My Life In Travel: Sophie Conran, interior designer and cookery writer

'I'm still amazed every time I get on a plane'

First holiday memory?

Spending summers near Cadaqués in Spain. Some family friends had a villa there with a big stone veranda where I remember watching the haziness of the horizon when the temperature soared. We used towels as stepping-stones on the beach because the sand was so hot. We made a barbecue with pine twigs and cooked pan con tomate – grilled bread rubbed with garlic and tomatoes, drizzled with olive oil.

Best holiday?

Fairylands, Bermuda. My husband and I got married there a few years ago, and a hundred friends and family came too. We rented a house and two hotels on the beach, so there were lots of big lunches and dinners, followed by parties and dancing with steel bands.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

Devon. I used to have a farm there and love the little seaside towns, such as Beer. There's a café called Ducky's on the beach that does fantastic crab sandwiches, or you can rent a boat and go mackerel fishing. The village of Holbeton is great for antique shops and there are beautiful walks along the coast.

What have you learnt from your travels?

As a designer, I've learnt that there's no right way to do things. The ingenuity I've witnessed in factories across India is deeply inspiring.

Ideal travelling companion?

My children. We've been to Morocco, Mexico, Thailand, Japan and recently sailed from Saint Lucia to Grenada at Christmas. They're fascinated by travel and don't get fazed. I get enjoyment from seeing their reactions.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

I love relaxing on a beach, but I'm also a great fan of admiring the architecture, meeting local people and sampling the regional food. Last summer, I hired three gulet boats with a group of friends and sailed the Turkish coast near Bodrum.

It was the perfect combination. We stopped at lovely towns, pottered around looking at embroideries, ceramics and antiques, and came back to the boat for delicious food. We spent three days in Istanbul, which has mind-blowing energy and architecture.

Greatest travel luxury?

The ability to fly. I still find it amazing every time I get on a plane. If our grandparents wanted to visit New York, they had to get a boat and it would take weeks. Today, we can be there in a few hours.

Holiday reading?

My stepmother is always my first port of call. She's usually got about 30 books on the go at once and has just lent me The Wish Maker by Khaled Hosseini, which I'll read on my next trip.

Where has seduced you?

Provence. My father [Terence Conran] used to have a house there. We would go for a couple of weeks every summer, so I feel very relaxed and happy there. There's something in the air. The combination of umbrella pines and wild herbs that grow there leaves a lovely perfume. The food and antique markets are fantastic, plus there are great restaurants and beautiful beaches.

Worst travel experience?

A trip to Amsterdam with friends when I was a teenager. We stayed in a youth hostel and then ran out of money. Luckily, one of the guys could play the violin, so we ended up busking and sleeping in a bus shelter, which was actually quite fun.

Worst hotel?

A place I stayed at in India when I was 17. I was on a work trip with my aunt, who was the buying director for Habitat, and we drove all round visiting factories and stayed at all sorts of hotels. This particular place was listed on our itinerary as the "the Ritz in Bangalore". But, on arrival, we found a rat-infested hovel with mud floors and little wooden beds without any covers.

Best hotel?

The Ritz in Paris. I was very young and went with a friend whose family paid for it. I remember we ordered room service, and it felt like the most exciting thing.

Favourite drive?

A gastronomic tour of Italy. My parents had planned it all, without remembering that I was inconveniently on school holidays at the time – so I ended up having to tag along. We drove all through Tuscany, eating at wonderful restaurants and staying in all these fantastic old villas, and we finished up in Rome.

Best meal abroad?

Anywhere with my dad. He does his homework and always knows the best places to go. Recently, he took me for dinner at the Hôtel de Crillon in Paris, where we ate sweetbread and seafood cocktail in this beautiful pink marble room. We had a lovely time.

Dream trip?

I haven't been to Florence for years, so I'm dying to go back. I've never been to New Zealand or Cambodia, and Madagascar has always fascinated me.

Favourite city?

London. It's my home and is filled with all my friends. It's full of creative people, art galleries and theatre – and the food just seems to be getting better every day.

Where next?

I'm off to Rajasthan, India, in a few weeks to go to a friend's 10th wedding anniversary, which I can't wait for. After that, it's Rome in April for a city break with my husband and both of our mothers. We're going to eat pasta, see theatre and visit all the sites.

Sophie Conran has designed an Easter egg as part of the the Fabergé Big Egg Hunt, which will be on display outside the Jumeirah Carlton Tower in Knightsbridge, west London, until 8 April: and

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
An iceberg in Ilulissat, Greenland; researchers have been studying the phenomena of the melting glaciers and their long-term ramifications for the rest of the world (Getty)
Arts and Entertainment
Hugh Jackman bears his claws and loses the plot in X-Men movie 'The Wolverine'
Arts and Entertainment
'Knowledge is power': Angelina Jolie has written about her preventive surgery
Zayn has become the first member to leave One Direction. 'I have to do what feels right in my heart,' he said
peopleWe wince at anguish of fans, but his 1D departure shows the perils of fame in the social media age
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

    SFL Group: Video Project Manager

    £24,000 pa, plus benefits: SFL Group: Looking for a hard-working and self-moti...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Reservations Assistant - French Speaking

    £16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding travel c...

    Recruitment Genius: Duty Manager - World-Famous London Museum

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you have a strong record of ...

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Assistant

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will have demonstrable unde...

    Day In a Page

    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
    How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

    How to make your own Easter egg

    Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

    Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

    Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
    Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

    Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

    The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

    Cricket World Cup 2015

    Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
    The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing