Tom and Henry Herbert, also known as “The Fabulous Baker Brothers,” have brought bread right back in Vogue with their wonderful television show. Gracing our screens with their charm, skill, and brotherly love, they chat with Kodomo about how to handle much-loved travel with children on board.
Q: What is your first childhood memory of travel?
Tom: Aged three or four, having room service breakfast on the balcony of our hotel room with our other brother, George. Monte Carlo I think. Absolute flipping luxury. Our dad has always worked really hard, so a holiday with him, all of us together as a family, being treated like a grown up with our own meal. Wow.
Henry: Going to the small island of Paxos in Greece with all the family. I was young enough to still be in a pushchair, like a little fat tanned munchkin scoffing black olives like there was no tomorrow. The taste of the tap water being really salty and thick yogurt with honey from a tin. If we ever go to Greece I still expect the water to be salty and honey in a tin brings memories flooding back.
Q: Where have you had your best holiday to date?
Tom: It’s got to be our honeymoon in Mauritius, two weeks in a lush hotel, just married, nothing else comes close. With our four kids it has to be the old town house we rented in Monopoli in Puglia last year. The food was abundant and totally delicious.
Henry: A weekend in Venice for my wife’s 25th staying at a customer’s newly refurbished apartment. It was the most beautiful house in the middle of Venice and everything was spanking. A beautiful kitchen full of kit but none of it used yet; we lived like kings for two days. Nowhere has lived up to that since.
Q: Where was the first place you went with a little one in tow? How did it go?
Tom: We took our eldest to Barcelona when he was 8 weeks. It was fantastic to travel with a small baby, liberating, and a great way to bond as a new family. We did some sightseeing in the city and then travelled north up the coast.
Henry: We took Elmer to Shoreditch House when she was three weeks old to prove to ourselves we could still socialise. It was quite nerve-racking, being sat in a restaurant with a ticking time bomb, but we managed. It gave us the confidence to not just sit at home, but to enjoy her and each other still.
Q: How do you find the experience of travelling with children generally?
Tom: We love travelling together and we regularly take our kids outside their comfort zone, but we always seem to agree afterwards that it was a great experience and really enjoyable. With a bit of practice we become a really tight unit and that’s really rewarding. Having little ones can be a great way of meeting people and getting to know a place. A couple of times in Marrakech one of our fair curly kids would be picked up and cooed over before disappearing into someone’s home. Some mint tea and edible treats later and we’ve had a “money-can’t-buy” kind of experience that can make you really love a place.
Henry: Going away with Elmer has changed everything, mainly the amount of stuff you need to take. Forgetting to pack the wet wipes is always interesting, but it also enriches the experience so much and showing the photos afterwards is so much more special when kids are involved.
Q: Where was your best holiday with your children?
Tom: You can’t beat a good family holiday, one where we regroup and really enjoy each other’s company. We had a really relaxing time in Puglia and self-catered everything. There was a fantastic market there and we just loved cooking up the amazing local Italian produce. This year we went to the Marbella Beach Hotel in Corfu, which was a fantastic place for a family holiday and all our needs were amply met.
Henry: The holiday in Corfu at the Marbella Beach Hotel was amazing. It was the perfect first beach holiday with the little one and we were so well looked after. It has set the benchmark for holidays to come.
Q. And your worst?
Tom: In our experience the first night of any holiday is often the worst. Everyone is tired from travelling and the excitement hasn’t quite kicked in. We normally get lost on our first night looking for a restaurant with 4 fractious children. We wind up bailing and eating somewhere terrible – an expensive tourist trap serving moussaka and needing lots of mosquito spray.
Henry: I don’t do worst. If the chips are down it’s about seeing the best in a situation and making the most if it. I’m pretty good at changing plans and making a regrettable day become a story for when we get home.
Q: What is your must-have travel accessory when away with children?
Tom: A basic, striped Maclaren fold-away buggy, a Trunki suitcase and a pack of cards.
Henry: A wife. The thought of doing it without one makes me want to stay at home and cut the grass.
Q: And top tips for travel with kids?
Tom: Sketch books are an old school way to keep the kids happy. They all get a new one every year and it’s always what we pull out when the wait is getting too long. This year we survived a lot of travelling, including a 13 hour car journey followed by a day on buses and trains with a series of Bear Grylls’ “Man V Wild” downloaded on the iPad with headphone splitters.
Henry: Plenty of distractions to play with and don’t give them too many sugary sweets before a long sit, because you will definitely regret it. Failing that, if you’re with family let them entertain them.