Jane Asher: My Perfect Day in London

The London-born actress, starring in the new play The Gathering Leaves, tells us about her favourites things in the city

London-born actress and author of novels and cake-decorating books, Jane Asher is appearing in the world premier of The Gathered Leaves at Park Theatre. She tells us about her favourite things to do in London.

What would your perfect breakfast be?

I’m not usually a breakfast eater – but on a lazy Sunday I’ll go for Eggs Benedict and strong filter coffee at the Colbert, where the clever Corbyn and King have created a wonderfully Parisian atmosphere in the middle of Sloane Square·

Colbert, London, UK
Enjoy a lazy Sunday brunch at The Colbert (courtesy The Colbert)

Which shopping areas to you enjoy?

I love clothes and have to restrain myself from buying too many. I don’t always have the time to browse fashion outlets, which is why I’m a big fan of boutiques, where I can find a good cross-section. My favourite is Sally Parsons in Bute Street, where I know I’ll always find something that’ll suit me.

What are your favourite buildings in the city?

I love the mix of old and new architecture that forces buildings built centuries apart to squeeze up against each other. One of my favourite views is from the South Bank to see the fabulous Gherkin and Tower Bridge: the best of modern, computerised design near to ancient and iconic stone. 

The Gerkin, London, UK
Old and new mix in London view (©Yola/iStock/Thinkstock)

Any museum or gallery you love to visit?

As a Londoner it’s easy for me to take our galleries and museums for granted but the other day I wandered into The Wallace Collection and was reminded why I loved it so much as a child. I felt like a guest in a beautiful private house full of treasures - from The Laughing Cavalier to Fragonard’s The Swing – plus the stunning glass-ceilinged courtyard restaurant. 

What is your favourite green space?

I grew up in Marylebone, near Regent’s Park, and I still get a little lurch of excitement when I see the little yellow boats on the children’s boating lake. I worked at The Open Air Theatre in the park a couple of years ago and it took me back to an early experience of Shakespeare when I was taken there to see "A Midsummer Night’s Dream." I’ll never forget those dainty, chiffon-skirted fairies flitting in and out of the trees.

Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, London, UK
The Open Air Theatre is a highlight of Regent's Park (©David Jensen)

How do you like to travel around London?

I’m a big fan of the tube, and travelling to Finsbury Park and back to Chelsea every day as I am at the moment would take me far longer by car. The way they’ve been working on a desperately needed update of the entire network whilst managing to keep it open is miraculous.

Would you do anything extravagant?

As a treat it would be amazing to have a black cab at my disposal for a whole day: no one understands our city better than a cabbie, and I’d ask his advice about what I should see or where I should eat.

Black cab, London, UK
A cab is a lovely way of getting around the city (©Icenando/iStock/Thinkstock)

Would you stop for tea?

I’d pick Claridge’s for friendly service and light, tasty scones. My ideal companion would be Winnie the Pooh, as I’ve always appreciated his healthy appetite for sweet things, and it would be interesting to have a conversation with a bear and see how he felt about his extraordinary fame.

Would you stop for a drink?

There aren’t many people whose spouses have bars named after them, but I am one... so it would have to be a visit to Scarfes bar in the Rosewood hotel. My husband, Gerald Scarfe’s, caricatures are all over the walls, and, as Mrs. Scarfe, I get a lot of reflected glory as I sit there sipping a glass of chilled Perrier-Jouet.

Scarfe's Bar, Rosewood Hotel, London, UK
Jane Asher's husband, Gerald Scarfe, drew all the caricatures in the bar at the Rosewood hotel (courtesy Rosewood Hotel)

Where is your favourite place in London for dinner?

I’d like to try Burger and Lobster in Greek Street: a combination of two of my favourite foods and highly recommended by friends. The perfect companion would be my late father, who loved food as much as I do.

What would be your perfect evening's entertainment?

We are lucky enough to have the Curzon cinema Chelsea nearby and they show a great cross-section of both popular and foreign films, as well as broadcasting opera, concerts and plays live from all over the world.

Tell us about "The Gathered Leaves"…

I always enjoy working on a new play: creating a character for the very first time is a special experience. "The Gathered Leaves" is beautifully written and manages to make one think about some of the subtle and interesting aspects of what it is to be part of a family and how complex those relationships can be. It’s funny and touching, and I’m very happy to be part of this entertaining evening.  

Book tickets for "The Gathered Leaves" here.

View more London entertainment here.