- Birthday18th Jul, 50
- Birth PlaceUnited Kingdom
- Marital statusMarried
Sir Richard Branson, the owner of Virgin group, started his life as an entrepreneur at very early age of 16. He made his fortune very quickly and made his first million by the age of 25. But all this didn't came on a silver platter for him, he was born into a typical English middle-class family who had to be cost-conscious.
His father was a struggling barrister and was not quite earning enough to match outgoings, so his mother was always finding things to make or sell to pay for holidays. They would turn off the light bulbs when the children went to bed and even today, ""struggling through dark corridors to find the loo"" is a vivid childhood memory for Richard. He drives a Range Rover, and even that is given to him each year as thanks for some nice things he said about the brand after surviving an accident in one. It's rather a irony that Branson is known for his lifestyle despite his frugal approach.
He attributes it to fact that its because all his expenditures are actually investments and instead of costing him maintenance they rather earns for him. Virtually every property that he owns is available for lease or rent including his beloved Necker Island. Virgin chief is aiming to take his oft-seen face to space. Recently debuted the Virgin SpaceShipTwo, which he believes will revolutionize commercial space travel. After selling a 32% stake in the venture to Abu Dhabi fund Aabar Investments, Sir Branson plans to test prototype flights this year and launch tourists trips as early as 2012. Cost for a ticket would be $200,000.
- Ridiculous yachts and private planes and big limousines won't make people enjoy life more, and it sends out terrible messages to the people who work for them. It would be so much better if that money was spent in Africa - and it's about getting a balance.
- A business has to be involving, it has to be fun, and it has to exercise your creative instincts.
- Business opportunities are like buses, there's always another one coming.
- I never get the accountants in before I start up a business. It's done on gut feeling, especially if I can see that they are taking the mickey out of the consumer.
- I was dyslexic, I had no understanding of schoolwork whatsoever. I certainly would have failed IQ tests. And it was one of the reasons I left school when I was 15 years old. And if I - if I'm not interested in something, I don't grasp it.
- You don't learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.
- "For me business is not about wearing suits,or keeping stockholders pleased.It's about being true to yourself,your ideas and focusing on the essentials".
- "I certainly tip larger if I feel that people have done their work with a smile. But I don't splash out because I think that's embarrassing."
- “With the casino and the beds, our passengers will have at least two ways to get lucky on one of our flights.”
- My mother was determined to make us independent. When I was four years old, she stopped the car a few miles from our house and made me find my own way home across the fields. I got hopelessly lost.
- So I've seen life as one long learning process. And if I see - you know, if I fly on somebody else's airline and find the experience is not a pleasant one, which it wasn't in - 21 years ago, then I'd think, well, you know, maybe I can create the kind of airline that I'd like to fly on.
- “I wanted to be an editor or a journalist, I wasn't really interested in being an entrepreneur, but I soon found I had to become an entrepreneur in order to keep my magazine going.”
- “Right now I'm just delighted to be alive and to have had a nice long bath,”
- “We're introducing separate rooms with double beds in all of our planes so people can actually go with their partner and have a proper night's sleep.”
- "Mandela is one of the most inspiring men I have ever met and had the honour to call my friend."
Did you know?
- In the early days Richard Branson used to take records round Dover docks in a scam designed to avoid sales tax. He was eventually caught by customs, spent the night in prison and paid £53,000 as part of an out-of-court settlement to avoid a criminal record.
- He was Voted as the world's worst-dressed man, he doesn't spend much on clothes, he just puts his hand in the cupboard to "grab whatever he've got."
- Richard Branson still puts a few thousand pounds away every month in a tracker fund investing in the top 800 shares.
- Richard Branson the star of a reality television show on Fox called The Rebel Billionaire: Branson's Quest for the Best (2004), in which sixteen contestants were tested for their entrepreneurship and sense of adventure.
- Richard Branson played a hot-air balloon operator in the Movie, Around the World in 80 Days (2004).
- He appeared as a passenger in Virgin Atlantic airline in the Bond Movie, "Casino Royale".
- He played a cameo performance in Bollywood film, London Dreams.
- Sir Richard Branson has a dubious distinction of being covered in both the "100 Greatest Britons" and "100 Worst Britons" lists by BBC Channel 4.
