The Joan Collins Guide to London

The London-born actress, now living in LA, tells us her favourite things to see and do in the capital.

Joan Collins was born in London, and now lives in LA. She has starred in over 50 films, and is best known for her role in the TV series Dynasty. We took her back to her roots, and asked her what she loves about London.

What is your favourite place to eat breakfast?

I don’t eat both breakfast and lunch. My husband and I would go to our favourite place, Colbert, in Sloane Square. The restaurant was opened by Jeremy King and Chris Corbin, and it’s named after the movie star Claudette Colbert. It has loads of photographs of movies and stars from the 1920s to the 1950s. It’s a French-themed bistro and has the most wonderful food.

What are your favourite landmarks and areas of London? 

There are so many! Since I’m a Londoner, I have a tendency to take them all for granted. I haven’t seen the Tower Of London since I was a child, so I would like to see the Crown Jewels. Big Ben, The Houses Of Parliament and the view from across the bridge are beautiful. London never ceases to amaze me with the beauty of its surroundings, buildings, architecture and the way it’s laid out. I love Buckingham Palace, St. James’s Park and the old theatres on Shaftesbury Avenue. I also love driving around Holland Park to see wonderful houses, which are hundreds of years old.

Selfirdges, on busy Oxford Street (photo courtesy of Selfridges)

Tell us your favourite places to shop.

I love Selfridges. It has everything in it that one can find either in Bond Street or King’s Road. I like walking down King’s Road and the Duke of York area. I love going to Portobello Road on a Saturday and looking for antiques.

Describe one of your best buys

That’s hard! I’m very particular about what I buy. One thing I really like is an antique that appeared in an early James Bond film. It’s a 19th-century flower arrangement of lilies, but it’s in silver. I bought it 30 years ago from Portobello Road.

National Portrait Gallery
Regency Weldon Gallery at National Portrait Gallery (photo © Andrew Putler)

Would you visit any galleries?

Yes! I’d go to the National Portrait Gallery because I have a portrait of myself there by Andy Warhol. I would egotistically go to that first. I also think they have some incredible, wonderful pictures there.

Afternoon tea at the Ritz Hotel
Tea at the Ritz, one of London's classic things to do (photo courtesy of Ritz Hotel)

What are your top places for tea?

Fortnum & Mason or The Ritz (above). I’d have tea with Tracey Emin; she’s a friend and she’s fun. She appreciates a good piece of cake.

Where would you have lunch?

San Lorenzo. I love the Italian food, ambience and service, and that they don’t have ghastly blaring music like so many new restaurants.

Claridge's bar
The decadent bar at Claridge's hotel

Where would you go for a drink?

Claridge’s, definitely. It’s the most beautiful place in London, and has the most fantastic bar. I would have a cosmopolitan.

What makes London stand out from the rest of the world?

To be in London, to me, is to be in the hub of the cultural centre of the world. The variety that one has in terms of theatre, film, concerts and art shows is never ending.

What London hotel would you choose to spend the night in?

I would also stay at Claridge’s in one of the most gorgeous suites. It’s better than any other hotel in the world that I’ve been to.