fresh spaghetti lobster served up on the beach on a glorious summer day at Restaurante Juan y Andrea on the island of Formentera near Ibiza.

First thing you do when you arrive somewhere new?

Always unpack. I hate it because I have to do it almost every day of my life so I try to do it as quickly as possible so I'm not rummaging for things. The next thing is to have a swim.

Dream trip?

The Himalayas, where I've never been. I don't mind which of the six countries they straddle that I go to, but I'd love to do a proper trek for a few weeks.

Favourite city?

I love Berlin. It's so artistic, the people are lovely and the architecture takes your breath away. The public transport system is fantastic, and I know it shouldn't be a good thing but everyone speaks fantastic English there.

Where next?

Hopefully to South Africa.

Where to Go When: Great Britain & Ireland, with a preface by Julia Bradbury, is published by DK (£15.99; dk.com/wheretogogb). Julia also presents Countryfile on BBC 1, Sundays at 6pm.

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