Tointon says of Padstow in Cornwall: 'It's very special down there'

'I like taking long road trips and stopping at a village you wouldn't normally find'

First holiday memory?

Playing on the beach in Andalucia. We went every year when I was younger because my parents had an apartment in Los Boliches, near Malaga. We would spend all of our summers there, so it became like a second home.

Best holiday?

Skiing. I love going to Austria and I've been lucky enough to go to Colorado and Canada, too. I feel very tranquil up in the mountains – especially when the sun beams down on the white snow.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

I recently spent a bit of time in Cornwall, which I fell in love with. We went to Rock and took the ferry to Padstow. It's very special down there.

What have you learnt from your travels?

There's nothing better than seeing the world and discovering new cultures, food and religions. The older I get, the more I love exploring – as opposed to just lying on a beach.

Ideal travelling companion?

My boyfriend [Artem Chigvintsev from Strictly Come Dancing]. We like doing the same things: sightseeing, trying new activities and foods. We like going on long road trips and stopping at a little village that you wouldn't normally find.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

I used to be a beach bum, but as I get older I like sightseeing more, with a bit of adrenalin. Florida was the perfect mix. We went down to Key West for a beach holiday, Miami for the culture, then Walt Disney World and Universal.

Greatest travel luxury?

A good book. I always buy one at the airport because I just have this dream of sitting on the beach and reading without interruptions. I don't always finish the book, but I can dream ...

Where has seduced you?

I've been seduced by the idea of going to Turkey. My next trip is to the Lycian Coast with Exclusive Escapes. I'm staying at the Dionysos Estate on the Bay of Kumlubuk, which looks beautiful.I'm looking forward to a healthy, relaxing holiday, going to the spa and taking long, coastal walks. It's one of those places that I haven't ticked off my list.

Better to travel or arrive?

I do like the journey – providing I'm organised and ready to go. Sometimes it's a bit stressful when you're running out the door, sweating and trying to make the plane on time.

Worst travel experience?

Arriving at Dubai airport to be told by a taxi driver that my hotel was in Fujairah – a completely different emirate, three hours' drive away. When I finally arrived, it was beautiful but surrounded by nothing but desert.

Last year, I also booked a trip to the Maldives at what I thought was a good time but it rained and thundered the whole time. I'm not very lucky.

Best hotel?

The Fairmont Franz Klammer Lodge in Colorado. I generally love going skiing over Christmas – but the hotel itself was pretty special. It's right in the San Juan Mountains, with a lift that takes you straight to the slopes and all that beautiful snow.

Favourite swim?

The Maldives. Even though we had bad weather, the water was still crystal clear. We went snorkelling and saw baby sharks and incredible sea life.

Best meal abroad?

You can't beat authentic paella at a beach restaurant in Spain, topped off with sangria.

Also, the STK restaurant in New York has a really unusual, Heston-type menu. I ate crispy strips of banana with tuna steak – it was wonderful.

Dream trip?

Thailand. My mum and sister just got back and said it was stunning. I'd like to go to Australia too, but I'm waiting until I have a decent amount of time.

Favourite city?

New York. Whatever the season, I just love the hustle and bustle. I love the way it's set up so that you can never get lost. I could easily pack my bags and live there tomorrow.

Where next?

Austria. I've got a ski break booked over New Year. I'm excited to go back.

Actress Kara Tointon stars in The Sweeney, a new film adaptation based on the 1970s television series, which is released in UK cinemas from 12 September