Celebrity Spotting in London

Find out who you can see... and most importantly: where!?

London Focus

Whilst received knowledge dictates that it is in the galleries, museums, theatres and parks of London that you will experience the true value of living in the capital, there are few who can truly dispute the life-affirming thrill of seeing Derek Acorah skulking out of your local minimarket.

Celebrity Spotting is the opium of the people. Whilst some of the most satisfying spots are the unexpected ones, when an otherwise unremarkable and prosaic day is transformed into a transendental experience through a chance encounter with a genuine resident of celebsville, for the more dedicated and determined spotter, plans can and should be made.

In order to widen participation in this most pointless and pleasurable of pursuits we have produced a rough guide for those who wish to increase their chances of brushing past Katie Andre’s chest / walking in Sienna’s bare footsteps / finding out that Tom Cruise really is that small.

The Ivy

First off, the classics. The Ivy, 1 West Street, WC2H, is the grande dame of celebrity-haunts. Frequented by the most illustrious members of the celebristocracy (George Michael, Elton John, Tom Cruise), The Ivy was witness to the Beckham’s engagement celebrations. Oh, and Liberty X quite like the resaturant too.

For the most dedicated celeb spotters, military-style planning is required. To get a table, phone at least 6 months in advance and spend said months saving pennies in order to pay the bill. If that sounds like too much hard work, hang out by the famous entrance with the paps. (I’ve been told they’re charming).


Nobu (Metropolitan Hotel, 19 Old Park Lane, Mayfair W1K) provides the opportunity of Brad Pitt, George Clooney or the holy grail of all London spots; Kate Moss, serving as a visual side order to your (very expensive) sushi.

Getting a table here may be easier than at The Ivy, but again, phone well in advance. If the celebrity spotting excitement in Nobu leaves you gagging for a G & T to calm down, simply move along to the hotel’s notorious Met Bar, providing you have paid for a room in the hotel itself or have managed to, somehow, become a member of the private club.

Met Bar

While the bar is still very much exclusive and part of the celebrity-courting establishment, its hey-day is considered to be over. The Met Bar was made famous in the late 90s by the cool-Britannia collective running amok there - many of Liam Gallagher’s violent outbursts at the paparrazi happened here with the Appleton sisters and Sadie Frost boozing in the background.

However, the notoriety soon gave way to c-list celeb overkill as every glamour model and boy-band member wanted a slice of the action, thus scaring away the arch celebrity snobs. The bar remains ideal, however for sizing up your favourite reality-tv star in the flesh.


This is reportedly also the case with Chinawhites (6 Air Street W1R), which is populated by soap actors and footballers, and young girls desperate to get in with them. Officially, those not invited to be members either need a friend who has been or a willingness to hand over the £650 annual membership fee, but anecdotal evidence suggests a small group of sufficiently glamorous female non-members have a fighting chance of getting in.\n\nIf your celebrity specimens of choice are of the more cerebral variety then hanging around for long enough outside The Groucho Club (Dean Street, Soho) should successfully indulge you. Subversively named with reference to Groucho Marx’s famous quip ‘I don’t care to belong to any club that would accept me as a member’ the private members club is a haven in central London for all those who tend more towards writing the news (and creating the art and playing the music) than making it.

In the 90s it was infamously ruled by Julie Burchill, Toby Young and their band of cocky young things and boasts Keith Allen, Damien Hurst, and Vic Reeves as members and Salman Rushdie as a shareholder.

Celeb Spotting on the cheap...

If all this expense and membership seems disheartening to the less salubrious celebrity spotter, it should be noted that some of the coolest celebs have moved away from the flash-trash club culture and into more grimy, proletarian hang-outs. The Lock Tavern (35 Chalk Farm Road, London NW1) is a beautifully updated Victorian gastropub with scarily gorgeous and trendy staff that is frequented by the coolest of London thesps (Samantha Morton, Rhys Ifans etc) and owned by Sara Cox’s (estranged) husband and DJ John Carter. It is the perfect place for celebrity spotters who like their music indie, their jeans skinny and their beer continental.

On a similar theme, Wednesdays at The Notting Hill Arts Club are Death Disco, a night frequented by arbiters of posy underground cool, Kate Moss, Sadie Frost and friends. The drinks are expensive but get there before 8 and its free!

Those looking for a similarly cheap and trendy indie celeb experience should note that Kelly Osbourne is known to snog pretty greasy band members at The Purple Turtle (Crowndale Rd, Camden) and The Metro on Oxford Street.

... and you can almost guarantee bumping into Simon Amstell at The End’s outrageously pretentious art rock night Trash. But you don’t get many celebrity spotting points for Amstell because he’s absolutely everywhere.

A mere hop skip and a jump away from the The Lock Tavern is The Dublin Castle (94 Parkway NW1), which although considerably grimier than its neighbour, is equally teeming with indie muso types channelling that ‘I’m-so-off-duty-I-don’t-even-know-what-celebrity-means’ vibe. Hard.

Various members of Travis can often be found propping up the bar and looking affable.

Also on Parkway is the Camden branch of Wagamama’s which is reportedly adored by the most beautiful of smug-marrieds; Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale. Slurp your cheap noodles and stare. \n\nShopping Celebs

When looking for a little celebrity with your retail therapy, make like the star you’re not and window shop in places you know you’ll never really be able to buy anything in. Harrod’s (Brompton Road, Knightsbridge) Selfridges (Regent Street) all of New Bond Street (W1) and The King’s Road (SW3), are almost guaranteed to provide brushes with the rich and famous, or at the very least the rich, who are quite fun to stare at anyway.

For more intimate celebrity shopping experiences, nose around the boutiques in Primrose Hill Village (NW1), and refresh yourself in one of the area’s oh-so-smug, old fashioned and organic tea rooms and just wait for Sienna and Jude (living nearby) to stroll in.

Primrose Hill and the wider Camden / Belsize Park area is the epicentre for trendy celebrities looking for the London equivalent to a village in the Cotswolds where mere mortals are priced out and they can bring up their Cath Kidston-clad tots in peace.

Other local residents include Stella McCartney. Kate Winslet and Sam Mendes, la Moss, Sara Cox, Helena Bonham Carter, Ewan McGregor, Bill Nighy, Kevin Spacey, Rachel Weisz, Billie Piper, James Nesbitt, Kylie Minogue and Robbie Williams! Phew. Enjoy.

Movie Premieres

Movie Premieres are magnets for the International Celebville Glitterati; these mostly take place in and around Leicester Square and in the past twelve months have attracted the likes of Tom Cruise, Keira Knightly, George Lucas, Will Smith, Kirsten Dunst, Katie Holmes, Madonna... and Keith Chegwin, oh yes... not to mention a plethora of additional peripheral D-list detritus.

For current Celebrits Spots from All In London users take a look at the Celebrity Spotting section of the forum.

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