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?
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?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Guru Careers: Product Manager / Product Marketing Manager / Product Owner

    COMPETITIVE: Guru Careers: A Product Manager / Product Owner is required to jo...

    Guru Careers: Carpenter / Maintenance Operator

    £25k plus Benefits: Guru Careers: A Carpenter and Maintenance Operator is need...

    Recruitment Genius: Visitor Experience Coordinator

    £17600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This museum cares for one of the largest...

    Recruitment Genius: Experienced PSV Coach & Minibus Drivers

    £12500 - £24500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Drivers wanted for a family run...

    Day In a Page

    Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

    Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

    Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
    Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

    Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

    Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'
    Singapore's domestic workers routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals

    Singapore's hidden secret of domestic worker abuse

    David Cameron was shown the country's shiniest veneer on his tour. What he didn't see was the army of foreign women who are routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals
    Showdown by Shirley Jackson: A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic

    Showdown, by Shirley Jackson

    A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic
    10 best DSLRs

    Be sharp! 10 best DSLRs

    Up your photography game with a versatile, powerful machine
    Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

    Solved after 200 years

    The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
    Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

    Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

    Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
    Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

    Sunken sub

    Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
    Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

    Age of the selfie

    Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
    Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

    Not so square

    How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
    Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

    Still carrying the torch

    The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
    The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

    The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

    ...but history suggests otherwise
    The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

    The bald truth

    How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
    Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

    Tour de France 2015

    Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
    Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

    A new beginning for supersonic flight?

    Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash