My Life In Travel: Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, interior designer and broadcaster

'I have rediscovered my Welsh roots'

First holiday memory?

Probably a rather dull but fascinating driving holiday through Wales looking at Edward I's castles. My siblings were appalled at the idea and I think they were dumped in a variety of adventure playgrounds while my parents and I – in a very irritating and precocious way – wandered round churches and castles.

Best holiday?

I like rabbit tracks: going back to the same place and getting to know it quite well. My wife Jackie and I spend a lot of time in Venice, probably two or three weekends a year.

For family holidays, we have a house in Port Isaac in north Cornwall, but the girls are getting towards teendom so we've started renting it out. We've recently discovered the Dinarobin resort in Le Morne, Mauritius. I like Le Morne because it's a bit quieter than the east coast and it's very easygoing.

We've got a long-standing relationship with Barbados, too. For years we'd hire a villa in the Sandy Lane estate; now Jackie and I stay in Little Good Harbour, right out of the scope of the paparazzi.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

I've just finished a television series called Hidden Houses of Wales during which I rediscovered my Welsh roots. I loved Llandudno, and Anglesey was fascinating. I like Aberdeenshire, where I spend a long shooting weekend every year. I also did a series in Northern Ireland and was amazed how stunning and undiscovered it is. There are some incredible restaurants there, too.

What have you learnt from your travels?

You have to be so patient; there's absolutely no point in being irate. It was interesting spending a whole day at Heathrow trying to get on a delayed, then a cancelled, flight. It's annoying when airlines won't give you proper information, but getting cross doesn't help. Gentlemanly patience is a good asset because you usually end up getting put on the flight first. Enter the hiatus, get used to the beige ceiling tiles and you'll find it a recharging experience.

You can unwind just as much being delayed at an airport as you can in a dark, candle-lit spa – without the embarrassment of being touched by people.

Ideal travelling companion?

I enjoy travelling with my wife enormously. It's lovely when we're given the opportunity to travel together because she's great fun to have dinner with on a plane. I also love travelling with my daughters.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

After many years of doing the Holiday programme, travel is something I like to keep familiar. I don't really like the adventure of holidays. I travel an enormous amount for work, so the deal is that we have a two-week family holiday on the beach. I do love culture, too so we're going to pop over to Paris as a family. Jackie and I did a lot of our courting there and our daughter Cecile is very into Paris and fashion at the moment.

Greatest travel luxury?

Not flying economy or on budget airlines. I don't get on well with budget airlines – it's like being in an old people's home. I like walking about, going to the bar and having dinner opposite someone on a plane, it's so civilised. You've got to save up for your holidays and justify the damage you do by flying and I like the flight to be part of the whole experience, so you might as well do it as nicely as you can.

Holiday reading?

A series of sketchbooks comes with me; I use time on planes to design my collections so I welcome the peace of travel. I'm not keen for airlines to let us use mobile phones. I want to be able to stare slack-jawed out of the window or to be able to get on and do things I can't do in the office.

Where has seduced you?

Somewhere which really surprised me was Lisbon. I was filming there one January and it was exquisite: great restaurants, wonderful culture and beautiful buildings. Sintra is a wonderful fairy-tale complex of castles.

Worst travel experience?

I have had quite a few disappointments. We once hired the most amazingly beautiful palazzo in Ischia. It was a disaster. We were a big group and it was a bit like Big Brother, it just didn't work. The staff weren't great and lots of stuff was closed because it was Easter. It reaffirmed the value of familiarity in travel for me.

Worst hotel?

A so-called country-house hotel in Stratford-upon-Avon. I can't remember the name, which is probably just as well. It was bloody awful. They had the supreme cheek to charge about £400 a room and I thought it was crazy. The rooms were very indifferent, not very clean and the design was dreadful. Hotels need to watch their laurels. You can have a spa and golf course but how does the actual hotel measure up? I'm not prepared to pay a premium for that sort of thing.

Best hotel?

I love The Danieli and The Europa & Regina in Venice, and the Ritz and Le Meurice in Paris. They're good because they've had a lot of practice at it. Hotels like The Dorchester keep their reputation very fresh and alive rather than trading on past glories. I like hotels that have a bit of history and grandeur.

Favourite walk/swim/ride/drive?

Walking from Port Isaac to Port Quin in Cornwall is a lovely experience and just pottering around Sestiere and San Marco in Venice. The Marais in Paris is lovely around the Place des Vosges, too. I haven't cracked walking in Rome yet – it feels like a series of disconnecting delights. It's a fractured experience.

Best meal abroad?

The food in Mauritius is fantastic. The Dinarobin has some really exciting ideas about food. The atmosphere was great with the French cultural influence mixed with Indian roots.

First thing you do when you arrive somewhere new?

Unpack, then drink gin.

Dream trip?

I am really looking forward to the idea of taking Jackie around the palaces of Rajasthan. It'll be her first time there and sharing it will be great. Travelling in India is not necessarily always a comfortable experience, even on a luxury level, but it's incredibly stimulating. You're constantly beguiled by things you've never seen before and won't see again.

Favourite city?

It's a close call between London and Venice, depending on my mood. I do enjoy Moscow as well. There's a really high-octane, very dangerous glamour to it. I wouldn't take the children but there's a real edge to it.

Where next?

We'll be in Paris, then maybe Venice, Mauritius, Tuscany then Rajasthan. Nothing major really.

Decorating with Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen (Quadrille, £20) is published this week

Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tvWhy BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
News
Campbell: ‘Sometimes you have to be economical with the truth’
newsFormer spin doctor says MPs should study tactics of leading sports figures like José Mourinho
Sport
football
Life and Style
Agretti is often compared to its relative, samphire, though is closer in taste to spinach
food + drink
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Kelly Osbourne will play a flight attendant in Sharknado 2
people
News
Down-to-earth: Winstone isn't one for considering his 'legacy'
people
News
The dress can be seen in different colours
i100
Sport
Wes Brown is sent-off
football
Voices
Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey VC
voicesBeware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
Alexander McQueen's AW 2009/10 collection during Paris Fashion Week
fashionMeet the collaborators who helped create the late designer’s notorious spectacles
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
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

    Recruitment Genius: Car Sales Executive - OTE £36,000

    £12500 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This established Knaresborough ...

    Beverley James: Accounts Payable

    £23,000: Beverley James: Do you have a background in hospitality and are you l...

    Recruitment Genius: Cleaning Manager - York and Bradford

    £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The post holder is a key member of the V...

    Recruitment Genius: Vehicle Breakdown Recovery Drivers

    £18000 - £28800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Vehicle Breakdown Recovery Driv...

    Day In a Page

    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
    A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

    It's not easy being Green

    After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
    Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

    Gorillas nearly missed

    BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
    Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

    The Downton Abbey effect

    Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
    China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

    China's wild panda numbers on the up

    New census reveals 17% since 2003
    Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

    Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

    Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
    Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

    Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

    Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
    Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

    Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

    Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
    New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

    Dinner through the decades

    A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
    Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

    Philippa Perry interview

    The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

    Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

    Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
    Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

    Harry Kane interview

    The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
    The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?