My London: Simon Reeve

Home is…

When I’m not in the middle of nowhere in Devon with my wife Anya and my eight-year-old son, it’s our family flat in Hampstead. It’s a fairly perfect, I’ve-won-the-lottery-sort-of-situation — next to the Tube and with a garden.

Hampstead Tube Station (Alamy Stock Photo)

Bus, taxi or Tube?

I love the Northern line. Travelling in the rest of the world is much tougher, so I like the fact you can go from the outskirts of London to the centre on a warm, lit carriage.

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

Shut the internet at six o’clock so people actually have to go out and meet up. 

Which shops do you rely on?

Oxfam in Hampstead is great for kids’ books. Shogo on Heath Street, my hairdresser who does magic while he cuts. And Stanfords in Covent Garden, the best map and travel shop on planet Earth. 

Favourite pub?

The Sheep Walk Tavern in Acton. I used to drink in pubs near the police station even when I was wearing school uniform. I was a bit naughty. 

Most iconic Londoner?

Del Boy, who defines a time when most of London was shit and many of us liked it gritty. 

Del Boy (Alamy Stock Photo)

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

Bell Moor, a big block of flats overlooking Hampstead Heath. I’d paint it orange and yellow because I love warm colours. 

What makes someone a Londoner? 

If you can nod hello to two people on your way to work, that’s enough.

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

When I was younger I used to drive the same type of crappy Triumph Spitfire as a south Acton drug dealer, so I was always getting stopped. One time I had a small bag of weed, but these girls I was with distracted the policeman so I got away with it.

Where would you like to be buried?

In Greenwich on the prime meridian, the line that defines the planet. What an ego, eh?

Best meal you’ve had? 

E&O in Notting Hill. I dream about its duck salad. 

Who do you call when you want to have fun? 

For a warm glow, I’ll call almost all of my friends. It makes me misty-eyed being away and missing them all desperately. 

What’s your London secret? 

Hampstead Pergola is a spectacular hidden little corner covered in wisteria in the spring. 

Hampstead Pergola (Alamy Stock Photo)

What are you up to at the moment for work?

I’m filming a series travelling through the entire Americas from Alaska to Argentina. 

Who is your hero? 

My friend Nick Bridge. He’s heavily involved with battling at a diplomatic level to halt  climate change. He taught me optimism. 

What do you collect? 

Endless bloody luggage. I’ve got maybe 30 bags, but sometimes I get it wrong and end up carrying one without straps for miles in the jungle. Probably why I had a double hernia.


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