- Branson's autobiography, titled "Losing My Virginity" is an international bestseller.
- Sir Richard Branson became the first person to cross Atlantic in a hot air balloon, and also to fly in largest Balloon "Virgin Atlantic Challenger II".
- In 1991 Branson broke the record for fastest voyage through pacific on a balloon from Japan to Arctic Canada.
- In 1998, Branson made longest non stop balloon flight from Morocco to Hawaii.
- In March 2004, Branson set a record by travelling from Dover to Calais in a Gibbs Aquada in 1 hour, 40 minutes and 6 seconds, the fastest crossing of the English Channel in an amphibious vehicle.
Family & relationships
Ulusaba safari lodge
Sir Richard Branson owns a Private Game Reserve and lodge in South Africa. The private game reserve offers the travelers more than 13,500 hectares of untouched African bush to roam in search of the 'Big Five'.
Location: Sir Richard Branson's Private Game Reserve in South Africa is located in the Sabi Sand Reserve bordering Kruger National Park. The nearest airport form the national park is the Johannesburg International Airport.
Accommodation: The private Reserve provides you with the utmost luxurious accommodation as they offer choice of two very different Lodges.
- Rock Lodge: The first lodge that the national park offers id the Rock Lodge perched high on the summit of a koppie (rocky hill). One can find panoramic views of the jungle with the wildlife roaming within. This lodge has 21 luxurious suits with world class facilities such as spa treatments, aroma therapy and fully equipped gymnasium.
- Safari Lodge: this is another world class accommodation at the national park that is built along the banks of the dry Mabrak riverbed. 21 rooms in tree house style so that guests can get the complete feel of jungle safari amid nature. The rooms will provide appealing views of the animals as they stroll past on their way to the nearby watering hole.
Games and Activities: Private Game Reserve will offer adventurous games and activities along with the experienced trackers and game rangers who will accompany the guest.
Celebrities holidaying in Africa: Recently, Indian billionaire Anil Ambani and Mukesh Ambani were spotted on a vacation in Kruger National Park along with their respective families.
The private game reserve
Richard Branson’s Kasbah Tamadot is a magical hotel located at the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, which he bought in 1998 during a ballooning expedition. A part of Branson's portfolio of unique retreats “Virgin Limited Edition”, the majestic hotel features a variety of luxurious suites and offers the feeling of staying in a private home with its dedicated staff from the local Berber villages.
Location: The beautiful hotel is located at the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, near Marrakech, Morocco.
Accommodation: Kasbah Tamadot features 27 spectacular bedrooms and suites which include nine luxury Berber Tents, offering a comfy stay. Each bed room has a unique Berber name and is completely adorned with traditional Moroccan furnishings, antiques and marvelous artifacts from around the world. Some suites also feature private plunge pools, for extreme water fun.
The magical hotel also includes the striking “Kanoun Restaurant” which features an intimate fireside bar and serves appetizing local and international flavor cuisines. The glorious hotel also includes an indoor/outdoor infinity pool, a well equipped gym, tennis court, spa and marvelous fragrant gardens.
Indoor infinity pool
The Roof Gardens
A part of Sir Richard Branson's “Virgin Limited Edition”, The Roof Gardens is a unique retreat in central London. Originally built in 1938, Branson’s exclusive retreat includes themed gardens featuring more than 70 full size trees, flamingos, fountains spread across one and a half acres, and a club house.
Location: The Roof Gardens is located in central London, 100 feet above Kensington High Street.
Features: One of the most stylish venues in London, The Roof Gardens comprises three themed gardens and a club house. The grand retreat serves host to a number of spectacular events like weddings, business meetings, dinners and discos.
The first garden is “English woodland” featuring mature trees and a lake inhabited by four resident flamingos - Bill, Ben, Splosh and Pecks, and a number of ducks. The second one is a “Tudor garden” featuring evergreen shrubs encircled by aromatic flowers like lilies and roses, and a fountain. The third one is a “Spanish garden” featuring palm trees offering a distinct Moorish flavor. Collectively, the three gardens can cater for any event for maximum 120 guests.
The private members club features several VIP areas and two bars for ease of service. The club offers a truly relaxing atmosphere with its attractive charisma and highly dedicated hospitality of over 100 talented professionals. The exclusive restaurant “Babylon” provides attention grabbing décor and mouth-watering cuisines to enhance the pleasure experience.
