Fogle is the son of English actress Julia Foster and Canadian expatriate veterinarian Bruce Fogle. He was educated at two independent schools: The Hall School in Hampstead in London, and Bryanston School in Blandford Forum, Dorset, followed by the University of Portsmouth and the University of Costa Rica. Fogle became a Midshipman in the Royal Naval Reserve, serving as an URNU officer on HMS Blazer.
Fogle first came to public notice by participating in the BBC reality show Castaway 2000, which followed a group of thirty-six people marooned on the Scottish island of Taransay for a year starting 1 January 2000. The social experiment aimed to create a fully self-sufficient community within a year.
Fogle is a television presenter working for the BBC, ITV, Channel 5, Sky, Discovery and National Geographic. He has hosted Crufts, One Man and His Dog, Countryfile, Country Tracks, Extreme Dreams With Ben Fogle, Animal Park, Wild on the West Coast, Wild in Africa, "Ben Fogle – African Migration" and Ben Fogle's Escape in Time. Fogle made a film about the facial deforming disease Noma for a BBC Two documentary Make Me A New Face which followed the work of the charity Facing Africa and Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Fogle has produced films about naval history and the Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) for the History Channel and followed Princes William and Harry on their first joint Royal Tour in Botswana and made an exclusive documentary called Prince William's Africa. He marked the centenary of Captain Scott's expedition to the South Pole with The Secrets of Scott's Hut. Fogle is popular on the motivational and corporate speaking circuit. His new series, Swimming with Crocodiles will air on BBC Two and Storm City in 3D in Sky One and National Geographic. Fogle has become a special correspondent for NBC News in the United States.
Fogle appeared on the programme Countryfile with John Craven from 2001 to 2008, during which he reported on a number of the UK's odd rural pastimes. He rejoined the programme in 2014.
Since 2013, Fogle has presented two series of Harbour Lives, a documentary series on ITV. In 2014, Fogle joined the presenting team on ITV series Countrywise with Liz Bonnin and Paul Heiney, which focuses on the best of the British coast and country.
In 2013, Fogle presented a new show for Channel 5 called Ben Fogle: New Lives in the Wild, that saw him follow the stories of people living in the wild and isolated from society. Additionally, Fogle took over as the host of Animal Clinic on Channel 5, replacing Rolf Harris.
Fogle was the first to cross the line in the pairs division of the 2005–2006 Atlantic Rowing Race in "Spirit of EDF Energy", partnered by Olympic rower James Cracknell. While competing in the 3,000-mile race, the pair had their boat fully capsized by huge waves. They made landfall in Antigua at 07.13 GMT on 19 January 2006, a crossing time of 49 days, 19 hours, 8 minutes. After penalties, they were placed second in the pairs and fourth overall. In 2007, the BBC series that followed the pair, Through Hell and High Water, won a Royal Television Society award.
He has also completed the six-day Marathon des Sables for the World Wide Fund for Nature across 160 miles (260 km) of the Sahara Desert and the Safaricom Marathon in Kenya for the Tusk Trust, with Longleat Safari Park keeper Ryan Hockley. Fogle has completed the Bupa Great North Run in 1 hour 33 minutes, the London Marathon and the Royal Parks Half Marathon. He beat EastEnders actor Sid Owen in a three-round charity boxing match for BBC Sport Relief under the training of Frank Bruno and he recently re-ran the Safaricom marathon in Kenya with the injured Battleback Soldiers.
Fogle teamed up with Cracknell once again, together with Ed Coats, a Bristol-based doctor, as Team QinetiQ to take part in the inaugural "Amundsen Omega 3 South Pole Race". Six teams set out to race across the Antarctic Plateau to commemorate the historic race of 1911 between Roald Amundsen and Robert Falcon Scott. Having led the race for much of the time, the team took 18 days, 5 hours and 10 minutes to complete the 770-kilometre (480 mi) race, coming second overall, 20 hours behind the Norwegian team, who commended them on making it "a fantastic race", and over 2 days ahead of the next placed team. Fogle suffered hypothermia and frostbite to his nose and the team experienced temperatures as low as −40 °C (−40 °F). The race was filmed by the BBC for the series On Thin Ice and was aired in Summer 2009. Five episodes of On Thin Ice were broadcast on BBC Two Sunday evenings receiving a peak record of 3.7 million viewers. Macmillan published an account of their journey, Race to The Pole, which became a top-10 best-seller in the UK.
In October 2009, Fogle and Cracknell cycled a rickshaw 423 miles from Edinburgh to London non-stop. They took 60 hours to reach the capital, raising money for SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association). The event was filmed as part of The Pride of Britain Awards.
