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How Gordon Ramsey’s maintained his love of travel

Chef and globe-hopper Gordon Ramsay reveals how he maintains his love for travel.

I’m constantly on the go for work

I recently found out I’ve got over 4.5 million air miles banked. I love travelling. The minute I land, I want to go to the latest hotspot, whether it’s a beautiful cocktail bar, the most amazing tapas bar in the back end of Barcelona or an authentic Vietnamese restaurant.

A relaxing holiday for me is something that’s off the beaten track

Something that isn’t busy or frequented by millions of people on a yearly basis. Off-piste, off-season, and preferably somewhere that has great diving.

Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands is one of my favourite diving spots

There’s great visibility, no-one bothers me, and I get in at least three dives a day. It’s so peaceful. Nearby Peter Island and Salt Island have great diving, too.

Chefs don’t suffer from jet lag because they’re used to working 16-hour days

I don’t need melatonin to help me. I’ve got a very special way of working on time differences. I get in my arrival time zone before I travel there. Every time I fly, I wake up four hours early, so I sleep when I arrive.

One of my earliest travel memories was camping on Loch Lomond and Loch Eck, in Scotland

Mum and Dad never had much money to go abroad. The highlight of my summer holiday would be watching [British submarine base] Faslane do their torpedo testing, literally 50 metres away from the beach.

Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland

My most adventurous trip was two years ago, when I was in the extreme northern tip of Norway, in Kirkenes, just a few kilometres from the Russian border

I was there filming season two of my show, Uncharted, for National Geographic. Some of the highlights were creating an ice kitchen and doing an ice dive. I had the freshest scallops I’ve ever tasted. Norway’s cuisine is among the finest in Europe and it was a great learning experience for me. I even saw polar bears in the distance. It’s so remote, the Northern Lights are spectacular and part of the beauty is the silence – the snow absorbs sound and there’s just an incredible connection to nature. 

For a Scot, I can handle the heat

I just wear factor 50 sunscreen, which is a pain in the arse, because it’s a gloopy mask which makes me look like a ghost.

Chicago is one of my favourite cities

It’s got an incredible foodie culture; it’s got blue-collar grit. And San Francisco is a close second – it’s a wonderful melting pot with some great chefs. I try to stay away from the flashiness of Los Angeles and New York City.

Alaska is a stunning, hard-working environment that absolutely defies you

I was there in 2020 filming Uncharted. There are more bears there than there are people. The people there are so connected with the land and respectful of it. It’s so unspoilt.

The Clumsies is my favourite drinking hole in the world

It’s in Athens, right across from the Acropolis, and it serves amazing molecular cocktails. You can always find good Scottish whisky. I also think the food in Greece is better than it is in Italy now.

Peru is one of the most underrated places I’ve visited

I was there three years ago. The purist approach to food is beautiful. Guinea pig is a local staple there, bred for their meat, which I tried. It’s a bit like stringy chicken. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take the family with me on that one, as I was travelling light – only there for four days’ filming, and four days’ downtime.

Camping in Guyana was one of my toughest experiences

We were in the jungle, and we were surrounded by venomous snakes and hundreds of screaming, howling monkeys in the trees at night. It was insane, being surrounded by so many eyes. We had to have someone on watch when we went into the river for a swim, in case there were any alligators emerging.

The Pays Basque in France is one of my favourite culinary areas

It has unpretentious rustic charm, but they’ve got some of the best ingredients in the world. I had the most amazing time in San Sebastián. I lived in France for three years – two years in Paris and then in a little town outside Cannes, before heading to the Alps ski resort Hotel Diva.

I’ve never been to Antarctica or Patagonia, but I’d love to

Galapagos is another on my bucket list. I promised Tilly for her 21st birthday we’d go diving there. All my older kids learnt to dive from an early age.