The charismatic club
The Lodge Verbier
Another pricey asset of Sir Richard Branson, “The Lodge Verbier” is a division of his “Virgin Limited Edition”, featuring outstanding design architecture. Equipped with stunning Master suites and a number of recreational amenities, the Lodge offers the best accommodation and pleasure experience.
Location: The Lodge Verbier is located in Verbier, Switzerland
Features and Accommodation: The marvelous lodge offers world class lodging facilities with its two spectacular Master suites and seven brilliantly adorned luxury bedrooms, which provide views of the valley. The luxury suites incorporate egg-shaped baths with chic rubber ducks. The open plan kitchen is the ultimate site for mouth-watering Swiss and international cuisines. The wine cellar incorporates an extensive selection of wines. Sublime levels of relaxation are ensured with the lodge’s indoor and outdoor Jacuzzis, indoor pool and steam room. The Lodge includes a living room, a well equipped gym and a party area featuring a karaoke machine, DVDs, pool tables and the latest games consoles.
The dining space
Situated in Kenya, “Mahali Mzuri” is another addition to Branson’s collection of eclectic and exclusive retreats. The luxury Kenyan Safari camp “Mahali Mzuri” whose name means “beautiful place” is expected to open in 2013.
Location: Mahali Mzuri is located within the Motorogi Conservancy in Swahili, Kenya.
Features and Accommodation: The Kenyan Safari camp features 12 sleeper tents sitting on an elevated platform, with a maximum capacity of 24 guests at one time. Out of the 12 sleeper tented suites, ten can be configured with twin beds to accommodate two adults while other two suites feature two extra pull down beds for ease of family accommodation. Each tented suite includes a roomy bedroom with an integral bathroom. The tents also include a sitting area and a terrace offering views over the landscape. A spa treatment and an infinity pool offer ways to effective relaxation.
Sleeper tented suite
Necker Belle yacht
What really distinguishes Branson’s yacht from other celebrity yachts is that it is one of the very few luxury catamarans in the world. Originally launched as the Lady Barbaretta in 2003, Necker Belle spent two years being refitted at Australia’s Azzura Marine. The speedy yacht’s 14-metre beam encompasses four en suite staterooms all above the waterline providing great views. The interiors are very similar to Branson’s Necker island retreat and include four en suite staterooms and the main cabin’s lounge area, which can be converted to a double cabin.
The catamaran can accommodate up to 10 guests in as well as a crew of seven. At 20 knots while under sail and 18 knots under power, the yacht provides a speedy cruising experience. Branson has put out the yacht at charter, prices starting from $88,000 a week.
Richard on his yacht
Available for charter
Docking his yacht
If anyone wants to partake in the luxury of one of the most celebrated island resorts of the world, Necker Island is the place for them. Multipreneur and Virgin boss, Richard Branson bought it for a paltry 180,000 pounds back in 1978. It took him 3 years and a capital of $10 million to turn the previously uninhabited island into a haven for luxury scavengers and privacy fanatics. Branson reportedly spends at least two of the summer months there. Necker Island's guest list boasts many high profile names. The late Princess Diana vacationed there with the young Princes William and Harry. Oprah Winfrey, Kevin Costner, Geena Davis, Robert De Niro, Kate Moss, Nick Lachey, Orlando Bloom and Miranda Kerr have all landed up on the island's pristine beaches. Victoria's Secret descended on the island to shoot its 2010 swimsuit catalog. Good friend and tech-entrepreneur Larry Page chose Necker Island as his wedding venue.
Location: A part of British Virgin islands, Necker Island is located a little north to the Virgin Gorda, one of the bigger islands out there. It’s Caribbean ambience means that the 74 acres of land is well supported by lush greenery, magnificent beaches and beautiful turquoise water.
Accommodation: Branson has made good use of the local resources to make his, what he famously calls “The Great House”, a 10 bedroom Balinese style villa crowning a hill above the beach. The majestic dwelling features 10 guest rooms, each having its own terrace views overlooking the neighboring island and ocean. A second floor Jacuzzi and a master terrace with mesmerizing sun views make the house a complete heaven for nature enthusiasts. The airy and spacious dining area offers nice ambience while performing the essential activities of life. The kitchen overflows with sumptuous smell of ingredients flown in daily from Miami to create mouthwatering meals that could easily grace a Michelin-starred restaurant’s menu. Along with the main house are three additional Balinese houses, built in Bali, dismantled and then reassembled on Necker Island, providing three other guest accommodations.
