We think of them as tourist destinations but for a number of famous figures they are their places of birth. Some retreat to their hometowns to catch up with family and escape the spotlight while others left and never returned. Here’s a list of politicians and royals, celebrities and sports stars,and the holiday playgrounds from which they hail. British actor John Cleese sought inspiration from his place of birth, Weston-Super-Mare , in Somerset, for Fawlty Towers , a television comedy about a dysfunctional hotel owner. The 1970s sitcom was set in the English seaside town of Torquay – coincidentally, the birthplace of the world’s bestselling novelist, Agatha Christie. In 2011, Cleese described Weston as “a tedious little place” adding that he was mystified the Germans bothered to bomb it in 1940. The local tourist office is more upbeat, describing the resort as “steeped with Victorian history” and “dominated by a long stretch of glorious, sandy beach”. Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal is a lot more complimentary about his place of birth. Currently ranked No 2 in the world, Nadal was born on the holiday isle of Mallorca and says he couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. When he was a youngster, the Royal Spanish Tennis Federation urged Nadal to relocate to Barcelona to continue his training but his family rejected the idea and he stayed in Mallorca. In 2016, he opened a tennis academy in Manacor, Mallorca’s second city, saying he wanted to leave a legacy in his hometown. The Balearic island sells itself successfully as a year-round destination and welcomed more than 10 million tourists in 2019. The bucket-and-spade brigade fill hotels in the high season while cyclists, hikers, golfers and culture vultures arrive at other times, drawn by more than 300 days of sunshine annually. The conservative, predominantly Muslim island of Zanzibar might seem an inappropriate birthplace for one of the most flamboyant showmen in rock history but, in 1946, Farrokh Bulsara was born in the capital, Stone Town. After dividing their time between the Tanzanian island, where his father worked for the British government, and India, the family moved permanently to Britain in 1964. A few years later, when the band Queen were forming, Bulsara changed his name to Freddie Mercury. Today, tourists relax on some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, amble along the winding streets of the historic East African trading centre and join tours of the legendary frontman’s childhood home and the High Court where his father was employed. Another popular stop is Mercury’s Restaurant, on the waterfront in Stone Town. An unassuming plaque is about the only clue that Prince Philip, the 99-year-old husband of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, was born on the Greek island of Corfu . Now an archaeological museum, the weather-beaten villa, named Mon Repos, was a summer retreat of the Greek royal family when Corfu was the playground of European nobility. Times change and these days the Ionian island attracts a less blue-blooded clientele , drawn by its golden beaches, pine-forested hills and Old Town, a Unesco World Heritage Site. The Duke of Edinburgh has little affinity for his birthplace and has never returned, but for the rest of us, now might be a good time to visit, as Corfu has seen only a handful of Covid-19 cases. Australia’s best-known film star, Nicole Kidman, was born in Honolulu, Hawaii , in the United States, as her father was working there at the time. The Oscar-winning actress is not the most famous person to hail from the Aloha State, however. Former US president Barack Obama was also born in Honolulu – a fact disputed by his successor, Donald Trump, until Obama released his birth certificate. (The 44th US president is an accomplished surfer, which should have been a clue to his origins.) Honolulu ranks among the most traffic-congested cities in the US, so be sure to see more of Oahu than just the capital. Better still, hop on a flight to one of the other islands that make up the isolated archipelago. Born in George Town , Penang, a young Jimmy Choo worked in the family shoemaking business, fashioning his first pair at the age of 11. In 1980, he left Malaysia for London, Britain, where he continued to learn his craft. Choo opened a shop there in 1986 and business boomed when his elegant creations appeared in the pages of Vogue . His clients have included Princess Diana, Madonna and Julia Roberts. The capital of Penang is a multicultural melting pot; Chinese shophouses stand in the shadows of skyscrapers and mosques rub shoulders with Taoist temples. One of the more enjoyable ways to appreciate George Town’s collision of cultures is by tucking into the diverse and delicious array of street food the city is famous for. Italy’s most celebrated and influential filmmaker was born in the Adriatic beach resort of Rimini . Federico Fellini found success with I Vitelloni (1953), a semi-autobiographical film set in his birthplace that highlighted the lack of excitement and opportunity in provincial Italian seaside towns. Besides Rimini’s beaches and Roman heritage, fans armed with a free tourist office brochure can track down locations that appear in Fellini’s films, stroll along Via La Dolce Vita (a street named after the director’s best-known film) and visit Park Federico Fellini, before flying home from Federico Fellini International Airport. The French Mediterranean island of Corsica is blessed with gorgeous sandy beaches and spectacular mountain scenery, and is the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte. The town house in Ajaccio where the military leader was born and spent his first nine years is now a museum. The landmark is easy to find – it’s across the road from Napoleon docks, beside La Grotte Napoleon, a pile of rocks where he played as a boy. Five minutes along Cours Napoleon is the Hotel Napoleon and after inspecting statues and monuments of the man who crowned himself the first emperor of France, fly home from Ajaccio Napoleon Bonaparte Airport. As a result of the decision to cancel Wimbledon in 2020, records will show that Simona Halep was defending champion for two years. Like Nadal, the Romanian is currently second in the world rankings and also like the Spaniard, she hails from a place more associated with tourists than tennis. Halep’s hometown is the Black Sea resort of Constanta , which boasts a long expanse of golden sand and an even longer history of invasion and occupation by everyone from the Greeks to the Romans, Slavs and Soviets. Halep oversees her own charitable sports and health foundation, and has donated medical equipment to hospitals in Constanta and Bucharest to help in the fight against coronavirus. It’s about time someone named an airport after her.