Jennie Carr interviewed Britain’s best-loved astrologer and discovered Russell’s chilly side!
I do like surprises and Russell Grant certainly provided me with one. Having had him down for exotic islands and luxury lounging on the holiday front, nothing could be further from the truth. This show-biz, bubbly star-gazer has quite an unexpected passion.
Russell only ever takes his holidays in the mountains – he absolutely loves them. In fact, here is a man who enjoys the cold: too hot and he’s not happy. He adores the Tyrol in Austria, can’t get enough of Switzerland and has visited Salzburg at least eight times. Lederhosen and yodelling spring swiftly to mind, as do Maria and Captain von Trapp. For Russell the yearning for mountains started when he watched The Adventures of William Tell on TV in the late 1950s, filmed co-incidentally in Snowdonia, where Russell now lives!
When he was a child, the Grants didn’t take holidays, however as a schoolboy, Russell travelled to Annecy and explored the Haute-Savoie. He was hooked from then on. So hooked indeed that he very nearly moved to Zell am See, bang in the mountains and right by Lake Zell.
Russell delights in the great beauty of the dramatic scenery, the fresh, pure, cool air and the wonderful food; Wiener schnitzel with cranberry sauce being a favourite. He also takes huge pleasure in the efficiency, cleanliness and ordered style of Austrian and Swiss life. His love of history, particularly around World War I, the Hapsburgs and Franz Joseph and wife, Elizabeth, have led Russell to really explore this region. In the cities, he relishes café culture, the theatre and fine dining restaurants. Vienna is a particular favourite and I can certainly see that it ticks all those boxes, with exceptional 19th century interest too.
We also talked river cruising, again this gives Russell the chance to be near stunning scenery, sailing beside high rocky crags or within sight of ancient abbeys and castles. History, mountains and water – his perfect holiday, combined of course, with excellent food and first class service.
I’m always fascinated by destinations people long to go to and this was no real surprise once I understood the mountains and chill theme. No one else has ever said Siberia, very cold for sure and a landscape unlike any other, unquestionably. Russell really wants to see it, along with Alaska, Northern Canada, Lapland and Tromsø in Norway, way up in the Arctic Circle. I’m scurrying for cashmere, thermals and goose down jackets just at the thought. What an interesting character Russell Grant is!
And for holidays wherever you’re going, you might like to try your hand at colouring – Russell has produced The Art of Astrology: Discover your Inner Self Through Colour. It is taking airports, hotel terraces and sun loungers worldwide by storm as an alternative form of relaxation. That was another surprise: I really enjoyed the patterns, colours and gentle activity in this book. Chilled out without being cold!
For lakes and mountains holidays, Silver Travel Advisor recommends Inghams.