My London: Donna Air

Home is…

Chelsea, with my daughter Freya and my dog Molly.

Favourite hotel?

Claridge’s (C1 Natural Styles)

The spa at The Lanesborough. Or Claridge’s for tea… they use Mariage Frères jam on the scones and it’s delicious. Also their Christmas pudding is insane — 40 chefs all add an individual ingredient to it. 

Bus, taxi or Tube?

Oh God, all three — quite often in one trip, depending on the good old London traffic. And you don’t have ‘bicycle’ in there. Bit dangerous, but I definitely like a shortcut cycle through the park.

Where would you recommend for a first date?

Gold on Portobello Road. If you can get a table, that is. But it’s perfect because it’s relaxed, discreet, fun and the food’s really good.

Have you ever had a run-in with a police officer?

Once, when I was stuck in gridlocked traffic on the King’s Road, I had my phone in my hand. I wasn’t using it, but apparently that’s still a crime. I got a stonking big fine. 

Where would you like to be buried?

I think that’s a job for my daughter. Or my husband, should I ever take one.

Best meal you’ve had?

Hunan (Photo credit: Paul Winch-Furness)

Hard question: I could easily give you a top 10, but I’ll say Hunan on Pimlico Road or San Pietro in Kensington. I love family-run businesses where you don’t have to think about the menu: they just feed you.

Best thing a cabbie has ever said to you?

‘You look like that Donna Air… but much younger.’

What makes someone a Londoner?

An appreciation of Only Fools and Horses and fish and chips. 

Which shops do you rely on?

Space NK for warpaint. Rob Van Helden for my flowers and plants. And my number one — it’s not quite in London but it’s within commutable distance — is Bicester Village. I love the fact that it gives free retail space to emerging talent. And, hey, it’s up to 60 per cent off, what’s not to like?

If you could buy any building and live there, which would it be?

The Wolseley

Every time I have lunch at the The Wolseley, I think, ‘I love this building’. And it would make a really versatile space, wouldn’t it?

What would you do if you were Mayor for a day?

I’d introduce endangered species bicycles. They’d all have a picture of an animal on the side, so you can choose which conservation project you would like to support.

What are you up to at the moment for work?

I’ve just finished recording series two of [family drama] The Split for the BBC — a brilliant experience.  I also advise a number of brands and businesses and start shooting a feature film in the New Year.

Donna Air is an ambassador for the Elephant Family charity @elephantfamily


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