Last updated: May 26, 2012 12:06 am

‘Cabman’s shelters offer a perfect English breakfast’

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The cabman’s shelter next to Cadogan Place Gardens©Rick Pushinsky

The cabman’s shelter next to Cadogan Place Gardens

I’d start my perfect day with breakfast in a cabman’s shelter. They’re absolutely tiny inside – you can get a maximum of about 10 people in them. Most do not allow non-taxi drivers in, but one or two do, and they serve the best bacon sandwiches and mugs of tea. The perfect English breakfast.

Anya Hindmarch

There’s one opposite the Albert Hall where if you’re very nice to them, they might let you in, or there’s one near my bespoke store in Pont Street. You can queue up and get a sandwich and a cup of tea to take away or, if it’s nice weather, you can sit in Cadogan Place Gardens just behind the shelter. It’s a lovely London experience.

After breakfast I’d take a stroll along the South Bank where there’s always something going on; jugglers or some sort of naughtiness. I’m also rather fascinated by the Festival of Britain, which was held here in the summer of 1951, and all the modernist buildings created for it – I’m a bit of an architecture fanatic and they’re always fun to go and check out.

From the South Bank, I’d then follow the river east towards the Design Museum at Shad Thames. It’s a gem of a museum and obviously I love it because it includes fashion, but also because it’s full of very modern, contemporary industrial design. I find it very inspiring. Later in the day I’d also go and check out the building that the Design Museum will move into in 2014 – the old Commonwealth Institute in Kensington. I went in there recently and it’s an amazing building; worth trying to see before it’s remodelled by the architect John Pawson.

I would then probably head into St James’s to see a bit of old London. I’m fascinated by all those little squares, like Pickering Place behind the wine merchants Berry Brothers and Rudd. It’s where the last duel was fought in London. I find all of clubland fascinating, largely because you’re not allowed into any of those old clubs.

From there I’d walk up to the Royal Academy. I’m a trustee and it’s a very special place because it’s for everyone from your granny to cutting edge artists. The recent Hockney exhibition was amazing. My favourite room – which you have to rather beg to get into – is the Life Drawing Room in the adjacent art school. The teaching takes place in the most extraordinary Victorian buildings, and as a member of the public you can book drawing classes there.

For lunch, I’d love to go to Sweetings in the City. Over time you get to know “your man” and they all have their own specific bar where you are sent to sit. It’s lovely, always packed and very old-fashioned – “would the lady like a little smoked salmon?”

In the afternoon I’d pop into Lassco’s in Brunswick House in Vauxhall. It’s my favourite salvage yard and housed in this old Georgian place that is falling down, but stuffed full of architectural mad things. While in the neighbourhood, I’d also go to the amazing little Bonnington Café, which does the best coffee. It’s in a square called Vauxhall Grove that was bombed during the war and a whole load of sitting tenants took it over.

Wilton’s music hall, close to Tower Hill©James Perry

Wilton’s music hall, close to Tower Hill

In the evening, I’d go over to Wilton’s in the East End for some offbeat cabaret or a talk. It’s the oldest music hall in the world, and always very special. It’s a lovely old place that’s tumbling down and you can get them to give you a tour as they’re very keen to get people involved in it. It has an amazing history.

Finally, I’d head to Claridges. It is an exciting hotel and the fumoir – sadly no longer for smoking – is a nice place to meet for a grown-up drink. In the fumoir, I always think you want to be hidden in the corner by the bar. It feels quite secretive – although sadly my life’s normally not like that!

Anya Hindmarch designs handbags and shoes; last month she was named Veuve Cliquot Businesswoman of the Year;


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