My Life In Travel: Keith Allen, actor and comedian

'I like to find live music – it tells you about the pulse of a place'

First holiday memory?

My whole life has been a holiday! I was of the generation that went to stay with family for holidays, so we'd usually go to Wales. Other than that, I'd go from school straight to my parents in Singapore, because my dad was in the Navy – going to foreign climes was in my nature. Singapore was exciting for a lad of 13, namely because you could go to the barber's and they'd give you cigarettes.

Best holiday?

Taking the children to Méribel in the French Alps. They all learnt to ski and it was great fun because it was a children-focused holiday.



Favourite place in the British Isles?

Minchinhampton Common, just outside Stroud in the Cotswolds. I like the democratic nature of it – there's a golf course that cows graze on. It's a piece of land that is genuinely for the people.

What have you learnt from your travels?

Look at the maps after you've been somewhere. I think it's good to follow your nose, rather than read up on a place before you get there.



Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

I'm a beach bum first and foremost. I love reading when I'm on holiday.

Holiday reading?

I enjoy all sorts of books but particularly novels.



Ideal travelling companion?

Alastair Campbell, just to see what he's really like.



Where has seduced you?

I took the kids to Brazil years ago. We didn't have any plans – we just landed at Rio de Janeiro, hired a car and drove down the coast to Sao Paulo. We stopped off anywhere along the way, taking in those beautiful colonial fishing villages. It was so different. I arrived in Sao Paulo feeling like my head would explode; it was brilliant.



Better to travel or arrive?

The nature of the beast means that travelling is a nightmare these days; I'm always pleased when I arrive. However, when we drove through Brazil it was all about the travelling. Also, driving from Gloucester to Budapest through the Swiss, Austrian and Italian Alps is lovely. We film Robin Hood in Budapest and I always drive there.



Worst travel experience?

Anything to do with Heathrow is a nightmare. Travelling by air is a real problem for me now, because I become so infuriated at every stage, from queueing to hanging around in the departure lounge. I loathe the very thought of airports and also airlines taking as much from you as possible and giving very little back.



Worst hotel?

I've stayed in hundreds so it's difficult to pick one out. I went to a hotel in Thessaloniki that was truly awful. The lift smelt of burnt diesel and I had to de-pube the bed.



Best hotel?

The Danieli in Venice is pretty well up there; the lobby is fantastic.



Favourite walk/ swim/ride/drive?

I never tire of part of the train journey from London to Stroud, through the Chalford Valley; it's very beautiful.



Best meal abroad?

At a restaurant in Montmartre in Paris, called Marionette. They do the best warm herring salad in the world. I always go when I'm in Paris.



First thing you do when you arrive somewhere new?

If I'm by the sea then I'll suss out the beach. I also have a habit of going to look for live music because I think it tells you something about the pulse of a place. Morocco is good for that, but Budapest is hopeless unless you like gypsy bands.



Dream trip?

I really want to go to Chile and spend some time taking it all in. I've just finished reading a book about Kazakhstan and that has definitely whetted my appetite; it's the birthplace of the apple and the tulip.



Favourite city?

Twenty years ago I would have said New York, but these days it's soulless and corporate. It was lovely back then – fascinating and dangerous. Rome is up there and so is Sydney; I like the lifestyle, the Australians and the architecture.



Where next?

Probably driving to Budapest and taking in as much mountain terrain as possible along the way.





Keith Allen's autobiography, 'Grow Up', is published by Ebury Press, £7.99

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
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
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    SFL Group: Video Project Manager

    £24,000 pa, plus benefits: SFL Group: Looking for a hard-working and self-moti...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Reservations Assistant - French Speaking

    £16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding travel c...

    Recruitment Genius: Duty Manager - World-Famous London Museum

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you have a strong record of ...

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Assistant

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will have demonstrable unde...

    Day In a Page

    The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

    The saffron censorship that governs India

    Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
    Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

    How did fandom get so dark?

    Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
    The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
    The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

    Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

    Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
    Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

    Disney's mega money-making formula

    'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
    Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

    Lobster has gone mainstream

    Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
    Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

    14 best Easter decorations

    Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
    Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

    Paul Scholes column

    Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
    Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

    The future of GM

    The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
    Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

    Britain's mild winters could be numbered

    Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
    Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

    The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

    The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
    Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

    Cowslips vs honeysuckle

    It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
    Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss