London is my favourite city in the world. I was born there, I live there and many of my friends do too. It’s one of the most exciting cities in the world, inspiring and so incredibly cosmopolitan. I am incredibly proud to say I come from London.
Here are some of my favourite things to do there. Mind you, I hate lists. Ask me tomorrow and the line up would probably be different…
Walks and views
For a great view of London, walk over Waterloo Bridge, stop in the middle and look both ways - east to St Paul’s and beyond, west to Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster. There are some fantastic views in London, and this is one of my favourites. I also love the view from the top of St Bart’s Hospital, an amazing place that traces its history back to the 12th century. That view is very special, especially for me [it’s where Sherlock fell to his non-death at the end of the second series].
Go to the top of St Paul’s Cathedral for fabulous views of London including the River Thames, Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe. Plus the Dome itself is magnificent. This is architect Christopher Wren’s masterpiece.
Another personal favourite vantage point is Parliament Hill in north London, near where I live. All of London is spread out below. Parliament Hill and Hampstead Heath are great places to relax or jog.
You can’t beat seeing London from the Thames. Take a riverboat trip from Tate Britain to Tate Modern — that’s a great ride — and see sights like the Houses of Parliament and St Paul’s on the way. There is something really relaxing about looking at a city from a river.
I love Pollen Street Social, Jason Atherton’s restaurant and Heston Blumenthal’s Dinner in the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park hotel in Knightsbridge. I was fortunate to eat at the latter with Heston, having every dish and the history of it explained, which was a pretty spectacular way to understand what he was going for.
I also like Yalla Yalla, a great Lebanese restaurant just off Berwick Street in Soho. Try Brindisa just round the corner for fantastic tapas. If you want a really great vegetarian fest, go to The Gate restaurant in Hammersmith.
Blacks private member’s club in Dean Street is wonderful; it’s like stepping onto a Georgian film set replete with 200-year-old floorboards and the most fantastic wine collection.
The Ivy is, of course, terrific. It has some of the best cocktails in town, a great bar and a truly fantastic restaurant.
Near my home in Hampstead, I especially like a burger at The Stag — their burgers are fantastic — and one of my favourite local pubs is The Wells.
I’m still curious about…
I haven’t done The Shard, London’s highest building, but I’d like to try it.
Read more: Benedict Cumberbatch goes ice driving in Finland with High Life and Jaguar, plus a few of his favourite places. jaguar.com/icedrive