Michael Howard is a politician who has served as the leader of the Conservative Party. He lives in Pimlico with his wife, Sandra Howard, the former model and author. He shares his holiday memories and his top travel destinations.
Words: Alice Cairns
What is your earliest travel memory?
I was taken on our first family holiday immediately after the war, when I must have been about five years old, to Llandridod Wells in mid Wales – we lived in South Wales at the time. The experience was slightly disfigured by the number of wasps we encountered, but I think notwithstanding that, we had quite an enjoyable family holiday.
The best holiday you’ve ever been on?
That’s a bit tricky, and the answer isn’t a single holiday but an annual trip. We go almost every year, for a week or 10 days, to a Caribbean island called Grenada. We stay in the same modest hotel, usually in the same room every year! We just love Grenada – it’s an extremely beautiful island with wonderful weather and very friendly people. We enjoy going to the same place every year – it means it’s a sort of home from home for us.
What is your favourite city (other than London)?
I would probably have to say New York, because I lived there for seven months when I was a young man, so I know it better than any other city in the world other than London. It’s a very exciting place to be. But I also love Venice, for its beauty, and sunny Mebourne. They’re all very different, but those would be my top three.
Any holiday disasters?
Apart from the usual lost luggage and travel delays, the worst travel disaster I can remember is when we joined another family and took a cottage in mid-Wales one summer. It rained every single day, so that when we eventually ventured outdoors, it was to spend our time on the beach in our anoraks. That was not an experience to be repeated!
A favourite travel souvenir?
We bring a jar of grapefruit marmalade home with us from Grenada every time we visit. It’s absolutely delicious!
What’s left on your bucket list?
We long to go to Easter Island. I’ve always been intrigued by the story of Easter Island – the monumental statues, and the question of what happened to the civilisation that built them. That’s at top of our bucket list, and although we’re getting on a bit, we still hope to get there.
Which country has the best food?
I would say that I’ve never travelled somewhere where I’ve hated the food. Most cuisines have something to recommend them, or something good and inexpensive. But if I absolutely had to choose, it would of course be France. The food there is absolutely wonderful.
Who is the most interesting person you’ve met on your travels?
I’ve been lucky enough to meet a lot of extraordinarily interesting people, especially when I travelled when I was in government, when I was a minister. I particularly remember meeting Benazier Bhutto, the first female prime minister of Pakistan. That’s something I’ll never forget