My Life In Travel: Kate Silverton, BBC journalist and presenter


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The Independent Travel

First holiday memory?

Caravanning in Europe with my parents and two sisters. My mother had a fear of flying, so we would leave home for a month touring through countries like Spain, France, Italy and Portugal. It sparked the wanderlust I have today.

Best holiday?

The Maldives. My husband and I enjoyed a magical stay on Hadahaa island before our daughter was born. We night-dived for the first time, saw sharks and got the giggles underwater – a very special trip.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

Orkney. I spent a very memorable time there kayaking across the Pentland Firth for a programme. It was a tremendous challenge but I had a super crew. We ended up in a pub with a whole host of local people playing music on harps, tin whistles and fiddles. I loved it.

What have you learnt from your travels?

To travel light. It's a lesson I've been taught by my husband, a military man, who would love me to put it into practice more often. Now we have a baby, it's become even more of a test.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

I need to unwind completely on arrival, soak up the sun and immerse myself in a book. Then I get bored, so I'll dive, abseil, climb or find a new activity to try. Next, I'll typically explore places of historic or cultural interest and scour the shops for an unusual souvenir.

Greatest travel luxury?

When I'm not backpacking, it's a good hotel. My ideal holiday is one which involves two weeks of roughing it and a week of unbridled luxury.

Holiday reading?

I'll read about the place I'm visiting. I am rather loyal to Lonely Planet guides but equally I enjoy buying local maps, a guide on arrival or a local newspaper. On the last few trips I've also taken Jo Nesbo novels, which are great page-turners.

Where has seduced you?

Bali. I stayed at the Como Shambhala estate by myself to recuperate after a back operation and it was like staying in a little corner of heaven. I was utterly seduced by the Balinese culture and spirituality. The food is so healthy and balanced.

Better to travel or arrive?

Arrive – although I'm rather partial to a train journey. It represents such romance. I'm keen to try one of the luxury train journeys through India.

Worst travel experience?

You can always turn a bad experience into something funny or memorable. Couples could do worse than test their relationship by travelling together for a month. If you can weather the storms independent travel throws at you, then you can be sure you have a strong relationship.

Worst hotel?

A place in Uganda where my husband and I stayed to see the mountain gorillas. We stayed in a hostel before reaching the main site, and despite him having booked the "best room" it was utterly horrendous. I was bitten by bugs and had to tearfully confess that I couldn't sleep there any longer. We stayed up all night talking instead.

Best meal abroad?

A 20-course meal at the Royal Orchid hotel, Bangkok. I was backpacking at the time with a boyfriend, so we were hardly dressed for the occasion. But the hotel treated us so beautifully and the food was exquisite.

Dream trip?

I'm keen to do a long cycling trip in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. I'd also relish the chance to take an extended campervan holiday across parts of Australia and New Zealand.

Favourite city?

I've lived in central London for five years. When you take time to walk or cycle around, you realise the richness of our culture. Particular favourites are St Paul's Cathedral and St Bride's Church on Fleet Street, where I got married.

Where next?

It's my mother's 70th, so all the family are going to stay at Pennsylvania Castle on the isle of Portland. It has a romantic location on a high cliff overlooking the sea.

Kate Silverton will appear on BBC2's My Life in Books on 6 March, 6.30pm