My Life In Travel: Nicholas Owen, broadcaster

'Wherever I go, I always seek a decent margarita'

First holiday memory?

My parents weren't well off, but once – and very unusually – we went to Guernsey. We flew from Northolt because it was 1951 and Heathrow wasn't yet fully operational. I was four years old and I remember running along the beaches and falling into some seawater. It was a great experience.

Best holiday?

In the year 2000, my wife and I went to Israel and Jordan. We were very lucky to be able to see Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Golan Heights and Jericho in relative ease before we crossed into Jordan, where we ended up at Petra. When I was in Petra my mobile rang and it was my son-in-law telling me that our first granddaughter had arrived – the ancient and modern colliding. It was a sensational holiday.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

I started my broadcasting career at the BBC in the North-east of England and I think Northumberland takes a lot of beating, particularly the coast. It is the most gorgeous, wild and not too overpopulated place. It tends to be chilly, but in the summer you can have glorious weather there.

What have you learnt from your travels?

I've learnt the value of a good hotel. I'm not someone who wants to sleep in a tent or self-catering villa. Give me a good hotel any day.

Ideal travelling companion?

Without a doubt, my wife. We're very lucky, because we go on a lot of holidays together and the great thing is that we love exactly the same sort of holidays.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

My wife and I are not great beach people but we love cities and mountains. I don't necessarily have to go into every museum and in fact one can very quickly get bored doing that. I prefer walking the streets, meeting people and seeing new things whether they're ancient or modern.

Greatest travel luxury?

A decent and properly made margarita; that's what I seek wherever I go. The best one I ever had was at a very nice hotel on the shores of Lake Como, looking out over the lake as the sun set over Switzerland. The margarita was the best I'd ever tasted, though the environment played an important part too.

Holiday reading?

I always take books and have just bought a Kindle to download them on to. I'm a great one for books of modern history, less so novels. I like to read a book that's relevant to a place I'm in, so if I'm in France I like a bit of 20th-century French history.

Where has seduced you?

Italy, particularly the lakes and cities in the north. Seduction is extremely short; you're off the plane and seduced in a trice.

Better to travel or arrive?

I love flying but I hate airports. Nowadays I'm always looking for ways to get the train and I'm delighted by the fact that it's getting easier to get to places on the Continent on the Eurostar and TGV.

Worst travel experience?

Flying out of New York with two hours of the most appalling turbulence. It wasn't pleasant and the pilot didn't bother to reassure us, which was quite annoying. Also, my wife and I went to northern Spain a few years ago – "green Spain" as they call it. We found that it wasn't as advertised; "industrial Spain" would have been more apt. It wasn't a happy experience.

Worst hotel?

A hotel on that fateful Spanish trip in the Picos de Europa national park. We drove there in thick fog and arrived at this ghastly hotel. Not only was it miserable but there was no breakfast beyond a piece of bread; it was a shambles.

Best hotel?

The Castillo Hotel Son Vida in Mallorca. It did all the right things: it was luxurious, the staff were terrific and I think it must have been high up the margarita index! A joint favourite is the Bareiss Hotel in the Black Forest, where we've been back to several times. It is family-run but quite large and just superb.

Favourite walk?

We love going walking through the beautiful countryside of the Black Forest. You can set off for three-quarters of an hour, stop for a beer and a bun then continue for a bit longer, then stop for a coffee. The Black Forest is very under-appreciated by British people, plus you can get there by train.

Best meal abroad?

A meal in what used to be East Berlin. We went to a restaurant not far from the Brandenburg Gate about a year ago which was Michelin-starred. We didn't know what to expect but we had lots of small courses served with great style. It wasn't overbearing and the food was wonderful. I think the fact that it was unexpected made it so memorable.

Dream trip?

When I was royal correspondent for ITN I once got to the Falklands. One day I was stood looking out to the horizon and a man next to me said "next stop Antarctica". I would really like to get to Antarctica; that is an outstanding ambition.

Favourite city?

London. I think it has everything that a city should have. In recent years I think the riverside has become sensational. To stand on one of the bridges across the Thames at night is just wonderful.

Where next?

To Cannes, for holiday.

Nicholas Owen hosts Saturday afternoons from noon on Classic FM, available on100-102 FM,

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

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West, performing in New York last week, has been the subject of controversy as rock's traditional headline slot at Glastonbury is lost once again
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Life and Style
Drinking - often heavily - is a running theme throughout HBO's Game of Thrones adaptation
food + drink
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
  • Get to the point
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

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Supervisor

    £24800 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As one of London's leading Muse...

    Recruitment Genius: Centre Manager

    £14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Guru Careers: Accountant

    £28 - 45k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Accountant is needed to take control of the ...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Assistant Manager

    £18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This hotel in Chadderton is a p...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living