My life in travel: Rafe Spall

'Driving the Garden Route feels like Eden'

Actor Rafe Spall is known for his roles in Pete Versus Life and One Day. His latest film, I Give It a Year, is released in UK cinemas this weekend.

First holiday memory?

We always used to go on amazing holidays as kids, often to some quite strange places. We once rented a house in Guerneville, California. One day, we drove through the Napa Valley to this really smart restaurant and I got really car sick. I managed to eat a whole burger and chips before throwing it all up on the restaurant floor.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

Soho. When I'm there, I feel like I'm at the centre of the world. I'm proud to be from London. I think it's the most civilised place in the world.

Best holiday?

My wife, Elize, is South African, so every Christmas we go to her family's house in St Francis Bay in the Eastern Cape for three weeks. We spend days taking long walks on the beach and having lots of barbecues. It's absolutely beautiful.

What have you learnt from your travels?

I've never been into package holidays, but I'm not interested in backpacking either. I like to be out and about, to see where I am and experience places.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

Beach and culture is the perfect mix. A few years ago, I shot a BBC drama in Jamaica and fell in love with the place. I love the fact that it's warm and a bit rough around the edges. It's so vibrant and the music is amazing, too.

Where has seduced you?

Baja California. I love Mexico, especially the food. I stayed in the Cabo Surf Hotel, which is not particularly fashionable, but a great base.

Better to travel or arrive?

Definitely arrive. I've just come back on a 10-hour flight from South Africa with my 18-month-old and 10-week-old kids, which puts hairs on your chest. I'd love to travel business or first class, but my wife thinks it's a racket and unjustifiable.

Best hotel?

Babington House in Somerset. It's beautiful, exquisitely comfortable and they do amazing food.

Worst hotel?

I was doing a film in Romania eight years ago and the budget was tight, so they put us up in a terrible hotel near an industrial estate in Bucharest.

Favourite drive?

When Elize and I drove the Garden Route in South Africa through the winelands of Franschhoek and Stellenbosch to Cape Town. It's like Eden.

Best meal abroad?

Bukhara in Delhi. They serve a dahl (thick stew made from pulses) that's cooked overnight and a slow-roasted leg of lamb that just falls apart.

Favourite city?

Berlin. I shot a film called Anonymous there and love that it's completely un-exclusive. It's a city for everyone. People just wants to have a good time.

Where next?

I'd love to go to Nigeria. I love the music, especially Fela Kuti and the photographer Pieter Hugo, who has taken great pictures of Nigeria.

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