Celebrity concierge • September 2015
The former rugby star secured 85 England caps and was awarded both an MBE and an OBE for his services to rugby union and charity. Founder of the Dallaglio Foundation, which supports disadvantaged young people, he lives in west London with his wife and three children. He’s also an ambassador for England 2015, ahead of this year’s Rugby World Cup
Did you have time to appreciate the places you visited during rugby tours?
We certainly tried to. In every city we found a fantastic restaurant where we could break bread together before battle. I was fond of Cape Town, which is beautiful. We were the first sporting team to tour South Africa after apartheid, so it was a special time to be there. I also have fantastic memories of Melbourne, a great, laidback city.
What do you love most about London?
I particularly love Richmond Park. It’s perfect for family walks and bike rides, with great pubs for lunch by the river.
How do you pass the time on long flights?
I usually go for the tried-and-trusted formula: eat, sleep, repeat. I always try to book First or Club class, especially for longer flights and family holidays. You want to relax, knowing you’ll be looked after. Having a window seat seems to make flights go quicker.
What’s your earliest memory of a childhood holiday?
The ones I particularly remember are car journeys to northern Italy. Getting there was a mission, especially in the back of a Fiat 124. Driving through France and Switzerland, and the Great Saint Bernard tunnel before coming out into Italy was magical.
Most memorable view?
The view from Villa del Balbianello on Lake Como (above). The Italian lakes are phenomenal, and Lake Como is extra special to me as it’s where I got married.
Where do you keep going back to?
The Swiss resort of Verbier. It has challenging skiing and the après-ski is a lot of fun. I co-own a restaurant on the slopes there with James Blunt and Carl Fogarty – La Vache. It has a real alpine feel and Swiss mountain food.
Where next, and what for?
This year is a massive one for rugby in England and Wales. I’m looking forward to exploring the great cities involved, soaking up the buzz. Then in June 2016 I’m leading the charge on the Dallaglio Cycle Slam through the Pyrenees, Barcelona and Mallorca, and finishing up in Ibiza. We’ll be raising funds for the Dallaglio Foundation.
Interview by Tamara Hinson