Between the sightseeing tours of London’s sprawling royal palaces and old districts, and the photo compulsories of Big Ben and Westminster, there’s certainly no lack of Instagram opportunities. Indeed, for first-time visitors, this city of superlatives can often be daunting in its sheer scope and size. But away from the sights, and London has another great pastime to offer; one that’s the soft spot of many a traveller and at its best amidst the rich districts and regal streets of the city’s inner clique: celebrity spotting.
Here are five of the top spots in London to spy out the big names. They range from top-class restaurants to whole city districts, and will do well to raise the chances of spotting your favorite actor, singer or a famous face while roaming the streets or sipping a tea!
Poking out from the northern end of London’s Regent Park, this regal neighborhood of parklands and English streets remains one of the city’s most celeb-endowed areas. Current residents are said to include the leader of the Labour Party, Ed Miliband, the film director Tim Burton, and today’s James Bond, Daniel Craig, while the former houses of novelists Kingsley and Martin Amis, the poet Sylvia Plath and a great many other towering names can be spotted amidst the Georgian terraces.
Nestled in the regal houses between Bond Street and Piccadilly, this super stylish and very English fine dining café is famed for its crowd of visiting celebs. Visitors can sit with an afternoon tea, or a plate of caviar canapés while waiting for the next big name to walk through the door, or head to the chic, on-site cocktail bar, where a patchwork of modernist designs and retro styles betrays the name of Sketch’s own designer, the Turner Award accredited Martin Creed.
There are few locations in London more exclusive than the magnificent building on Old Park Lane that Nobu occupies today. Boasting wide views of the central Hyde Park, the eatery was opened under the patronage of Robert De Niro, and serves up some of the city’s best Japanese cuisine (all carefully fine-tuned by the guiding hand of the iconic Nobu Matsuhisa). It’s perhaps not surprising that when it first opened in the late ‘90s this joint was quickly accredited with its first Michelin star.
Perhaps best known as the gaudy kingpin of London’s thriving sex industry, the district of Soho has emerged from the city’s underbelly in recent decades, to become one of its premier districts. Today, clusters of stylish restaurants dot the roadways, while the great Palace Theatre of 1891 and the Soho Theatre on Dean Street have helped to make it the heartland of the iconic West End. Celeb-spotting hopefuls should head here in the evening, sip a beer in one of the street side bars and watch the theater crowds gathering near the box offices and ticket booths – there’s bound to be some big name out and about!
With two celeb-heavy locations on the famous King’s Road and Covent Garden, it’s little surprise that the Big Easy barbecue restaurant is now one of the best places to spot famous folk in London town. In the Chelsea joint, visitors can sit and eat crab legs or barbecue joints in the company of London’s richest inhabitants, while the eatery on Maiden Lane occupies one of the city’s oldest electrical corporations, the Charing Cross & Strand Electricity Supply Company (you know, the one from Monopoly!).