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: jumeirahcarltontower.com and thebigegghunt.co.uk

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
techYahoo Japan launches service to delete your files and email your relatives when you die
Life and Style
Child's play: letting young people roam outdoors directly contradicts the current climate
lifeHow much independence should children have?
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book
booksFind out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>
filmRobert Downey Jr named Hollywood's highest paid actor for second year running
Life and Style
Dale Bolinger arranged to meet the girl via a fetish website
life
Property
Sign here, please: Magna Carta Island
propertyYours for a cool £4m
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
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    VB.NET and C# developer (VB.NET,C#,ASP.NET)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...

    Visitor Experience volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary role: Old Royal Naval College: To assist the Visitor Experien...

    Telesales Manager. Paddington, London

    £45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

    Recruitment Consultant (Trainee), Finchley Central, London

    £17K OTE £30K: Charter Selection: Highly successful and innovative specialist...

    Day In a Page

    Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

    The 'scroungers’ fight back

    The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
    Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

    Fireballs in space

    Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
    A Bible for billionaires

    A Bible for billionaires

    Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
    Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

    Paranoid parenting is on the rise

    And our children are suffering because of it
    For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

    Magna Carta Island goes on sale

    Yours for a cool £4m
    Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
    Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

    Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

    Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
    Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

    Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

    They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
    The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

    20 best days out for the summer holidays

    From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
    Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

    All the wood’s a stage

    Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
    Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

    Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

    Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
    Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

    Self-preservation society

    Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
    Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

    Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

    We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor