• Top six reads to inspire some armchair travel

James Cracknell: Celebrity traveller | Activity Holiday

James Cracknell (Image: Danny Martindale/WireImage)

What is your most memorable holiday? A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to stay in a gorgeous log cabin at the Taboo Muskoka Resort, near Ontario, Canada, with my family.

Every morning we woke up and looked out to Lake Muskoka and the stillness was incredible.

We would fish, swim or kayak on the huge lake, or walk along one of the many nature trails. The kids loved the freedom and the feeling of being out in the wild.

And your worst? A trip to Crete in 2012. The hotel described itself as child-friendly – and it definitely wasn’t!

The children were one, three and eight and there wasn’t even a baby-changing toilet. It was on a cliff side with a funicular lift, but that was broken most of the time, which wasn’t ideal with a baby.

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Best souvenir you’ve bought? I got the kids some souvenir camels after my expedition in the Arabian desert with Ben Fogle, which my wife Bev thought was odd as I hated the camels and Ben was bitten by one!

However, they still take pride of place in the downstairs toilet.

Best book? Sapiens: A Brief History Of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. It’s an amazing book, best summed up by the four lines on the back cover: “Fire gave us power; Agriculture made us hungry for more; Money gave us purpose; Science made us deadly”.

It’s a thrilling account of humankind’s history.

How do you spend your time on holiday? Much to the annoyance of my family, it takes me a couple of days to relax, and when I have got into it, I don’t really enjoy sitting still.

Laying by a pool isn’t for me but give me a lake or the sea and I’m in my element. I’ll happily swim, fish, kayak or hire a boat.

I’m all about rediscovering forgotten outdoor skills and enjoying quality time together without any distractions.

Where would you revisit? I’ve been lucky enough to visit South America a couple of times and it’s a remarkable continent. I’m fascinated by the historic culture and the amazing wildlife.

Definitely on my list to visit is Angel Falls in Venezuela – it’s the world’s highest uninterrupted waterfall. I’d also love to visit the capital Caracas – I can imagine it being so lively.

When I go back, I definitely want to make sure that I have a conversational level of either Spanish or Portuguese so I can converse with the locals.

Where are you off to next? I’d love to take the children on a journey where they get to experience something truly amazing.

It would be incredible to take them to Machu Picchu, the sprawling Inca citadel in the Andes of Peru.

• James Cracknell has teamed up with Vauxhall’s Combo Life to show families how to rediscover the outdoors.

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