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News & Advice

My life in travel: Tim Pigott-Smith

'Living in Biarritz was one long holiday'

Tim Pigott-Smith stars as P G Wodehouse in Wodehouse in Exile, which is available to watch now on BBC iPlayer

First holiday memory?

A little place called Morfa Nefyn on the Llyn Peninsula of Wales. We went there for two weeks every summer for the first 10 years of my life. We always stayed at the Fairway Country Hotel, where we met some people who became lifelong friends.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

Cornwall. I especially like the Padstow area and the south coast near Portloe. It's lovely, though I do wish it was a bit closer to London.

Best holiday?

We had a house in Biarritz for over a decade, which was one long holiday. It was wonderful to get on a plane and know exactly what you were going to do when you landed.

What have you learnt from your travels?

Don't travel at Christmas or New Year. I don't think there's much pleasure in going away in peak season. I book well in advance, get the best deal and allow myself a bit of luxury.

Ideal travelling companion?

My wife is a fantastic traveller. She's good fun and very optimistic. Even if things get bad, she's good at seeing the light side.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

I'm ashamed to say that in the 12 years we went to Biarritz, I didn't travel around much. It was all sun and sand. I went for the sheer relaxation of being on the beach and jumping in the sea.

Holiday reading?

I've never paid for a book on my e-reader – you can download many of the classics for free. I also tend to buy something fairly pulpy at the airport.

Where has seduced you?

The east coast of Australia. They enjoy a very beautiful and seductive way of life there.

Better to travel or arrive?

My first arrival in India was memorable – landing at Delhi airport at 2am to start filming The Jewel in the Crown in the Eighties. The man who was supposed to pick me up wasn't there, so I spent a very uncomfortable three hours phoning around hotels to find out where I was supposed to be. It was a major culture shock, but I adored India.

Best hotel?

The Algonquin in New York. It's where Dorothy Parker and the other literary figures of the Round Table used to meet for lunch every day during the Twenties. It's one of those rare places that has a wonderful sense of history.

Favourite city?

For sheer excitement, a weekend in New York is unbeatable. Arrive on Friday morning, leave on Monday night and don't worry about jet lag – just buzz for four days.

Where next?

Possibly to West Wittering on the south coast. I need a break after the stress of moving house!