Fogle and Cracknell planned to take part in the infamous Tour Divide race in 2010, a 3,000-mile mountain-bike race across the Rocky Mountains, from Banff in Canada to the border of Mexico. The world record is held by American Matthew Lee and stands at 17 days. The race was put on hold after Cracknell received life-threatening injuries after being knocked from his bicycle in America while training.
In 2011, Fogle filmed a new series A Year of Adventures with Lonely Planet and BBC Worldwide in which he travels the world in the pursuit of the ultimate adventure, from solo skydiving in Australia to flying in a Cold War fighter jet in the Czech Republic. During the series he swam from Alcatraz to San Francisco and dived between the tectonic plates of North America and Europe in Iceland.
In 2013, Fogle and Cracknell teamed up again for their third and final expedition across the Empty-quarter of Oman for a new BBC Two series.
Fogle has written six books; The Teatime Islands in search of the remaining islands in the British Empire in which he travels to Saint Helena, Ascension Island, the Falkland Islands, the British Indian Ocean Territories and Tristan da Cunha.
He also tried to visit Pitcairn Island by private yacht, but when the inhabitants learned that he was a journalist they refused to let him land. Fogle claims that they suspected that he was a spy, and after six hours of interrogation he was refused permission to visit and deported. He was also accused of attempting to smuggle a breadfruit on to the island. The book was short-listed for the W H Smith's people's award for Best Travel Book.
He has also written Offshore (2006), published by Penguin Books, in which he travelled around Britain in search of an island of his own. He visited the Kingdom of Sealand and attempted to invade Rockall in the North Atlantic. In 2006 he published Crossing, published by Atlantic books and co-written with Cracknell followed their Transatlantic rowing bid. In 2009, The Race to the Pole was published by Macmillan and spent ten weeks in the best-seller list.
In 2016 Land Rover: The Story of the Car that Conquered the World was published, written by Fogle.
Fogle writes a weekly Country Diary for the Sunday Telegraph and is a regular columnist for the Daily Telegraph and travel writer for The Independent and has contributed to the Evening Standard, the New York Times, the Sunday Times and Glamour magazine. He has interviewed Gordon Brown and Prince William for the Mail on Sunday's LIVE magazine. He is guest director of Cheltenham Literary Festival and a regular at the Hay-on-Wye festival.
Transworld published his first travel memoir The Accidental Adventurer in 2011 and his second, The Accidental Naturalist was published in 2012; both made the Sunday Times best-seller list.
Fogle is the President of the Campaign for National Parks,. Fogle is also: an ambassador for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Tusk; a supporter of the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme, and Hearing Dogs for Deaf People. He is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. He is also a patron for the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, the Prince's Trust, the Royal Parks Foundation and ShelterBox.
Alongside the historian Philippa Gregory, Fogle is a patron of the UK Chagos Supporters Association, fighting for the islanders' rights to return to the British Indian Ocean Territory. He has described "the story of the Chagos islanders' treatment at the hands of the UK government" as "one for which I am ashamed to be British [...] a story of deceit [... which has] shaken my very principles on conservation and democracy".
In August 2014, Fogle was one of 200 public figures who were signatories to a letter to The Guardian opposing Scottish independence in the run-up to September's referendum on that issue.
In 2006, Fogle married Marina Hunt, from Austria, whom he met while walking his black Labrador Retriever, Inca, in London's Hyde Park. Their first child, a boy named Ludovic Herbert Richard Fogle, was born in 2009. Their second child, a girl named Iona, was born in 2011.
While filming the latest series of Extreme Dreams in Peru, Fogle contracted leishmaniasis, which left him bedridden for three weeks on his return home. He was treated at London's Hospital for Tropical Diseases. Fogle went on to make a documentary, Make Me a New Face, about children suffering from flesh-eating bacteria called noma in Ethiopia. The documentary was broadcast on BBC Two.
Fogle was awarded an honorary doctorate of letters by the University of Portsmouth in 2007.
On 13 August 2010 on the television programme Would I Lie To You?, Fogle admitted (and showed) that he had a tattoo of a nautical star on his left shoulder which he claimed to have acquired at the end of a drunken evening in a pub with the previously unknown tattooist.
His waxwork was recently unveiled at Madame Tussauds. He was awarded the Freedom of the City of London in 2013. Fogle has had an acting cameo on the television programme Hotel Babylon.
On 20 February 2013, BBC Newsbeat published an article stating that he had claimed that his drink had been spiked at a pub in Gloucestershire. He described the effects as making him try to jump out of a window, and he subsequently spent a night in hospital.