‘TO SEE THE WORLD IS A TREAT’
HOW IMPORTANT IS TRAVELLING TO YOU?
I travelled a lot in my twenties and I think that to see the world is one of the greatest treats there is. It gets harder with children, but it’s possible if you choose carefully where to go. When Rose [Fox’s daughter with peace campaigner Jeremy Gilley] was three months old, we booked to go to Barbados. At that age, you don’t have to take toys; she had me, so we didn’t need bags full of food. We stayed in a lovely hotel called Little Good Harbour; the beach was right on our doorstep and there was a delicious restaurant. It was a really, really happy holiday.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST HOLIDAY AS A CHILD?
Kimmeridge in Dorset is the place I really associate with my childhood holidays. My parents [actors Joanna David and Edward Fox] have a house there. We used to go to Tuscany every couple of years with John and Penny Mortimer and their daughters Emily and Rosie. I remember fun nights eating delicious Italian food.
DO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY STILL HOLIDAY TOGETHER?
No, yet I do think family holidays are important. It will be important in Rose’s life because the travelling we’ve done so far has been with her Dad, even though we’re separated. On holiday is when she sees us together and I hope in the future she’ll continue to have that family holiday experience.
WHAT’S BEEN YOUR MOST MEMORABLE TRIP?
Africa on my honeymoon [Fox’s first marriage was to Jared Harris]. We went on safari, stayed in lodges, camped in Botswana and Tanzania, and then went to Zanzibar to this amazing island called Mnemba. When Rose is old enough, I’d love to take her on a safari. It’s magical.
AND YOUR WORST?
One Christmas in the Bahamas – when we arrived in Nassau, there were no bags. I didn’t care about my stuff, but all the gifts had disappeared. Then I burst into tears and the man got so frustrated with me he ripped up my baggage ticket and I thought – that’s it, I’m never going to see them again. Jared, to whom I was married to at the time, spent 24 hours on the phone and they were finally found. My return journey was also hilariously disastrous – we got to Miami, missed our flight…
DO YOU KNOW ANY CHILD-FRIENDLY CULTURAL HOTSPOTS?
Rome – I’ve done two films there and I love it. And New York – there’s so much to do in the city; you can visit with children and have a cultural feast. The Surrey is a lovely, family-friendly hotel, very near to Central Park, and it’s close to museums and restaurants. To stay in a hotel where you don’t feel bad about having children with you is very important.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE HOTEL?
The Hotel Locarno in Rome. I love hotels with character and the Locarno is like walking into the most beautiful Roman apartment. It’s a step back in time. My happiest memories of being in Rome are at the Locarno, sitting amongst the orange trees having breakfast and then cocktails at night.
WHAT’S YOUR TIP FOR A FAMILY HOLIDAY?
For the flight, wrap up little presents – a sticker book, farm animals, drawing pad with crayons – and treat it like a lucky dip that you spread across the travelling time. Don’t use sweets as bribery, you’ll pay for that later. Also, phone ahead and make sure you will have everything you need… the kettle, the travel cot and the stairgate.
Emilia Fox is the ambassador for The Surrey, 20 East 76th Street, New York NY 10021 (+1 212 288 3700;thesurreyhotel.com).