My Life In Travel: Leigh Francis

'I can't go anywhere for longer than a week – I start missing my sofa'
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The Independent Travel

First holiday memory?

When I was a kid, we used to go to Bridlington for our summer holidays; I had a T-shirt that said "I am a Brid Kid" on it that I used to wear every time we went. I remember buying doughnuts on the pier for 50p and staying in a static caravan. Dad would never take us abroad – he wouldn't go anywhere we couldn't walk home from if we broke down.

Best holiday?

I've just been to South Africa for a friend's wedding, which was amazing. I had a great holiday in Walt Disney World – my wife Jill and I went for two weeks for our honeymoon. I was a bit tired of that mouse by the end of it, though. I was trying to make friends with the characters but they don't talk back. Alice in Wonderland said: "I like the look of your breakfast," and when I offered her some, she looked shocked. I think they've got a fixed script in their head. That's why I liked it; I enjoyed perplexing them all.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

I like where I live in north London; my friends laugh if I leave N1.

What have you learnt from your travels?

That shark tastes disgusting. I tried it in Iceland at a Viking hotel. I was swallowing it whole without chewing it then washing it down with a drink called Black Death to get rid of the taste. Apparently, sharks don't pee, they sweat it out, and that's what their meat tastes of.

Ideal travelling companion?

My wife. We've started travelling more recently, because our friends in London go on holiday more than our northern friends. She does everything and I just hold everything. She's in charge.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

I enjoy city holidays. Jill and I like going to New York. Miami is good, too; you get both beaches and shopping. We are shopaholics.

Greatest travel luxury?

For my new show, which took me all around the world, I took a soft U-shaped cushion to go round my neck for flights, like a big Avid Merrion [Francis's character from Bo' Selecta] neck brace. Without it, it would have been a very uncomfortable trip.

Holiday reading?

I only read magazines. In Cape Town, a lot of my friends just sat round the pool reading books and I was getting a bit frustrated so I took a few magazines with me. It was so windy that they blew out of my hands and into the pool; I was so angry I just went to bed.

Where has seduced you?

I loved Montana, where I stayed on a cattle ranch for three days. I'm not really into horses because I'm a bit frightened of them. The first day I wasn't into it at all, but the day after I was like the Lone Ranger, trotting about. The surroundings were just amazing; I was nearly brought to tears.

Better to travel or arrive?

I don't enjoy the journey to or from the airport, because I suffer from motion sickness. I like flying, though. I like going abroad, but I can't go anywhere for longer than a week, because I start missing my sofa.

Worst travel experience?

When we went to Egypt, I got piles. I was on a camel for two hours and that brought it on. I was in horrible pain and had to see a doctor. It was very embarrassing but we filmed it and put it on the show anyway.

Worst holiday?

I'd just finished doing Bo' Selecta and my agent kept telling me to go on holiday. A travel agent told us it would be warm in Agia Napa [Cyrpus] in February. I thought it'd be quiet out of season. But it was horrible; freezing cold. Then we took a cruise to Egypt, which made me seasick, and when we got there, there were no shops apart from stalls selling pyramid-shaped ashtrays.

Best hotel?

In Los Angeles, I stay at Le Parc Suites because it's humble and not too hip. You often see famous faces, because it's a bit of a secret from the paparazzi. I've seen Joss Stone, Natalie Imbruglia and James Blunt there.

Favourite walk/swim/ride/drive?

I walk from Camden to central London all the time. I can walk for hours; it's when I come up with ideas for shows.

Best meal abroad?

An amazing meal at a restaurant called Ginja in Cape Town, where we ate prawns and fish.

Dream trip?

Hong Kong, and the Chinese mainland. I'd like to go to Leeds more often, too.

Favourite city?

New York, which is like London but a bit more exciting. And LA; there's not much to look at but I always have a good time there.

Where next?

Hopefully Hong Kong; a friend is moving out there. Then New York at Hallowe'en for our wedding anniversary and a fancy-dress party. I might go as Wolverine or Chewbacca.

Leigh Francis stars in 'Keith Lemon's Very Brilliant World Tour', Tuesdays at 10pm on ITV2

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