Twiggy, the English model and actress best known for such films as The Boy Friend, There Goes The Bride and The Blues Brothers, recently sat down with Richard Webber to chat about her childhood holidays in Bognor Regis, Paris in the Sixties and a frightening parasailing trip in Mauritius.
Now a popular fashion designer, Twiggy shares her favourite parts about travelling, some inside tips and some of her preferred places to stay and see around the world.
How often do you travel?
My husband Leigh [the British actor/director Allan Leigh Lawson] and I like getting away at least twice a year but it can be as much as seven times. Often it’s for work but we always tag on a few days so we can explore, shop or relax.
We haven’t travelled as much this year because of work commitments, but we went to St Petersburg in Florida last month. It’s a gorgeous region.
What do you need for a perfect holiday?
Sunshine and the chance to relax. Leigh and I like to rent a villa somewhere in the Mediterranean, which gives us the space for our extended family to visit.
On holiday, our family tend to do separate things during the day but enjoy having dinner together at night. There are some great cooks in my family, including my daughter Carly, and my son-in-law. I’m not bad, either.
How do you most like to spend your time away?
Relaxing, catching up on reading and doing jigsaw puzzles. I enjoy simple things, like wandering down to the local market and swimming in a pool. I’m very nervous about going in the sea and will only go in if I can touch the bottom and it’s sandy and calm.
Where did you go on holiday as a child?
We’d always spend a week in the summer at a holiday camp on the coast, places like Hayling Island or Bognor Regis. We usually did a Pontins break because my dad regarded Butlins as expensive. Or sometimes my parents would rent a caravan in a park. I loved it because there would be lots of kids to play with and sleeping in a caravan seemed glamorous.
Your earliest memory of travelling abroad?
When my modelling career kicked off in the Sixties, I was taken to Paris to do a photo shoot for Elle magazine. I was only 16 and it felt incredibly glamorous and exciting.
As a traveller, are you adventurous?
No. I’d never go on hiking holidays or sleep in a tent; in fact, I’ve only slept in a tent once in my life and that was in my back garden.
Most adventurous travel experience?
Our holiday in Mauritius in 1993. Leigh took Carly parasailing to celebrate her birthday. I was too frightened but she persuaded me to give it a try. Despite screaming all the way up and down, it was really exciting. Mauritius has all the ingredients for a memorable holiday, with its beautiful scenery of lush landscapes full of tropical plants. And the people are so friendly and genuine.
Most surprising destination?
The Great Wall of China. I visited in 2005 and it surpassed even my highest expectations. We got there early, before most of the other tourists, and walking along the wall was extraordinary. Reaching the top of a tower, I couldn’t believe how the wall went on and on into the far distance.
Favourite holiday destination?
Ibiza, a place our family visit regularly. We tend to stay in small villages, such as San Carlos, near Santa Eulalia. The great thing about Ibiza is that it’s not too big, so you can explore the whole island easily. We normally head to the beach in the morning before it’s too hot and then have lunch at a beachside restaurant before heading back to our villa for a siesta. To be honest, I’ve pretty much given up on long-haul flights for holidays, so being able to jump on a plane and be in Ibiza in just a few hours is fantastic.
Best holiday ever?
I became godmother to the cruise ship Seabourn Sojourn a few years ago. After christening it, Leigh and I enjoyed a two-week cruise, which was amazing. Leaving from Venice, we explored the Adriatic coast before visiting the Greek Islands and Turkey.
Have you ever been on safari?
No, but while visiting South Africa in 1993, I drifted over a safari park during a hot-air balloon ride. I saw lots of animals, including giraffes and elephants.
Most remote place you’ve visited?
I was a judge on the US television series America’s Next Top Model for a few years. Most of the show was filmed in Los Angeles but one shoot took us to the middle of nowhere outside Bangkok. We travelled to a remote, large expanse of grassland and I stayed close to my caravan.
Le Touessrok in Mauritius. It has several restaurants with wonderful food served by friendly and helpful staff. It’s set on a promontory with white sandy beaches. I stayed in the Royal Suite, which was enormous.
Apart from London, New York. It’s like my second home. Leigh and I try to visit at least once a year. We’ve explored all the main attractions, so now we go to watch shows, shop and just enjoy the buzz.
Your worst travel experience?
I’ve been lucky and not experienced anything bad on holiday so far.
What do you hate about holidays?
The fuss at airports with all the queuing and getting through security.
Best travel advice?
Always pack less than what you think you’ll need. I still end up wearing only a third of what I take.
In September, Leigh and I are off to New York for work and to see friends. We will also be in Florida for a clothing range I do for a television channel in the US.
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This article was written by Richard Webber from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.