Features: Other than the grandiose living arrangements there is a lot that adds value to your stay at the Necker Island. One can either stroll at its white sandy beaches or engage in various recreational activities like sailing, water skiing, wind surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving or fishing. But the show stealer is the Necker Nymph, a one of its kind underwater aircraft specially built for Sir Richard Branson. This 3-person aero submarine takes the excitement to a whole new level.
It is needless to say that Necker Island is not only the favorite destination of its owner but also for many, many other celebrities, who wish to go on a sabbatical or just want to experience the best. Good friend and tech-entrepreneur Larry Page was one such high profile guest who chose Necker Island as his wedding venue.
How to get there?
To get there by plane, the closest international airport is on Virgin Tortola (Beef Island) which is a 35-minute flight from San Juan. If one wants to take the water route, Necker is approximately 30 minutes from Tortola and 10 minutes from Virgin Gorda, or one can take a helicopter from Tortola, Virgin Gorda, St. Thomas, San Juan and many other neighboring islands.
Rentals: And now talking business: The 74-acre paradise can sleep up to 28 people and is available for public consumption at US$53,000 to $54,000 a day. The unbeatable experience will be inclusive of two private beaches, pools, tennis courts, spectacular views, a personal chef, a team of about 60 staff and of course, the show stopper, Necker Nymph.
One of its kind
Villa on island
Heaven on earth
Luxury and comfort
The Makepeace Island is at Noosa at Australia’s Sunshine Coast. The island has opened its doors for commoners for private lease for the first time. Branson purchased it back in 2003 with the purpose of turning it into an eco-retreat for crew of his Virgin Australia airline. The island is spread on a 25 acre of land and is naturally heart shaped.
Accommodation: The beautiful Makepeace Island can accommodate around 22 guests. This offers complete privacy to the guests and can either accommodate guests at the Bali house or three separately bedecked bures. The indoor décors includes enormous sculptures, volcanic boulder bathtubs, ornate lighting and antiquities.
How to reach: Makepeace is very near to the Sunshine coast and can be reached easily by a quick riverboat.
Other highlights: The island is of a high quality tropical island style that includes a 500,000 liter lagoon pool, bar facility, beach areas and nature walks. The island is also equipped with a tennis court, a considerable two-storey open aired Balinese wantilan, pavilion, spa facilities.
Pricing : In Makepeace island that is equipped with all the luxurious amenities, the rent is $8,000 to spend a night.
First class pool
Branson paid $10 million for Moskito in 2007 and is aiming to turn it into "the most ecologically friendly" island in the world. The 120 acre island is located in the North Sound just off shore from Anguilla Point, Virgin Gorda. it is one of densest rain forest of region and is famous for its Eco diversity. Branson has plan to develop this island as showcase of biodiversity and raise colony of few exotic species on that island.
He explained:"It would be far too extravagant to have it all to myself. I’m planning to have the minimum number of buildings there. Just enough for me and my family, plus room for maybe four or five other families who could also live on it. They could either be full-time residents or those who just want to have a home in the [British] Virgin Islands. I’m not sure who they’ll be yet, but the one or two people who I’ve mentioned it to have said that they would love to go there.”
Branson wants to implement the most environment friendly technologies, using carbon-neutral, Balinese-style villas, and application of ecologically sound cement. Added to that, power will be wind, wave or solar based, and there will also be a butterfly park.
Richard Branson's island
Richard Branson owns the French made, long range, ultra luxe corporate jet Falcon 900EX. The exterior of the jet make it clear that Branson wants it to be a mobile advertisement of Virgin Galactic, the space travel arm of Richard Branson’s business empire. It has similar tail fin markings, the evolving VG aircraft have been stenciled near the cabin door, while the engine markings are G-GALX. The aircraft itself is named Galactic Girl. This jet has a maximum cruising altitude of 36,000 feet, speed of mach 0.87 (662 mph) and in its factory configuration can seat up to fourteen passengers.
