My life in travel: Sara Cox, DJ and presenter

'I got to work in Milan, New York and Korea, which made me pretty fearless'

First holiday memory?

The south of France. It seemed to take a lifetime to get to Dover in the coach, but I'll never forget driving through the French countryside, with the trees forming a tunnel over our heads and the sunlight dappling down. It was gorgeous.

Best holiday?

Grenada, with my friend Claire. We met when we were 19 on a modelling job in Seoul, so you can plonk us anywhere and we'll always have a brilliant time. This trip was right before I had children, so we just sat in a plunge pool all day, ate loads of food and made a pop video to "Never Ever" by the All Saints.

As a family, my favourite is Center Parcs. You can take three children to a five-star hotel in Mauritius and they don't really give a monkey's – but they haven't stopped talking about Sherwood Forest and Elveden. It just taps into those simple, back-to-nature holidays that you never forget.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

Berkshire. I recently did a charity horse race at Glorious Goodwood and was having to get up at 4am every morning to train at John W Hills' stable in Upper Lambourn. Around there, it's just sweeping, beautiful, open countryside. You've got bright red poppy fields on one side and yellow rape seed on the other. You trot through little chocolate-box villages and get to have a nosey in peoples' gardens. It's the best way to start the day.

What have you learnt from your travels?

I was very lucky to be an unsuccessful supermodel. I got to work in Milan, New York and South Korea when I was really young – which made me pretty fearless. I've learnt to be open-minded and try to see as many places as you can.

Ideal travelling companion?

My other half, Ben. He's my best friend really, so I'd better bring him along. When we want to escape, we go to Cowley Manor in the Cotswolds. As a family, Walt Disney World in Orlando was pretty special. It's weird because you walk in to be greeted by all these people doing a slow-motion wave with big Disney hands, but it was emotional watching the kids' faces light up.

Holiday reading?

I've just bought The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern because I saw it on Richard and Judy's Book Club. I'll start it after I've finished Jeremy Vine's autobiography, It's All News to Me. I sat with him at the Brit Awards a few years ago and he gave me some great career advice. It's really interesting reading about some of the things he's gone through in the industry.

Where has seduced you?

New York. When I modelled there, I used to walk 60 blocks a day to my different castings, so I got to know it well. It sounds cheesy, but I really felt like I belonged. I always thought there might be a girl from Manhattan who felt like she should have been born in Bolton.

Best meal?

Beans on toast with a strong cup of tea at Glastonbury last year. We were staying in a rock-star Winnebago that had been loaned to us by someone on Twitter. It was chucking it down outside and everyone was trudging through the mud to get about. I cooked for me and Ben while we watched You've Been Framed, snuggled inside, before we headed out to party for the evening. It seemed like an absolute feast.

Best hotel?

The Hilton in Baku, Azerbaijan. I was there filming for Eurovision with Scott Mills. It has a rotating bar on the top floor, a spa and swimming pool that look out over the city, a massive chandelier in the lobby, and even the lifts were amazing. It definitely has the "wow" factor.

Dream trip?

I'd like to explore Asia more. I've never been to Thailand and I've always liked the idea of eating street food in Tokyo.

Favourite city?

For a mini break, Barcelona is gorgeous. I remember walking up and down the Ramblas, sitting at a café and watching the world go by. It's a big party city too.

Where next?

Crete. We're staying at the Domes of Elounda. It's got a kids' club, which is always an essential, and I think it's going to be very hot, so I'm looking forward to some relaxation.

DJ and presenter Sara Cox hosts BBC Radio 1's Sunday mid-morning show, 10am-1pm

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