Me and my travels: Tom Chambers, actor

Tom Chambers, actor

My next holiday is ...

As yet undecided. My wife and I had to cancel our honeymoon because I was taking part in Strictly Come Dancing, but we're hoping to get away somewhere warm when the show has finished. I'd love to go to Thailand. I've never been much further than Spain on holiday, although I have been to the States for work.

During my gap year ...

I tried to be a ski instructor at a tiny village in Austria. I did all the exams but turned up at the resort too late to get an instructor's job and ended up pulling pints instead.

Every year I travel to ...

The north-east of Spain. It's full of little bays and coves, and I enjoy visiting all the beaches - the food is great, too. We have a little boat and we potter around the bays. We would do the same thing in Tenby in Wales but if we wanted to go for a dip we'd have to wear wetsuits!

Driving in France ...

Can be difficult. I think the police there just want to screw you over. They see an English number plate and think, 'I'm going to get him!' I remember driving along a stretch where two lanes became one, and I sped ahead slightly to beat a big lorry and I got pulled over. The policeman said, 'We'll take you to the local bank.' He just wanted money!

I was disappointed with ...

Los Angeles. It's quite a crazy place; people there have no idea what reality is. On the news they say, 'Hey, happy Tuesday!' Everything is all sugar-coated and, while it's a brilliant place for opportunities, somewhere where anything is possible, it doesn't have the character that cities like London have.

My favourite pub is ...

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese in Fleet Street. It's the oldest pub in London - the basement survived the Great Fire of London and Chaucer, Dickens and Oscar Wilde used to drink there. It even has a ghost!

I always pack ...

A snorkel and mask if I'm going to a beach - I'm a bit of a water baby.

I always bring back ...

A seashell, although I don't take many because you've got to leave things where they are so other people can enjoy them. But I'll always pick something up, even if it's just a pebble.

A city break in ...

Florence would be nice. I've never been but I love the idea of visiting - it is such a classic city and has so much history.

I got into trouble ...

In Spain when I nearly sank our speedboat. I put the engines up as we had moored in quite shallow waters, went on shore for a picnic and when we got back to the boat it had nearly sunk. I had to bail the water out of the back!

My favourite city ...

London, I love it. I occasionally go for walks along the river and love going to Richmond, getting a rowing boat and drifting down the river with a picnic. It's brilliant.

My idea of paradise is ...

Being at the top of a mountain skiing, which I love to do. I particularly like the mountains in Austria.

My most memorable meal was ...

The night Clare and I got engaged. We ate in La Poule au Pot, a French restaurant in Belgravia, London and the food was excellent. I remember we had fish because my wife is a pescetarian - a vegetarian who eats fish.

• The final of BBC1's Strictly Come Dancing is on Saturday

Interview by Nick Boulos

The GuardianTramp

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