My Life In Travel: Miriam Margolyes, actress

The My Life in Travel column is produced in association with Andalucia Tourism. See

First holiday memory?

Going to Glasgow, where my father was born and where his mother and sister lived. I loved it because we drove from Oxford and I remember going through Hull where they made Reckitt's Blue – the laundry whitener and starch – and all the factory workers had blue faces. We also always went to Cliftonville and Broadstairs. I loved it and still have a holiday home in Kent. I used to be taken to Dreamland in Margate where I'd take part in the talent contests, which I once won.

Best holiday?

When I was at Cambridge I used to go with the experimental theatre group around Europe in a coach at Christmas putting on a Shakespeare play. It was the best fun in the world; I had 34 friends with me and I loved it. More recently, I love going to my Italian farmhouse which I bought in 1973 and share with my partner and another person. It's near Siena in Tuscany, is nearly 300 years old and very simple; I just feel completely at home there.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

I love the West of Ireland around Connemara and also St Margaret's Bay in Kent where I have my house. Somewhere I don't get to so often but also love is Shropshire – the countryside is exquisite. It's a border county and for that reason there's something magical about it.

What have you learnt from your travels?

That there's no point in making stereotypes; people are individuals. Also that I carry too much luggage; I keep trying to divest myself but I never seem to be able to do it. I was recently in Palestine and bought a carpet, which I don't need. I'm an inveterate shopper. More seriously, I think travel should be a learning experience. I was in Palestine with ActionAid which allowed me to visit places I wouldn't have got the chance to see ordinarily, such as the refugee camps where I met people who have suffered through the Israeli occupation.

Ideal travelling companion?

My partner; I try to travel with her as often as possible. She's an Indonesia specialist so I learn about places when I'm with her.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

Probably all and none of those. I have to be somewhere I can swim, with old buildings to look at, which is why I think Italy is the perfect place because it has beaches, culture, shopping and food. But then I love Ireland which is often warm and wet. The main thing is that I don't want to see people – I like to be quite solitary. I get cross if I can hear music, or people laughing.

Greatest travel luxury?

Flying business class. I very seldom do it unless someone else is paying or I've got Air Miles to use. I think it's essential to have a credit card that is affiliated to an airline. If I had one tip, it's to get yourself affiliated!

Where has seduced you?

I think Venice, because I disapprove of it but I keep coming back to it – it's over the top and has gone too far. It's not really a place for people to live in, but there is something so extraordinary about it.

Better to travel or arrive?

To arrive; these days getting to places isn't all that much fun. I'm against terrorism, but I'd just like to smack them all for making us wait in line. The latest thing is to see people laughing at your skeleton. I'm a funny shape and I think I must look ghastly in the X-ray machine.

Worst travel experience?

When I was much younger and went to Rimini with a group of girls – they didn't like me and I didn't like them and all they wanted to do was meet boys. Rimini was dirty and scruffy and I've never been back.

Worst hotel?

A hotel in Hrodna in Belarus about 15 years ago; it was the opposite of comfort and I had to walk down a corridor for the loo.

Best hotel?

The George V in Paris is the most elegant, beautiful and comfortable place with superb service.

Favourite walk/drive?

In Australia I like walking in Airlie Beach which is a little resort town in the Whitsundays region. The most beautiful drive in the world is what we call "the back road to Asciano" from Trequanda through Le Crete. It's a part of Tuscany that isn't particularly well known and I think is much more beautiful than Chianti.

Best meal abroad?

Rather boringly, it's in Tuscany. There's a little restaurant in Monticchiello run by a husband and wife. They do delicious pasta and wonderful lamb. I'm not going to tell you the name of it because too many people will go and there are only 14 tables.

Dream trip?

To go on a train around India. I've always wanted to do it because India is the most wonderful, interesting, surprising country – and they love Dickens there.

Favourite city?

Melbourne is delicious. There are amazing restaurants and it's very beautiful. The centre of town is great fun and there are wonderful big Victorian buildings.

Where next?

I'm going to Sheffield to do Me and My Girl at The Crucible. I love being in the North of England because my mother was born in Liverpool and my father in Glasgow so I feel very at home there. I'm going to do a lot of genealogical surveying while I'm there.

Miriam Margolyes is an ambassador for anti-poverty charity ActionAid ( ).

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
Life and Style
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
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

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Food and Beverage Cost Controller

    18,000 to 20,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: Our fantastic leisure client i...

    Affiliate Marketing Manager / Affiliate Manager

    £50 - 60k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Affiliate Marketing Manager / Affiliate Mana...

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Day In a Page

    Secret politics of the weekly shop

    The politics of the weekly shop

    New app reveals political leanings of food companies
    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
    Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

    Beware Wet Paint

    The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits