Extraordinary Escapes with Sandi Toksvig — Everything we know about the C4 travel series

Extraordinary Escapes with Sandi Toksvig.
Sandi Toksvig takes in the beauty of Britain's most spectacular hideaways in her new series. (Image credit: C4)

Extraordinary Escapes with Sandi Toksvig will offer viewers a small slice of tranquility after a winter stuck at home and we can't wait to unwind with the QI host. 

In the four-part series the broadcaster and former Great British Bake Off presenter will explore the delights of the UK’s wildest, most remote and beautifully designed holiday digs accompanied by some of the nation’s most fascinating and funny women. 

In each episode Sandi and a different companion will explore a different region of Britain, staying at three beautiful boltholes along the way, while using all that quite time to get to know her friends a little better. 

Extraordinary Escapes with Sandi Toksvig release date on Channel 4.

The first episode will air on C4 at 9pm on Wednesday 10 February and the whole series will be available on All 4 that evening. The series will also continue on Wednesdays on C4. 



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Where will Sandi be going in the first episode? 

In the first episode, Sandi will be heading off to the wilds of Suffolk with Alison Steadman. 

Starting on the Heritage Coast, they discover an imposing 19th Century Martello Tower. Once a wreck, this unique building has been lovingly transformed into an architecturally stunning home for guests that makes the most of the panoramic views and remote beach on its doorstep. 

It’s the perfect escape for Alison to indulge in her passion for cloud watching and for Sandi to reveal some fascinating facts about Napoleon’s penis.

In the midst of a 5000-acre estate devoted to wildlife conservation, Sandi and Alison re-connect with nature during a stay at a re-built 17th century thatch cottage with a difference — it has its very own moat.  Here, Alison reveals her penchant for fungi spotting.

And deep in the country, they discover the gatehouse of an 11th Century Priory has been offering hospitality to visitors for hundreds of years and still offers a sense of sanctuary to guests today.  

Extraordinary Escapes with Sandi Toksvig.

Sandi and Alison discover a thatched cottage with its own moat in the first episode.  (Image credit: C4)

Sandi was delighted to spend some quality time with Alison, whose TV hits include Gavin & Stacey, who she has known for many years. 

"I met Alison at a literary festival," says Sandi. "I had a very long evening sitting between Ken Dodd and Julian Fellowes. Alison was sitting across from me and she kept laughing because I couldn’t get a word in!" 

"She's great fun to be around and it was lovely to spend so much time together. We were working out which bedroom we were going to sleep in and what light to leave on in the evening! She loves watching the clouds so we sat on the beach watching the sky for hours." 

Yet Sandi couldn't resist getting in the water when they stayed at a thatched cottage with a moat!

"When I saw that, I couldn’t wait to go rowing," she explains. "I have Danish roots so maybe it’s the Viking in me!"

Extraordinary Escapes with Sandi Toksvig.

Sandi gets in touch with her Viking roots. (Image credit: C4)

Who will be joining Sandi in the second episode? 

In the second episode BAFTA-winning actress Jessica Hynes joins Sandi for a tour of Jessica’s home county of Kent.

First stop, the rolling hills outside the village of Benenden, where a passionate local has lovingly restored an early 1900’s windmill by hand, transforming it into a luxurious and unusual hideaway for two. 

On the Isle of Sheppey, they explore Elmley National Nature Reserve, the only nature reserve in England where you can stay overnight and in glorious comfort. With views as far as the eye can see, the pair try their hand at bird watching.

Their final stop is Camber Sands, where they are blown away by a stunning, glass-fronted home created to make the most of the two-mile beach.

Extraordinary Escapes with Sandi Toksvig and Jessica Hynes.

Jessica Hynes and Sandi visit a restored 19th century windmill in Kent (Image credit: C4)

Sandi has known Jessica since they appeared in Suffragette period drama, Up The Women, back in 2013. 

"Jessica and I did laugh a great deal, we really did," says Sandi. "People who make their living through comedy usually have a reflective side to them and she’s one of the most thoughtful people I’ve ever met. One moment you’re crying with laughter and the next you’re pondering something you’ve never considered before, which I love. 

"She really enjoyed the birds at the Elmley Nature Reserve, even though I was doing duck calls," laughs Sandi. "I was very pleased with my duck call actually, but I was the only one who was."

Where will Sandi be going in the third episode? 

Sandi Toksvig takes comedian, broadcaster and friend, Sindhu Vee, on some extraordinary Scottish escapes and a private island off the coast of Skye is their first stop. Here a lighthouse keeper’s cottage offers guests the ultimate escape.

They swap their cosy cottage for courageous and bold design when they set upon an architecturally spectacular, luxury shooting lodge, which is nestled deep in a 57,000-acre Highland estate, with the tranquil views across mountain, glen and loch side. 

Their last stop is a truly unique, handmade bolthole for two — an elliptical shaped home built to celebrate the island views of the Inner Hebrides and the Sound of Mull.

Extraordinary Escapes with Sandi Toksvig and Sindhu Vee.

Sandi and Sindhu Vee explore the Highlands and Islands of Scotland in the third episode. (Image credit: C4)

"Sindhu met when I recommended her for QI," says Sandi. "I saw her performing stand-up online and thought she would be great and she did an amazing debut. It turns out she’s married to a Dane and she speaks Danish! Now her husband Jakob and my wife Debbie, we all became good friends!"

Yet while Sindhu has been to the Edinburgh Festival a few times, she's never ventured into the wilds of Scotland and was a bit apprehensive about staying on a private island off the coast of Skye. 

"It was just us and some sheep after the camera crew left," says Sandi. "Sindhu wasn’t too happy about staying somewhere that didn’t have Deliveroo, but I cooked some fresh shellfish for her so it was fine."

Extraordinary Escapes with Sandi Toksvig and Sindhu in the Highlands.

Sandi and Sindhu travelled through the Highlands in style.  (Image credit: C4)

Who will Sandi be sharing her final trip with? 

In the fourth and final episode of the series, Sandi Toksvig is joined by close friend, foodie and Bake Off judge Prue Leith. The Wye Valley is their first stop where they reconnect with nature during some foraging and explore a luxury treehouse designed to make you feel like you are living in the canopy.

They venture deep into the Cotswold countryside to discover their next escape — a minimalist and striking home of glass and Cotswold stone built to make the most of the glorious views and to contrast with the 17th century cottage at its heart. 

For their final hurrah, the pair stay at a colourful and chic home designed by Kate Moss where their own private mixologist adds a splash of glamour to the occasion!

Extraordinary Escapes with Sandi Toksvig and Prue Leith.

Sandi and Prue Leith enjoy a few cocktails in the Cotswolds (Image credit: C4)

"Prue is probably the person I know best out of the four, she’s like family to me, so I think she would have been furious if I hadn’t invited her!" says Sandi, who met her best pal while working on The Great British Bake Off. "I really miss seeing her so it was nice to get the time to hang out with her again."

Sandi and Prue enjoyed the high-life at the house Kate Moss had designed, but she admitted the supermodel's decor wasn't quite to her taste. 

"I like things quite Scandi and minimalistic, so it wasn't exactly my taste. There was a fluffy portrait of Marilyn Monroe on the wall," she explains. "The mixologist was great — although I admit I didn't know what one of those was beforehand! I had a few cocktails, although I can only remember the first one!"

"We had a fun evening because Prue talked about her early career at some of the top restaurants and I’m not sure people realise how amazing she really is. Listening to her talk about her kitchen disasters was also hilarious!" 

Is there a trailer for the series available? 

Not yet, but we'll be sure to post it here when it's available. 

Sean Marland

Sean is a Senior Feature writer for TV Times, What's On TV and TV & Satellite Week, who also writes for whattowatch.com. He's been covering the world of TV for over 15 years and in that time he's been lucky enough to interview stars like Ian McKellen, Tom Hardy and Kate Winslet. His favourite shows are I'm Alan Partridge, The Wire, People Just Do Nothing and Succession and in his spare time he enjoys drinking tea, doing crosswords and watching football.