My Life in Travel: Tony Hadley, singer

'I've toured all over the world, but there are lots more places I need to explore'

First holiday memory?

Going to Pontins Holiday Parks in the Sixties. My first trip was probably to Camber Sands in East Sussex, where I remember playing in the dunes on the beach. My first time abroad was in 1973, when I was sent on an "educational trip" on an old Second World War ship that had been converted into a cruise-style boat. We went to Athens and Istanbul and on to Naples. Most people didn't travel then, so for a 13-year-old it was an amazing opportunity.

Best holiday?

Sailing around the Greek Islands for my 50th birthday. My wife, Ali, booked a 50ft boat for us, my youngest daughter, and my three older children. We had a young French skipper on board, who was a great lad. We all learnt to sail and we'd just drop anchor off of a cove and go swimming.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

There are lots more places that I need to explore. I've toured all over the world, and all over the UK too, but I mainly get to see venues, hotels and airports – which is a bit unfortunate. I have always loved the Cotswolds, though. I now live in Buckinghamshire, so we're really close to them and when we first moved out of London we rented a little holiday home there.

What have you learnt from your travels?

Although I love travelling and I've been to some wonderful places, I always appreciate coming home. We criticise this country, but we've actually got a lot going for us.

Ideal travel companion?

Ali and my children. I've got five now; the eldest is 28 and the youngest is five months. They're all beautiful and brilliant. I couldn't think of a more perfect holiday than being with them. We go skiing every year to Morzine in France and stay at a B&B right on the slopes. I love it. If I hadn't become a musician, I would have been a skier.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

I do like the cultural aspects, but I've also been on several big treks with Action Medical Research. One was to Costa Rica – from the Pacific coast, through the jungle, to the Caribbean, where we endured torrential rainfall and got lost. We also went to Peru and to Venezuela, which turned out to be a bit dangerous because I almost fell off of a cliff. Luckily, someone caught me.

Greatest travel luxury?

Deodorant. One thing you notice on treks is how little people wash. I always manage to find a stream, but on one trip there was a guy who didn't wash for six days. It was pretty disgusting.

Holiday reading?

With the children, I don't really get a lot of time to read. But I've got Life, Keith Richards' autobiography, for my next trip.

Where has seduced you?

Sardinia is a really beautiful, lovely place. We went out of season and the views were just fantastic. We also go to Mallorca a lot. We've just got back and we're going again in August. There's this restaurant called La Vitòria right up in the hills near Alcúdia. You just sit there and have some fine Spanish food and wine as the sun goes down.

Better to travel or arrive?

This year, I'm off to St Petersburg and then on to Italy, South Africa and New Zealand. I do love the travelling, but sometimes it's nice to chill out.

Worst travel experience?

I went to the Balkans in the Nineties during the war. I had put together a group called The SAS Band with Cozy Powell, Brian May, Roger Taylor and Chris Thompson. We were asked to play for the Red Cross in Belgrade, but we couldn't fly into Serbia, because they were trying to shoot down the planes.

Instead we had to go to Budapest. It took seven hours to drive to the gig, and when we got to Belgrade the audience were nearly rioting. I was not a happy bunny.

Best hotel?

One of the most impressive hotels, in terms of where it's situated, is the Villa d'Este on Lake Como. Also, Cliveden House in Berkshire, where Ali and I got married. The staff are great. It's very relaxed and it's got such a great history.

Favourite swim?

I love scuba diving. I've been off the coasts of Britain and Cyprus but probably the most spectacular place was Mauritius. It was an underwater dream world.

Where next?

St Petersburg. It's my first trip to Russia, so I'm very keen to experience the culture. I've got a couple of shows and then a day off to explore.

INTERVIEW BY LAURA HOLT

Tony Hadley started his career in Spandau Ballet. He is supporting the Cadbury Dairy Milk Postcards campaign where you can send messages to Olympic athletes ahead of the 2012 Games (cadburypostcards2012).

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