Kirstie All­sopp

‘Never come back from a hol­i­day with­out book­ing an­other one’

The Daily Telegraph - Travel - - FRONT PAGE - Kirstie All­sopp Tele­vi­sion pre­sen­ter Kirstie All­sopp is an am­bas­sador for the 2017 Clip­per Tea Shop Awards. The short­list is re­vealed this month. For more in­for­ma­tion, see clip­ tea-shop-awards

How of­ten do you travel?

There’s rarely a week when I’m not on a train for work. I’m for­tu­nate in my amount of hol­i­days, so I head out­side the UK for sun and re­lax­ation – hope­fully some place where no­body watches UK tele­vi­sion, not that that’s a huge is­sue.

What do you need for a per­fect hol­i­day?

I like to swim, whether in the ocean, fresh water or rivers; it doesn’t even need to be warm water. Even if I’m ski­ing with the chil­dren, I’ll pick a ho­tel with a pool.

Your ear­li­est mem­ory of trav­el­ling abroad?

We’d al­ways go to Corn­wall. I didn’t get on a plane un­til I was nine. We went to rental houses Mum would find in the back of the The Spec­ta­tor. Com­pared to Airbnb, it was very old school – you’d send a stamped ad­dressed en­ve­lope and de­posit and get pho­tos in re­turn. Mum lost the plot once and said: “It’s not a hol­i­day, cook­ing and clean­ing in some­one else’s home.” Af­ter that, we’d find a place in Spain or Greece where there were lots of lit­tle tav­er­nas.

Favourite hol­i­day des­ti­na­tion?

I’ve been to In­dia seven times, the first when I was 14, with Mum. It was a two-week bus tour of Ra­jasthan – I dis­cov­ered the trip in the back of a Sun­day news­pa­per. I was about 40 years younger than ev­ery­one else on it, but it was lovely.

Most re­lax­ing hol­i­day?

My part­ner, Ben, and I went to LA in 2010 for nine days, when our youngest son was a tod­dler. We hired a con­vert­ible Mus­tang and went to lots of lit­tle flea mar­kets and shops, the Rose Bowl, trav­elled down the coast, and ate amaz­ing Cal­i­for­nian food. I was OK with leav­ing the boys by then, be­cause they were used to me be­ing away for short stints for work. It’s im­por­tant to have qual­ity time as a cou­ple.

Favourite fam­ily hol­i­days?

My chil­dren and stepchil­dren are very spoilt in that re­spect be­cause I al­ways want to max­imise our time to­gether. I’m a great plan­ner, of­ten book­ing a year in ad­vance to get the best deal. We’ve been to Kenya a lot, down the coast to a beau­ti­ful place called Kil­ifi, known for its beaches. We’re also avid skiers. I took my step­sons to New York City five years ago, be­cause so many chil­dren’s films, like Night at the Mu­seum and Stu­art Lit­tle, are based in NYC. It was just be­fore Christ­mas, so it was re­ally magical.

Favourite city?

I’m a big fan of Istanbul. Turk­ish food is de­li­cious, al­though be­cause of its diver­sity and his­tory, you can get lots of eth­nic food there, in­clud­ing some good Greek and Ital­ian. The river’s a hive of ac­tiv­ity – I love get­ting some fresh fish from the boats. I’ve never been afraid of local street food.

Favourite ho­tel?

I’m a bit ho­tel-pho­bic and will go a long way while work­ing to avoid stay­ing in one. But on one trip to In­dia I stayed in the most beau­ti­ful ho­tel, the De­vi­garh, which was a for­mer palace. It’s just out­side Jodh­pur.

Favourite restau­rant?

I re­cently tried a new restau­rant in Not­ting Hill called Six Port­land Road: it was fan­tas­tic – friendly, local and un­pre­ten­tious. Just sim­ple, de­li­cious gas­tro-pub fare. I had the an­chovies, bean and egg starter, fol­lowed by hake with lentils and a man­govodka sor­bet.

Worst travel ex­pe­ri­ence?

My youngest step­son used to be sick when­ever we trav­elled and the poor boy once fa­mously puked into my hand lug­gage while sit­ting on the bag­gage trol­ley and I was get­ting all the pass­ports out. More se­ri­ously, I’ve had un­pleas­ant episodes on trains while trav­el­ling through In­dia, but I cer­tainly could have come off a lot worse.

Favourite place for a drink?

5 Hert­ford Street in May­fair. The in­te­ri­ors were done by Ri­fat Ozbek, a great friend of a Turk­ish friend of mine. Sit­ting there, with a vodka mar­tini, is my idea of child-free heaven. When I’m on the road for work film­ing with Phil [Spencer], there’s noth­ing bet­ter than es­cap­ing the cold, damp weather by go­ing into a wel­com­ing, warm tea room.

Best piece of travel ad­vice?

Never come back from a hol­i­day with­out hav­ing booked an­other one. And don’t for­get to check-in on­line 24 hours in ad­vance oth­er­wise many air­lines will con­sider you to be show­ing up late even if you ar­rive at the air­port hours in ad­vance. You’ll be the first to be bumped off.

Your travel es­sen­tials?

I’ve had many a bat­tle with air­port au­thor­i­ties about my carry-on liq­uids, so I’ve now got an Anya Hind­march cu­bic-litre clear plas­tic re­seal­able bag. I also take a cash­mere shawl from ME+EM. I al­ways thought it’s all right for celebs swan­ning about look­ing glam­orous, not a mum of four with a lot of clob­ber. But now I’ve be­come a to­tal con­vert.

Favourite air­line?

I’ve flown all the low-cost ones – easy­Jet, Ryanair, and JetBlue – I was sur­prised by how good it was. The prob­lem is, the book­ing sys­tem all the air­lines use is creak­ing at the seams.

What do you hate about hol­i­days?

Noth­ing. Peo­ple should try to en­joy the jour­ney, not just the des­ti­na­tion.

Where next?

I’d love to go to Ja­pan, Aus­tralia, New Zealand and ex­plore Dar­jeel­ing and also the Hi­malayas. I’ve not done the Mid­west or south­ern US, which re­ally fas­ci­nates me.

In­ter­view by Sarah Ewing

A rain­wa­ter tank in Jaipur, Ra­jasthan, above; and Kil­ifi in Kenya, above right

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