My Life In Travel: Marcus Brigstocke, comedian

'Huge parrotfish were swimming beneath us'

Sophie Lam
Saturday 12 February 2011 01:00

First holiday memory?

Going to the south of France with my parents and my sister. We stayed in a small house that belonged to some family friends and my grandparents used to come and stay in a caravan in the grounds. We drove from England; in those days that journey took about eight days, or at least that was how it felt as a child.

Best holiday?

I went to the Maldives the year before last and stayed at One&Only Reethi Rah and the Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru; that was truly spectacular. I've also had some of my happiest holidays in Mallorca with family and friends. It's a very beautiful island. We stay in great place called Camp de Mar near Andratx. So it's a toss-up between the opulent, unforgettable paradise of the Maldives and calamari by the beach, waterskiing and nightclubbing in Mallorca

Favourite place in the British Isles?

There's a lot of the UK that is truly spectacular. Having spent holiday weekends in Brighton, my wife and I are now hoping to move there; and Edinburgh during the festival is an amazing place. I go to Hay-on-Wye for the festival and I think it's stunning; if the commute to London was do-able I'd probably move there. The Brecon Beacons and the Black Mountains are just glorious, too.

What have you learnt from your travels?

I have learnt that I am incapable of packing the right amount of clothing, probably because I start 10 minutes before I'm supposed to leave; and that I truly hate airports. I rarely fly, for environmental reasons more than anything else. I take most of my holidays in northern Europe and I either drive or take the train.

Ideal travelling companion?

It depends. My wife and I are very ski-compatible because we ski and snowboard at a similar speed, so that tends to work out well. My brother is also a great companion, although we rarely get the chance.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

I like to be busy; I'm not interested in sleeping on a beach. I enjoy that sort of environment, but I want there to be sailing, walking, cycling, tennis, wakeboarding or scuba diving with it.

Greatest travel luxury?

I don't really go anywhere without my iPod. I have the biggest version that you can get, and I've got about 27,000 songs on it.

Holiday reading?

I'm bad at choosing books. I panic and end up reading political biographies.

Where has seduced you?

I went to China for a brief working visit and I thought that Shanghai was interesting, but Beijing totally grabbed me; I thought it was amazingly exciting. It was before the Olympics so I think it was quite different to how it is today. I felt a long way from home, but I was truly seduced by it. It stank and was a bit scary, people were eating weird things and tried to sell me stuff all the time, a lot of them were unhelpful and it was smoggy, but there was something viscerally exciting about the place.

Better to travel or arrive?

We bought a motorhome a few years ago and have just exchanged it for an Airstream trailer, so that has changed my view of travel; the journey has become the holiday. If you miss a ferry, they'll let you get on the next one and if you don't like where you're staying you can just move onto the next place.

Worst travel experience?

My son, sister, niece and I were sea kayaking in Mexico and got caught in a rip tide. One of the kayaks got tipped over. We got it back up but we were pulled further out to sea. Eventually a speedboat came to help us. We were out there for about three hours and when I got back to shore I not only realised how exhausted I was but how much danger we had been in.

Worst hotel?

A resort hotel in Varadero, Cuba. I had expected it to be exciting but didn't realise that they keep all the tourists in one place with a manacle around their wrist that tells everyone which hotel you're in. You can't really go anywhere and you're being served cocktails by people who have three degrees. I thought it sucked.

Best hotel?

Both the Reethi Rah and Landaa Giraavaru in the Maldives. They were absolutely exceptional. At the Landaa Giraavaru we had a water villa with a thatched roof on the end of a jetty with huge parrotfish swimming around beneath us.

Favourite drive?

The drive to Hay-on-Wye from Cardiff is truly spectacular and the same goes for Edinburgh, through the Peak and Lake Districts – breathtaking.

Best meal abroad?

Paella in Sant' Elm, Mallorca. It's a small bay of crystal clear water and three restaurants that are all as good as each other. You start with squid and then move on to paella with ingredients pulled straight from the sea that morning.

Dream trip?

I have never been to India. I want to find a period in my life when I can spend a decent amount of time there; I'm not interested in dipping my toe into the water.

Favourite city?

New York. It has great restaurants and is a part of the US that you can enjoy as a liberal Brit.

Where next?

On a family snowboarding holiday in Val d'Isère.

Marcus Brigstocke will be performing at Altitude at Volvo Snowbombing from 4-9 April in Mayrhofen, Austria (

The My Life in Travel column is produced in association with Andalucia Tourism. See

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