What was your first memorable holiday as a child?
It was in the Scottish mountains in Aviemore. I was about four years old and my mum was into skiing – it was like a winter wonderland. It must have been around Christmas time because I remember there was a Santa, and it was intensely cold, but so much fun. If you can ski in Scotland, you can ski anywhere.
Where do you travel with your kids?
We’ve just got back from Paris and before that, we were in France again in a place called Sommières. It was easy as we went by train from Kings Cross in London to Avignon, then drove a hire car to the gîte, which was great as there was a kids’ playground and lots to do nearby, such as a waterpark. Driving through fields of sunflowers is a residing memory from the trip, which I booked through totstotravel.co.uk – it’s great for finding a break to suit your family and also providing information about things to do in the area.
What items do you never travel without on a family holiday?
The kids… Joking aside, sunblock, snacks, iPad, magnetic snakes and ladders, Top Trumps and magazines. Spike’s only two but I recently bought him a CBeebies magazine for our journey to France and it kept him occupied for about two hours.
What’s the most unusual souvenir you have from a trip?
We love tourist tat in our family. I used to collect traditional dolls when I was young, from places such as Portugal, Spain and Holland, but unfortunately we had a fire in our house when I was nine and they were wiped out (or so my mum said). Tom buys stuff when he’s on tour, quirky things from Japan or a wooden frog that can be used as an instrument from Mexico – the house is full of it.
Do you have a favourite family destination?
California. We had a great family holiday to Mammoth and took our parents, too. We did a road trip with Rudy when he was younger, which started in LA and took in Yosemite National Park. Along the way, we found the amazing Carmel Valley Ranch in the wine country, which is one of those special places that’s kid-friendly but still sophisticated for adults. We saw the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Big Sur, Malibu – California has so much to offer, we only got a snapshot. I’d love to go for longer.
Any tips for family holiday success?
People complain about travelling with kids, but preparation is half the battle, as well as acceptance that you’re not going to get to read that book you’ve been wanting to read. I’d also say have some fun, allow yourself to be a kid for a bit and have that pillow fight in the hotel room.
If you could be anywhere in the world now, where would it be?
My husband’s touring in Luxembourg right now, so I’ll say there. When we’ve taken the boys on the tour bus with us, there is a difference in time schedule between four band members sleeping in the day and kids waking early – so it’s good to get the children out exploring new cities, such as Berlin.
Can you tell us your best place to stay that won’t break the bank?
Portugal – my mum and dad have a timeshare in the Algarve near Vilamoura and we try to get out once a year for a week. There are touristy parts, but you can still get off the beaten travel and find some unspoilt beaches, and it’s ideal for kids as the temperature isn’t too hot.
What’s your favourite UK place to stay?
Soho Farmhouse, Oxfordshire. We went recently with friends who also have two kids and it was brilliant. You get bikes when you arrive and the grounds are huge but safe, so it’s total freedom for children. There’s also a crèche, play area, zip slide, boating lake, cinema and ice rink.
Where are you off to next?
We were considering Istanbul, but it’s been turbulent out there so we’re keeping an eye on the situation. We also want to take the kids to New York at some point.
Looking for holiday inspiration? Our 2016 holiday bucket is one to read!