Award-winning novelist Louis de Bernieres recalls his best and worst travel adventures 

‘There was a plague of horseflies and the discos were blaring all night’: Award-winning novelist Louis de Bernieres recalls his best and worst travel adventures

Award-winning novelist Louis de Bernieres

So which destination is the author’s most memorable?

Here he talks about a hellish holiday in Corfu, why the Isle of Wight is the best place to take children – and more…

First Holiday?

Cornwall, when I was six. We stayed with a Mrs White in her farmhouse. My mother had knitted me woollen bathing trunks and as soon as I stood up in the water they fell around my ankles. There were snails in the farmhouse garden and Mrs White paid me a penny a snail to catch them. I collected hundreds in a bucket and bought a beach cricket set with the cash.

Best travel companion?

The best people to travel with are strangers you meet when you get there.

Worst Holiday?

Corfu in the early Eighties. The beach was huge pebbles covered in beer cans and cigarette ends. There was a plague of horseflies and the discos were blaring all night. There was no way to cool down our little apartment — and halfway through the holiday my girlfriend dumped me.

Favourite holiday?

'The place I’ve loved most was a bit of woodland in Normandy with a freshwater spring,' said Louis

‘The place I’ve loved most was a bit of woodland in Normandy with a freshwater spring,’ said Louis

The place I’ve loved most was a bit of woodland in Normandy with a freshwater spring so pure there were shrimps in the water. I found it by chance up a dirt track when I was looking for a place to camp.

Best place to take children?

The Isle of Wight. I go there every year with my son Robin, 13, and daughter Sophie, ten. The whole island is geared up for children.

Where to avoid?

I avoid the most popular places in summer but I’ll go there in spring or autumn.

  • Louis’s latest collection of short stories, Labels (Penguin Books), is out now.


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