The deluxe private jet
The tail fin
While humans have always thought of flying in the sky, no one took the thought as seriously as billionaire Sir Richard Branson. Branson has unveiled the 60-foot-long ship whose design is based on the original SpaceShipOne. It is the world's first commercial spacecraft and his daughter Holly Sampson has named it the VSS Enterprise, after the fictional intergalactic vessel in Star Trek.
The new spacecraft is designed to seat eight people incuding six passengers and two pilots. The Virgin Galactic passengers will buy a $200,000 ticket for a 2.5-hour flight aboard SpaceShipTwo. The spaceship will launch from an altitude of about 60,000 feet (18,288 meters), while buckled safely in seats that recline flat after reaching suborbital space and will reach a maximum altitude of at least 68 miles. The spacesuit designs are not yet final but they will likely be equipped with personal data and image recorders to add to SpaceShipTwo's in-cabin cameras.
The space traveller
Winner of the X prize
Not everyone has the dream of flying in the skies — some take it to the deep seas. And this is why billionaire Sir Richard Branson commissioned an underwater plane, the Necker Nymph, intended to take visitors to his luxury hideaway, Necker Island, on an underwater joy ride. The £415,000 ($663,000) luxury sub can dive to depths of up to 130ft with its fighter jet technology. Unlike other subs that use ballasts to propel subs under the water, the Nymph uses downward "lift" on the wings to glide like an airplane through the water to carry a pilot and two visitors on a two-hour trip. So, to uncover ancient shipwrecks or fly side by side with dolphins or follow whales, the Nymph is available to hire for $25,000 a week (£15,000), but only if you are on board Branson's luxury catamaran, the Necker Belle, after shelling out a minimum of $88,000 (£55,000).
Hot air ballooning
He like adventurous and drizzle sports, hot air ballon jouney is one of them.
Virgin Galactic is a company founded by Richard Branson which provides sub orbital spaceflights
Richard Branson wrote in his blog about how kitesurfing has now become his favorite sport. He spent his weekend kitesurfing on the Necker Island with Google founder Larry Page and his wife Lucy Page.
Richard loves kitesurfing
A self-professed of all kind of adventure sports, it does not comes as a surprise that Richard Branson is a fan of jetpacking, the latest fad in super-exciting outdoor sports. He, alongwith Larry Page even has pre-booked a $100,000 Jetlev R200 water jetpack, when the final prototype was released.
Humber Super Snipe
Humber Super Snipe is a classic convertible car drives by Richard Branson
Saab 9-5 BioPower
Saab is one of the most fuel efficient cars
The eco-friendly car
1968 Morris Mini-Minor
Richard Branson's Morris Mini Minor is one of the rare antique cars on the globe. Belonging to an era when small cars ruled, the Morris Minor was a British economy car that debuted in 1948. Initially available as a 2-door saloon and convertible, the range was subsequently expanded to include a 4-door saloon in 1950.
Simple and sober interiors
Kasbah Tamadot retreat
Richard adores spending his vacations in one of his own private retreats “Kasbah Tamadot”, a magnificent hotel near Marrakech, Morocco, eminent for its variety of luxurious suites and home like hospitality from the hotel’s dedicated staff.
Location: The gorgeous hotel is situated at the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, close to Marrakech, Morocco.
Accommodation: Kasbah Tamadot offers world class accommodation facilities with its 27 fabulous bedrooms and suites which encompass nine luxury Berber Tents. The bedrooms are decorated with traditional Moroccan furnishings, antiques and splendid artifacts collected from all over the world.
Main Attraction: The visitors can enjoy exploring the marvelous fragrant gardens in the hotel’s exterior or can have fun in the indoor/outdoor infinity pool. The delightful hotel includes the remarkable “Kanoun Restaurant” which offers breathtaking terrace views and includes an intimate fireside bar. The Restaurant serves tasty local and international cuisines made from the herbs and vegetables grown in Kasbah Tamadot gardens. Visitors can enjoy playing tennis or can even take a relaxing spa treatment to refresh their body and mind.
Outdoor infinity pool
Glorious Kanoun Restaurant
Student Valley CentreHe started his charity work first time for Student Valley Centre when he was 17.
Sekenani Primary SchoolRichard Brenson donated $100,000 with there flying club members to Sekenani Primary School
He likes to move on most of the time in his Range Rover