Japan? It gets my Blue Peter badge… former TV presenter Janet Ellis recalls her holidays of a lifetime
- Former Blue Peter presenter Janet Ellis shares her travel adventures
- One of her favourite holidays was a five-day walk in Japan’s Kiso Valley
- She recalls a trip to Bali with her daughter, now pop star Sophie Ellis-Bextor
Continuing our series featuring the holiday adventures of famous people, this week former Blue Peter presenter Janet Ellis, 63, recalls her lifetime of adventures…
First holiday I remember
I visited the New Forest with my cousins when I was six. We stayed in a hotel with a riding school attached so we all got on horses and walked in a circle for the afternoon. It wasn’t particularly adventurous but it was really good fun.
Mother’s pride: Janet (far left) in the 1990s with children Jack, Martha and Sophie (far right) – now pop star Sophie Ellis-Bextor
My first trip abroad
We moved to Germany when I was four because my father was in the Army. From there our first holiday was to Copenhagen and I vaguely remember seeing the statue of The Little Mermaid.
First school trip
To Stratford-upon-Avon to see Judi Dench play Viola in Twelfth Night when I was 12. It was unbelievable.
I’d already decided I was going to be an actress at that point, but seeing Judi being funny in Shakespeare was a total revelation. Shakespeare tends to be handed to you as precious and that you mustn’t mess around with it. But Judi was just hysterically funny playing this girl dressed as a boy.
My first [with TV and film producer Robin Bextor] was to the Norfolk Broads and the second [with John Leach] was to Bali.
My daughter Sophie came with us because she was only eight and we felt it wouldn’t have been the same without her. But we did leave our son Jack, who was then just a baby, with my mother-in-law. I hadn’t been there before and haven’t been back, but it was a proper slice of the exotic.
My best holiday
Japan is a country that John and I love. We’ve had four holidays there now. Last year we enjoyed a five-day walk in the Kiso valley, which lies between Kyoto and Tokyo. It was self-guided so it was just the two of us walking during the day following a little guidebook, then sleeping in minshuku and ryokan inns at night. We’ve also spent lots of time in Italy – we adore Sicily.
Cream of the crop: Japan’s Kiso Valley (above) lies between Kyoto and Tokyo
My worst break
We haven’t had holidays that have been totally ruined. We’ve taken risks because we used to go to Cornwall a lot when the kids were small, and I’ve sat on beaches in light drizzle insisting that it’s going to brighten up in a minute…
Essential holiday item
Books – I pack masses. For a week away I’d take six, because nothing gets in the way of reading. Some of the books I’ve read on holidays have made the biggest impression on me.
I’ve had a couple of wonderful holidays in California so I’d love to go back. But just knowing a holiday is coming up is good enough for me. That feeling of knowing at some point in the next couple of weeks I’m going to be doing something different away from home is such a treat.
I get really excited on the journey – I love the travelling and I even like plane food. So my dream destination is always the next one.