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News & Advice

My life in travel: Liz Earle

'I love Venice at night – you can hear the gondoliers calling across the canals'

Beauty entrepreneur Liz Earle launches a new charity this month, LiveTwice, to help disadvantaged young people (livetwice.org).

First holiday memory?

Eating sandy sandwiches on Plymouth Hoe. My grandmother used to live in a flat overlooking the sea, so we would head off and see her each year.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

North Norfolk. Some friends of mine live in Stanhoe, so we often spend time amid the sand dunes and beach huts of Brancaster Beach.

Best holiday?

My honeymoon. I didn't have a clue where we were going, not even when we landed. I was blindfolded and led on to the plane. We started off in Jamaica and then ended up at Parrot Cay in the Turks and Caicos islands.

What have you learnt from your travels?

I travel a lot on botanical field trips, often through developing countries. The main thing I've learnt is to plan ahead: think about what you need every day and avoid taking too much. Pre-planning pays dividends.

Ideal travelling companion?

I quite like travelling on my own. I've got five children, so getting through the airport can be quite exhausting. In an ideal world I would arrive, unpack and they would all turn up a day later.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

Kenya ticks all the boxes. You can go on safari, be on the beach or immerse yourself in a bustling city like Nairobi. The people are warm and welcoming, too. I was in Lamu earlier this year, where you find Islamic culture and trader heritage from centuries gone by with beautiful architecture.

Holiday reading?

I tend to take magazines that I haven't had time to read. Things like Vanity Fair or The Spectator, that I can flick through and leave them behind.

Where has seduced you?

The Austrian Alps. We often go skiing as a family, and because I'm not that adventurous, I go off walking instead. It's incredibly invigorating.

Better to travel or arrive?

I find travel quite exhausting, although I did enjoy the 24-hour flight to Australia, as you're tucked away in this wonderful little cocoon: no emails, no phone and nobody asking you to do things.

Worst travel experience?

Being on one of the first flights out of Terminal 5 at Heathrow when British Airways lost the entire family's luggage ahead of a skiing holiday. We spent the week wearing borrowed outfits and feeling very awkward. I always pack a change of clothes in my hand luggage now.

Best hotel?

Peponi, a small family-run hotel on the beachfront in Lamu. They serve amazing fresh seafood and the views across the coast are amazing. It's very relaxed place: you might be mingling with a rock star or royalty and you wouldn't be aware of it. The speedboat ride from the dusty Lamu airstrip to Peponi is 10 minutes of windswept anticipation.

Best meal abroad?

A little Italian restaurant called Il Grillo e Buoncantore that I stumbled upon in the Tuscan town of Chiusi. It's run by a couple who are part of the slow food movement, so it's all very simple, local and delicious. My favourite dish was this incredible fruit ice cream, which they loaded into strawberries and plums.

Favourite city?

Venice. It's a grown-up Disneyland, but I do love it – especially at night when you hear the gondoliers calling out across the canals. We took the children there one year for the carnival which was an extraordinary experience – everyone in the streets in masks and capes.

Where next?

The Icehotel in Sweden at the end of this month with my son for his 20th birthday. We're going for a bit of mum and son time – and hopefully we'll spot the Northern Lights, too.