Sam Claflin on his favourite places in the world
Where was the last place you visited?
‘I came back from Los Angeles just as lockdown was happening. I had landed a job on Daisy Jones & The Six, which was shooting out there, and was in the process of moving. I’d carted all my belongings over, but filming was then shifted to next January. The good thing is that I have to learn to play guitar for the role and I’ve never picked up an instrument in my life, so rather than having a month or two to prepare, I’ve got almost a year. And I was coming straight off working on Every Breath You Take in Canada, so having that extra time at home with the kids and being able to live a little normally has been really nice.’
A destination that most lived up to the hype
‘Rome. Lots of people had told me it was a tourist trap, so that’s what I was expecting. It was very busy, but the architecture and the scale of the ruins were otherworldly and completely magical. I feel that in areas of London and Paris, too, but there’s something about those structures in Rome that make it an out-of-body experience. I was there for six weeks last year for Love Wedding Repeat – a lot of the crew were locals, so they gave us tips – and my friend and I would go off and explore, avoiding all the obvious spots. You can walk anywhere and be wowed.’
And one that least lived up to the hype
‘Beijing let me down – not because of the city, but because of the time I spent there. I was only there for two days, so I didn’t have enough hours to sink my teeth into it. I disappointed myself. I’d love to go back and do it properly.’
Where in the world have you felt happiest?
‘Hawaii. Not many people I know have managed to visit because it’s so far for us English folk, but I was fortunate enough that one of my very first acting jobs, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, was shot there. And I returned for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. It’s the one place in the world where my shoulders drop and I breathe easy. I love Kauai, which they call rainforest island. It absolutely tips it down, and then within five minutes you’re dry again. It’s like nothing I have experienced, so luscious and beautiful – the landscape, the people, the atmosphere.’
First time away without your parents?
‘For my earliest acting job, a TV show that we filmed in Budapest. I remember arriving at the airport with my passport thinking, “I know I’m going to Budapest, but I don’t know who I’m flying with, what time the flight is, what terminal it’s in…” At that point I realised I still needed my mum.’
What would you like to find in your minibar?
‘A gin and tonic and a Mars bar. I don’t like fancy-schmancy chocolate, I’m an old-school Snickers or Twix man. And some Haribo gummy bears. With a G&T chaser.’
Which is your favourite city?
‘London – in the summer, specifically – which I know is a cop-out. I didn’t visit until I was 17. I’d never been there on a school trip or anything, but I was drawn to it from what I’d seen in films and on TV and things I’d read. It’s home for my children and I don’t imagine myself ever wanting to live anywhere else. It ticks all the boxes.’
A memory from a childhood holiday
‘As a family of six, we used to go camping every summer. We didn’t grow up with any money, really, so we’d head to Wells-next-the-Sea in Norfolk, and then walk over to Holkham. It is a stunning coastline – Sheringham, Cromer, and onto Suffolk where you have Southwold – the villages surrounding those beaches are lovely. The one time my family did go abroad, we drove all the way down to the South of France and listened to the same mixtape on repeat. Fleetwood Mac, The Cranberries and REM. Even as an adult, I can hear any of the songs from that tape and know all the lyrics.’
Which is the smartest hotel you’ve ever stayed in?
‘It would be The Peninsula in Beijing, where I was put up as a guest of Burberry. It had a heated seat in the bathroom that squirted all sorts at you; the tub was like a swimming pool – everything was top notch. I don’t usually like people walking me through my hotel room: if I need something I’ll call down. But I had to be talked through everything there – the TV, the blinds… It was all so technically advanced.’
The foreign phrase you use most often
‘I only remember the bad words. When I was in Budapest I was able to order food in Hungarian, but the phrases that have stuck with me are the naughty ones, and that’s a bit of a theme. For any trip, I learn how to say hello, goodbye, thank you and a swear word.’
Sightseeing or sun lounger?
‘It’s changed; I always used to be a sun- lounger kind of guy, but now I’ve got kids there’s no such thing. I don’t even know what one looks like. It also depends on who I’m with – I’m a bit of a sheep, I’ll happily go with the flow.’
Describe your favourite view
‘The ocean. I find it so peaceful and calming, and that’s probably why I love Hawaii so much, because you don’t have to travel very far to see the sea.’
How do you relax?
‘I exercise. I don’t meditate, but I have become more spiritual – though not in a religious way. I like time on my own, so getting in the zone and being disciplined makes me feel good. I went to the Venice Film Festival a few years ago and would run every day, taking a different route each time. It’s the best way to get a snapshot of a new place. I did it in San Francisco, too – I was there for one night and knew I wasn’t going to see anything, so I looked up the Golden Gate Bridge on a map and ran to it.’
Sam stars in ‘Enola Holmes’, out this month on Netflix.
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, CN Traveller reports