My life in travel: Rebecca Front

'San Francisco blew me away. It's a wonderful, life-affirming place'

First holiday memory?

Staying with my cousins in Poole, Dorset. We would go to Bournemouth and play on the beach. I remember being there quite late one year in November and it being unseasonably hot.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

Exmoor, straddling Somerset and Devon. I spend a lot of time down there with my husband and children doing huge, long walks that normally end with a big pub lunch.

Best holiday?

A road trip along the west coast of America. We started in Seattle, then drove down through Oregon and California, visiting San Francisco, Monterey and Los Angeles. We would begin at truck stops every morning and eat far too much for breakfast and stay in cheap roadside motels at night. It was fascinating and gave us a real insight into, not just the big cities, but small-town America too.

What have you learnt from your travels?

To be open minded. Lots of forms of travel fill me with anxiety, partly because I suffer from claustrophobia. But unfortunately for me, I married a man who loves travelling, so I've had to get over all that. I've learnt that things are usually much, much better than I anticipate. I always come back thinking "I'm so pleased I went".

Ideal travelling companion?

My husband. I wouldn't travel at all if it weren't for him. He comes up with suggestions of where we should go and then books flights, hotel, car, even restaurants. That makes it seem like he's uptight – but in fact he's really spontaneous and fun. He loves living in the moment. All the great travel experiences I've ever had have been because of him.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

Culture vulture. We do a lot of beach holidays now because of the children. I've grown to like them, but it's not my natural environment. I prefer being in a town, looking at the architecture or sitting at a café and watching the world go by.

Holiday reading?

I tend to take quite weighty books. I'm not a great one for an airport novel. Usually, every summer I'll take a Dickens or an Anthony Trollope. This year, I've been reading A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth, which is just wonderful.

Where has seduced you?

San Francisco. I knew I was going to love New York and not particularly warm to Los Angeles, but I had no preconception of how I was going to take to San Francisco. It completely blew me away. It's just a wonderful, life-affirming place.

Also, Istanbul. I'd never been that far east before, to a country that's predominately Muslim. Just hearing the call to prayer was visceral for me.

Better to travel or arrive?

Arrive. Claustrophobia comes into play a lot in travel, such as checking into a hotel to find your room is on the seventh floor and not being able to use the lift. There was a time I wouldn't fly. Now I do long haul without really worrying.

Worst travel experience?

A villa outside Siracusa, Sicily. It looked lovely when we booked it but the drive from the airport – which took us past an abattoir and a high-security jail – made us realise that perhaps this wasn't the salubrious neighbourhood that we'd hoped for. Sicily itself was beautiful, so we went back another time to Taormina and had a wonderful time.

Best hotel?

The Fairmont Miramar in Santa Monica. My husband was there on business, so I spent a week there with the kids. It was posh and luxurious but it didn't feel like staff were being too deferential.

Favourite ride?

In the States, we went to Andrew Molera State Park. None of us had ridden horses before but we found a stables that took us on this amazing two-hour ride, which was stunning and totally unexpected.

Best meal abroad?

Angelino's in Florence. It's quite a meat-heavy restaurant and I'm vegetarian, but if you go during porcini season, they will grill you a big slab of mushroom as if it's a sirloin steak. It's just gorgeous.

Favourite city?

Florence. It's where we had our honeymoon. I've been there lots of times and I immediately feel at home the minute I arrive.

Where next?

Another jaunt to Somerset to meet friends and walk their dogs. Then New York for New Year.

Bafta-winning actress Rebecca Front stars in the new series of The Thick of It, which starts tonight on BBC2 at 9.45pm.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
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?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Trainer / PT - OTE £32,000 Uncapped

    £22000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Recruitment Genius: Membership Sales Advisor - OTE £10,000 Uncapped - Part Time

    £7500 - £10000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness chai...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Executive / Digital Marketing Executive

    COMPETITIVE: Guru Careers: A Marketing / Digital Marketing Executive (CRM, Eve...

    Recruitment Genius: Receptionist / Sales / Customer Service Assistant

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: The role is likely to be 4on 4 off, days and ...

    Day In a Page

    The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

    They fled war in Syria...

    ...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
    From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

    Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

    Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
    Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

    Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

    Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
    From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

    Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

    From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
    Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

    Kelis interview

    The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea