Matthew Bourne's Perfect Day in London

The London-born choreographer and director tells us about his favourite things to do in the capital

Matthew Bourne is an Olivier Award-winning choreographer. His work includes Swan Lake, Edward Scissorhands and The Car Man, which returns to Sadler’s Wells this month. 

Headgear designed by Alexander McQueen at V&A, London, UK
Designed by McQueen, made by Treacey, displayed at the V&A (©Anthea Sims)

Which museums would you visit?
A trip to the Victoria and Albert Museum is always spectacular. It has amazing exhibitions such as the Serge Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes; Hollywood Costume and the current Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, as well as an unparalleled permanent collection.

What are your favourite places to shop?
Great bookshops like Foyles or Daunt Books on Marylebone High Street are always great places to browse.

Highgate Cemetery, London, UK
Historic graves fill Highgate Cemetery (©L.Wilk/iStock/Thinkstock)

Share your top landmarks…
I love the view from Waterloo Bridge at dusk, Highgate Cemetery for its atmosphere, Wilton’s Music Hall and canal walks. During winter, I love ice skating at the rink at Somerset House. 

What places in London hold a special memory for you?
Stage doors in the West End, and entrances to top hotels. I would spend hours of my youth waiting for autographs from famous old movie stars like Fred Astaire, Bette Davis, Elizabeth Taylor and Charlie Chaplin.

The Ritz Restaurant, London, UK
The Ritz Hotel is a glamorous place for afternoon tea (©The Ritz Restaurant)

Where would you have afternoon tea and with whom?
Any of the great classic London hotels: The Savoy, The Waldorf, Pullman London St Pancras and The Ritz. My ideal guest would be a visitor from abroad who would appreciate the ‘Englishness’ of the surroundings.

What’s your ideal entertainment?
Going to the theatre to see a great play, dance performance or musical. London – not Broadway – is easily the theatre capital of the world, and the choice available is thrilling.

What show would you recommend?
At this time of year, I love going to Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre – it’s a totally magical experience. I recently saw a brilliant production of Peter Pan there, and am looking forward to returning to see Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, which opens on 16 July.

Matthew Bourne's The Car Man, Sadler's Wells, London, UK
Matthew Bourne's The Car Man 'like a rollercoaster ride of lust, passion, murder, revenge and intrigue' (©Johan Persson)

Why should we watch The Car Man?
The Car Man is a rare thing indeed – a dance thriller. It’s also my most raunchy and dramatic show, performed to some of the most sensual and powerful music ever written. It’s  – it’s perfect for a hot summer night! It runs from 14 July to 9 August.

What is your favourite way to travel?
The good old London bus!

Plum and Split Milk, London, UK
Plum and Spilt Milk is a good example of regeneration of King's Cross (courtesy Plum and Spilt Milk)

Where do you like to eat out?
My new favourites are Plum & Spilt Milk at The Great Northern Hotel in King’s Cross, and also in the same area, the Grain Store. An old favourite is Rules, which is the oldest restaurant in London. Ask for the Titanium Martini – it’s heaven!

Where would you spend the evening?
At the theatre, or at J. Sheekey or Balthazar having a seafood treat, with friends.

What makes London stand out from the rest of the world?
I am a Londoner, born and bred, going back several generations. More than anywhere else, it’s my home. It is the most gloriously diverse and surprising city – for someone who is an art, music, dance, drama and film lover, there is no better place to live.

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