My first memory of the sea is Brighton – beautiful, wonderful, pebbly Brighton. We had many joyous family holidays there. My parents had friends with a hotel on the prom so we went a few times a year. I take my children now and am always thinking of moving there!
Devon and Cornwall are, of course, astounding, and parts of Wales and the Scottish coastline take my breath away, but for my favourite stretch of coast I’m going with the Isle of Wight. Compton Bay, Sandown and Alum Bay are beautiful. The whole island is an underrated gem.
I first went to the Isle of Wight on a school trip when I was 10. It’s a great place to visit for children because, although it’s an easy UK holiday, there’s a sea to cross and that adds adventure.
It’s one of the sunniest places in the UK, and Ventnor reminds me of the Caribbean. It feels safe, and its slow pace forces me to relax and enjoy the moment. It has badgers, red squirrels and dinosaur tracks.
A perfect day would involve staying in one of the traditional B&Bs (I stay in one with an ‘honesty bar’ and a donkey to feed), going on a long walk with my children then relaxing on the beach with my IOW friends till sunset while the kids go crabbing. September is a gorgeous time there. I tend to go straight after the Edinburgh Festival in August to wind down with the kids before the school year starts again.
I tour all over the country. It’s always wonderful to tour and spend time by water. I had a wonderful time in Scarborough, and the sea was wild. I stumbled on Fowey and Polruan in Cornwall when I had a show nearby and decided to stay and explore.
I always think that the sea carries you off into the unknown. It can be as dramatic as it is soothing so it’s very inspiring. But my novel – Nina is Not OK – is, sadly, inspired by my own youth.
Nina is Not OK is published by Ebury Press, £12.99.