Travel is hugely important to me. I love the opportunities travel presents and the sense of excitement and adventure that it brings when you embark on a journey, particularly if it’s to a new destination. I first became hooked on travel following a trip to Canada with my father. The whole experience was fascinating and thrilling, and I am very keen to continue with my own children the tradition of travelling and exploration that my parents and grandparents shared with me.
I spent many of my early years in eastern Canada, and I loved spending time in the outdoors – I was fortunate enough to be able to explore with my late grandfather. He hand-built a timber cottage on the shores of a freshwater lake, and I have many fond memories of my time there. We would travel there each year around September/October time.
We tend to stay in Europe, because my children are three and five, and long-haul can be trickier with little ones. We’re big fans of the Algarve – there are some really nice secluded spots. And France and Spain have some great places to explore as a family. The UK itself is brilliant for summer holidays, so we try to make the most of what’s on our own doorstep.
Europe, to me, is still pretty extraordinary. It is such a diverse continent, rich in different landscapes, history and cultures. There is no end of destinations to explore and I am always excited to return. More recently, I have been able to explore Europe by land and sea when developing my series of shore excursions for Celebrity Cruises.
This is a tricky one. I’ve stayed in so many, but I have to say that I recently went to Spitbank Fort in the Solent, just off Portsmouth, which was an incredible experience. I went to university in Portsmouth and had no idea that it was there. It was one of three forts built to protect the British coastline during the Victorian era. It has truly magnificent 360-degree views and is steeped in history and character and can only be reached by boat – a must-visit if you ever get the chance.
If I’m travelling with work or for filming, I never go anywhere without my iPad so that I can video call my family and read the children their bedtime story from the far ends of the earth (wi-fi access permitting). If on holiday, then aside from the usual, the most important thing to pack is definitely a sense of adventure, to make sure you get the most out of a destination and really get under the skin of the local culture.
The chance to travel to a destination that I have never been to before – that, for me, is the essence of travel and an ideal holiday. Certainly, it is important to relax with loved ones, but I can’t resist taking the road less travelled and the chance to venture to a new region and learn about new cultures. Travel is such an education and I always like to immerse myself in understanding as much as I can about what makes a particular destination tick, from the food, to the music and culture to the natural habitats and scenery. Returning home with an improved sense of understanding and knowledge of another part of the world is the best souvenir.
Ben Fogle has developed a series of exclusive shore excursion programmes for the luxury cruise company Celebrity Cruises, continuing his role as the brand’s Destination Expert. Families can try everything from Norwegian salmon snorkelling to gelato making in Sorrento.
Visit celebritycruises.co.uk/benfogle for more...