Alan Titchmarsh TV presenter
How often do you travel?
Given the nature of the programmes that I’ve done, like Gardeners’ World and Songs of Praise, I’ve covered a lot of the British countryside and the UK from top to bottom and side to side. It’s such a pity more people don’t appreciate what’s on their doorstep.
What do you need for a perfect holiday?
One that doesn’t involve airports – that’s why I’ve done a lot of train travel. We occasionally go down to a friend in the south of France, near Cannes, via rail, taking a picnic onboard with us. It’s a really civilised way to enjoy the scenery changing as you’re going along from Normandy through to Provence.
Your earliest memory of travelling abroad?
Holidays with my parents to Blackpool – we always went to Bispham, a village about a mile and a half from the town centre. My mother considered it the select end of town, although it wasn’t as posh as Lytham St Annes. I loved the donkey rides, fishing for crabs and the little boating pond. I vividly remember always getting sand in my egg sandwiches!
Most adventurous travel experience?
Ten years ago, I went to Burma – it was the first cruise ship that had been allowed in for years. And around six or seven years ago, I went to a rainforest and did white-water rafting in Costa Rica, and explored the Guatemalan jungle. I’m just thankful I stayed afloat.
Your most relaxing destination?
My wife and I always have a winter holiday that I call the “fly and flop”. In January and February, you don’t want culture, you just want A few places remain on this cruise through Holland and Belgium which includes seeing the Keukenhof Gardens. to get your bones warm and eat, drink, sleep. We usually go to the Caribbean.
Best holiday ever?
Closer to home, two years ago we switched our holiday flat on the Isle of Wight for a home with a lovely garden right on the seafront. We spent all of August on the island this year and my wife commented that it was the best holiday we’d ever had.
The Danieli in Venice. It has a wonderful roof terrace that looks right out across the Grand Canal.
Venice, Paris and Rome, but I’m always willing to go back to Venice at the drop of a hat because I love exploring the historical buildings and art collections. They each have their unique identity. I love Paris for its wide boulevards and cafés, and Rome for the ancient history.
Best health tip while travelling?
Don’t overdo the booze, especially while flying – just because it’s there doesn’t mean you need to drink it. Everything in moderation.
Your travel essential?
I take plenty of books.
What do you hate about holidays?
Airports – they’re not my idea of fun at all. Some of the staff are lovely, but you do always get one or two that seem to forget that it’s actually costing you a lot of money to be there and be insulted by their surliness. Times have obviously changed and we need to get used to being strictly vetted, but a smile wouldn’t harm.
New Zealand – it’s at the top of my bucket list. And New England in the fall, when the leaves are changing. Mr Gandy’s Grand Tour by Alan Titchmarsh is out now (£20; Hodder & Stoughton)
Intrepid traveller: Alan Titchmarsh has enjoyed white-water rafting, below, and Burma, above