Why stalk the rich and famous in London when The Daily Mail — the holy grail for the dirtiest of dirt about British celebs — can tell me not only where they live but what they ate for breakfast? Next time you find yourself in London, you might be lucky enough to spot a celeb in her or his home borough. (For those of you who aren’t familiar with London, it’s divided into 33 boroughs, each of which have their own locally-elected council and mayor.) Here are five of your best bets for celebs and their nabes.
Michael Fassbender: London Fields, Hackney
Haywire image via IMDB.com.
Best-known for his role in Inglourious Basterds as Lieutenant Archie Hicox, Michael Fassbender has eschewed the chosen nabes of his acting contemporaries in posh West London for trendy London Fields, in the gritty and über-trendy East End. London Fields is a vibrant part of Hackney, especially on a Saturday, when there’s a market on Broadway Market that sells sells fruit, vegetables, meats, cheeses and fresh flowers. (It also has several food stalls and Monmouth coffee — the best coffee in London.) For those seeking a true East London experience, there’s still a pie and mash shop that serves jellied eels, a Cockney delicacy. The pubs at the north end of Broadway Market, notably the Cat and Mutton (sometimes affectionately called the Twat and Mutton by locals) are also a good place to be on the weekend, usually good for a celebrity spotting or two such as socialite/model Peaches Geldof, daughter of Sir Bob.
Keira Knightly: Spitalfields/Shoreditch, Tower Hamlets
Atonement image via IMDB.com.
Having recently purchased a £2.5m townhouse with her fiancée James Righton in Spitalfields, it’s a good bet if you’re around the bars in Shoreditch on a Saturday night or Spitalfields market on a Sunday morning, you’ll spot Keira Knightley. I’ve actually seen her a couple of times out and about on Saturday night near Bar Kick/Café Kick in Shoreditch. Spitalfields has a long history of being the home to London’s newcomers. Perhaps the single building on Brick Lane that is a testament to hundreds of years of immigrants is the mosque (known as the London Jamme Masjid), once a synagogue and before that a church that was first established as a Protestant chapel in 1743. The cultural diversity of the area is one of its greatest strengths. This nabe, particularly at the top of Brick Lane at the north end outside of Shoreditch High Street Overground, is one of the best places to see the “costermongers” — true East End Cockneys selling fruit and vegetables for a fiver (or less, depending on your haggling skills).
Russell Brand: Hampstead
Arthur image via IMDB.com.
I saw actor/comedian Russell Brand on Carnaby Street in Central London, talking on his mobile phone, with his dutiful assistant at his side carrying umpteen bags of clothing from BOSS Orange. Carnaby Street is just a stone’s throw from Brand’s London pad in Hampstead, one one of the leafiest parts of London, famous for its heath (appropriately called Hampstead Heath). Back in the early days of his romance with now ex-wife, Brand and Katy Perry were photographed here on an unusually snowy winter’s day, tobogganing down one of the park’s many rolling hills. This is one of the best spots in London if you want to feel like you’re in the countryside without leaving the city.
Jude Law: Primrose Hill
The Talented Mr. Ripley image via IMDB.com.
When Jude Law isn’t out trying to save the polar bears — he recently teamed up with Radiohead to make a voice-over video called “A Homeless Bear in London,” about exploitation of Arctic resources — he can be found in London’s exclusive nabe of Primrose Hill. A couple of months back, Law was spotted here with ex-wife Sadie Frost and their two children, having an otherwise ordinary day out in the park. Law has been linked in the past to the area with other exes, notably Sienna Miller. It’s not difficult to see why celebs dig Primrose, as it’s close to central London yet, like its neighbour Hampstead, feels like a bit of country in the city. Situated just north of Regent’s Park, its surrounding district is home to some of London’s most exclusive, expensive real estate. Other notable residents include Boris Johnson, mayor of London; Harry Styles (member of boy band One Direction); and Kate Moss, fashion model.
Hugh Grant: Chelsea, Royal Borough Kensington & Chelsea
Notting Hill image via IMDB.com.
Formerly the home of such famous residents as Richard III and Oscar Wilde, Chelsea has more recently become known in the tabloids as “Chelski,” following an influx of Russian Oligarchs in the last decade. Perhaps one of its most famous contemporary residents is actor Hugh Grant. Coincidentally (or maybe not), Grant lives in an exact-location-unknown £18m pad close to Notting Hill, the name of his 1999 British rom-com. If you find yourself in Chelsea, come armed with a hefty inheritance: it’s not a place for paupers. The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea is one of the only boroughs in London to be awarded Royal status. The King’s Road is the main artery, and has a blend of the usual suspects on British high streets such as Gap and McDonald’s. Nearby Sloane Street is verging on rivaling Bond Street itself, with its high-end fashion and jewellery boutiques such as Cartier, Prada, Gucci and Gianni Versace. Maybe just window shopping then, eh?
Sarah Lysecki is a freelance journalist based in London, UK, where she has written for Cosmetic News Weekly and Cosmetics International. She has also contributed to Economist Intelligence Unit, ITBusiness.ca, and Foodnetwork.ca. She is currently in a very happy relationship with a dandy of an English gent.