My life in travel: Lennie James
'I first went to New Zealand with my daughter. It was our big adventure'
Saturday 14 September 2013
Actor Lennie James stars in the BBC2 police drama, Line Of Duty. Series one is available to buy now on DVD from Acorn Media (acornmediauk.com).
First holiday memory?
Trinidad in 1976. I got taken out of school early for a six-week holiday. It was the first time I got to meet my mum's family. I remember asking her why she'd ever left.
It seemed like paradise. Everything grew on the trees: coconut, mango, lemon and orange. If you were hungry, you just picked something. It was also incredibly liberating not to be "the other". Everybody – driving taxis, working in banks, running the country – looked like me.
Favourite place in the British Isles?
Great Yarmouth in Norfolk, because my brother and I would be taken there for long weekends during the summer holidays. Friends of ours lived right across from the Pleasure Beach. I remember waking up early and the local kids would come running to get us. We would buy doughnuts and ride the rollercoasters.
New Zealand. I fly down as often as possible. The first time I went was with my eldest daughter, who's now 23, just before she went to secondary school. We went mostly to the North Island, in and around Auckland. It was our big adventure.
Later, a buddy of mine from drama school also moved there and he took me to a place called Piha, which is an old surfing beach, with black sand and a huge rock called "lion rock", that's shaped like a lion in repose. It's so beautiful. If I ever go missing, that's where I'll be.
What have you learnt from your travels?
It's fun to get lost in new places. I like arriving somewhere and taking a left when someone tells you to go right. When all the tourist signs are pointing one way, it's exciting to go the other.
Ideal travelling companion?
My wife, because she's inquisitive and wants to know everything about where we are. I just wander around in blind ignorance, but she likes finding out what the history is and reading all the placards.
For straight up getting into trouble and having fun, my daughters are also great. I have three of them and one is always up for some mischief.
Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?
I like lazing around. My wife's family is French so every summer, when we lived in England [James now lives in the US], we would gather in France with the whole family: brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts, French and English cousins. We would stay in a lovely house, with a pool and we would just cook, play games and chat. That's my idea of a proper holiday.
I particular enjoy the crime writer, Walter Ellis Mosley. He does a series of Chandler-esque detective stories. His most famous character is Easy Rawlins, who was depicted in the film, Devil in a Blue Dress, featuring Denzel Washington. Mosley makes detective writing a real art. It's not just pulp fiction, it's really classy.
Where has seduced you?
I did a film once in the Sahara. It was pretty awe-inspiring. I remember sitting up on the roof of our hotel, watching the sun go down and all around me, for 360 degrees, was nothing but sand. It took your breath away, but also made you feel tiny.
Dominica. It is the most beautiful, unspoilt Caribbean island. The drive from Roseau, the main city, up to the top, where there's a Carib- Indian reservation, is beautiful.
Best meal abroad?
When I first came to LA to film the pilot for Jericho [the CBS series], my wife and I drove to Palm Springs afterwards. We stayed in a little bed and breakfast, built out of William Holden's old house. We asked the owners, where was good to eat and they pointed to Copley's, a non-descript, hut-like place. We sat down, ordered and every single thing was brilliant.
Venice. It's a fantastic place to get lost and turn the corner and be in awe. We stayed at the Hotel Excelsior on the Lido, which was stupidly romantic and luxurious.
Also, Prague, because I had no expectation that it was going to be that beautiful.
I'd really like to go Sydney. I've been to Australia a few times, but I have never been there.
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 Frank Lampard's face drops when Holly Willoughby introduces him as a 'Man City legend'
- 2 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 4 The Visit: Trailer for M Night Shyamalan's latest horror film is terrifying
- 5 9/11: Iranian General accuses US of organising September 11 terror attacks
A380 celebrates first decade in flight - but how long will the Superjumbo's time in the sky last?
12 best hotels in London
Inside Travel: Greece 2015 Q&A - should we cancel our Greek holiday? Are our flights safe? And what will we be spending there?
The Atlas of Beauty: Photographer travels around the world to capture cultural diversity through stunning portraits of women
The 10 Best lightweight luggage
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Phantom of the Opera writer mocked after issuing a warning about Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon
General election 2015: Labour will toughen hate crimes legislation surrounding Islamophobia
HSBC review into moving headquarters from UK 'underway'
£15310 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has arisen for a...
£24000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Situated in the heart of Bradfo...
£18750 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Hotel in Chadderton is a popular ch...
£Competitive (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing and Co...