Rory McGrath: My Life in Travel

'Australia is wild but civilised - and you're never far from a beer'


First holiday memory?

I was brought up in Cornwall and we lived about a mile-and-a-half from Portreath beach so summer holidays were always spent there. One day we went to Godrevy, which was another mile-and-a-half from Portreath and it felt like a great adventure.

Best holiday?

I'm very good at being on holiday so they're always enjoyable. But the best was probably when my girlfriend Nicola (now my wife) and I stayed in a villa in Menorca for a fortnight. We had a huge pool to ourselves and I didn't speak to anyone other than Nicola for two weeks.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

I live in Cambridge these days so we're about an hour-and-a-half's drive from the north Norfolk coast, which is a different world. I love places like Holkham Beach.

What have you learnt from your travels?

To stay at home! I think that travel narrows the mind rather than broadens it, because it reminds you how lovely home is.

Ideal travelling companion?

Other than my wife, David Gower. I've done a couple of holiday programmes with him and he's great company.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

I'm 100 per cent beach bum, which probably comes from my Cornish childhood. I like a bit of walking, but things like churches are an anathema to me.

Greatest travel luxury?

A guitar; playing is one of the best legal ways of relaxing. I have a guitar which I don't mind getting sand in that I take on my travels.

Holiday reading?

I like to take a phrase book or a dictionary because I don't like fiction. When I was in St Kitts I read Hitler's Scientists: Science, War and the Devil's Pact by John Cornwell and H 2O: A Biography of Water by Philip Ball.

Where has seduced you?

The north-east coast of Australia. It has stunning scenery, wildlife, beaches and gorgeous girls. Like all of Australia, it's wild but civilised and you're never far from a beer or a girl with large freckly breasts!

Better to travel or arrive?

What I'd really like is to be beamed down. Even if someone else is paying for you to fly in business class it's a pain.

Worst travel experience?

Changing planes at Antigua airport - it was mayhem. Everyone was officious but inefficient - it was as if everyone was barely on nodding terms with the modern world.

Best hotel?

A pub with rooms called the Hoste Arms in Burnham Market, Norfolk. The staff only think of the guests. If you come down for breakfast at lunchtime, they'll cook you breakfast. The Sheraton Noosa in Queensland was amazing, too. I walked into my room thinking I'd walked into the foyer, it was so huge.

Favourite walk/swim/ ride/drive?

My favourite walk is on the north coast of Cornwall, past Hell's Mouth, which is rather spooky. There are fantastic sheer granite cliffs and you occasionally see seals and dolphins in stunningly beautiful water.

Best meal abroad?

Swordfish at a restaurant in Sausalito, California. It was the first time I had tried it and it was beautifully white and meaty.

First thing you do when you arrive somewhere new?

Take my clothes off or tune my guitar, preferably not at the same time. If it's not too hot I'll tune my guitar first because you have to de-tune guitars before you put them on a plane.

Dream trip?

Along the west coast of Ireland, because my wife has never been. I'd start in Cork and go to Tralee over the Boggeragh Mountains via Killarney, then on to Limerick and up the coast round Galway Bay to Sligo, then round to Derry and finish in Belfast, which I've always thought of as one of the liveliest towns I've visited. It's full of great people with a wicked turn of phrase and a great sense of humour.

Favourite city?

Edinburgh, particularly during the festival when it's one of the most amazing places in the world. I like the wild, 24-hour lifestyle with the brooding backdrop of the crags and the castle. It also has great pubs and people and the mighty Forth Bridge. Amsterdam is also a very easy-going and beautiful city.

Where next?

I've got nothing on the horizon but I would love to go to the centre of Australia.

Rory McGrath presents 'Industrial Revelations: Best of British Engineering' on The Discovery Channel, Wednesday (26 July) at 9pm

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
musicOfficial chart could be moved to accommodate Friday international release day
Sport
Wes Brown is sent-off
football
News
i100
Sport
Italy celebrate scoring their second try
six nations
Sport
Glenn Murray celebrates scoring against West Ham
footballWest Ham 1 Crystal Palace 3
Arts and Entertainment
Drake continues to tease ahead of the release of his new album
music
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
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

    Recruitment Genius: Car Sales Executive - OTE £36,000

    £12500 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This established Knaresborough ...

    Beverley James: Accounts Payable

    £23,000: Beverley James: Do you have a background in hospitality and are you l...

    Recruitment Genius: Cleaning Manager - York and Bradford

    £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The post holder is a key member of the V...

    Recruitment Genius: Vehicle Breakdown Recovery Drivers

    £18000 - £28800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Vehicle Breakdown Recovery Driv...

    Day In a Page

    The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower