Where the experts holiday: Hilary Bradt MBE, tour leader, founder of Bradt travel guides and patron of the British charity, Money for Madagascar

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

The Bradt Travel Guides founder talks travel


What do you like to do on holiday?
If it’s a true holiday, not a writing assignment, then something active. Walk, ride (horse), swim or observe wildlife. Or, on a wet day, visit an art gallery or museum.

Where did you last go?
Western Ireland.

Do you know where you’re going this year?
Yes – the Greek island of Andros.

Of all the places you’ve been to, which was your favourite and why?
If we’re talking about holidays, rather than tour leading or a writing commission, then probably Borneo because the wildlife is superb.

Which destination do you wish to travel to, but haven’t yet been?
When I was on Radio 4’s Today programme recently, Michael Palin asked the same question – and I couldn’t remember the name of the island! It’s Socotra, administratively part of Yemen, but hundreds of miles away in the Indian Ocean. It sounds very much like my favourite, Madagascar (about which I’m talking at the ATS), in that much of the vegetation is unique to the island, having evolved in isolation.

In your own country, what would you recommend tourists see that isn’t in the travel guides?
slow travel

Anything that’s in my latest book, Slow Travel in South Devon and Dartmoor! Much of the information here cannot be found in conventional guidebooks and I’m proud of that and want to share it. But if I’m to choose one thing, then it would be the number 113 bus (although you experience it rather than see it). This is run by the Tavistock Country Bus company which is operated by volunteers. It runs only on the fifth Saturday of the month, summer only. Which means that in 2013 it ran three times. The journey is a joy, taking you from Tavistock, through the prettiest lanes and villages of Dartmoor, to the seaside town of Dawlish. And back. And, yes, your bus pass is valid.

How do you plan your trips?
I don’t really plan a holiday, since travel is part of my job. But often a recent Bradt Guide sparks my interest, or a friend might suggest that I go on a ‘proper’ holiday.


How often do you go away?
It depends on writing commissions and tour leading. True holidays don’t happen that often – no more than once a year.

Who do you travel with?
I either travel with friends or go solo.

Where do you see tourism in your country, in 10 years?
Probably much the same as it is now. I expect people to become increasingly interested in active holidays, and at Bradt we have noticed a great interest in wildlife holidays. Walking holidays will continue to attract more and more people as the media emphasis on fitness continues, and I predict that foodie holidays will be in increasing demand as British cuisine gains confidence.


Hilary will be speaking at The Adventure Travel Show which is taking place at London’s Olympia this weekend

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