Archive | My Favourite Places RSS feed for this section

MY FAVOURITE PLACES: Rachel Bavidge, actress

11 Oct

Rachel Bavidge’s acting career began at Oxford’s Pegasus Theatre when she joined Oxford Youth Theatre in the Nineties. Now a successful actress, she has most recently appeared in ‘Eastenders’, ‘The Shadow Line’ and ‘Law & Order’.  This Saturday evening (13 Oct 2012) Rachel will be joining Radiohead’s Philip Selway and Eastenders director Steve Finn for a reading of Noel Coward’s ‘Private Lives’ at Pegasus.

The Ashmolean Museum

The Alfred jewel

I’ve always loved this place and got my first real job after college working here in the coin department.  My favourite object is ‘The Alfred Jewel’ which is a beautiful piece of Anglo-Saxon art.  No-one is certain what it’s for, but it’s inscribed with ‘Alfred ordered me to be made’ and was probably made on the orders of King Alfred the Great.
The Jericho Tavern, Jericho, central Oxford

I spent most of the Nineties hanging round here watching bands play, including my then boyfriend, a bass player in ‘The Bigger The God’ who played lots of gigs round Oxford. The bands around were ones like Ride, Supergrass, The Candyskins and Radiohead (On a Friday) and it was an amazing time for live music.
Oxford Playhouse , Beaumont St, central Oxford

I was a member of the Youth Theatre here and defected from the Ashmolean across the road to get a job as the Community Education worker.  It was always insanely busy but I loved going out and meeting new people and giving those who wouldn’t normally go to the theatre a taste of it.

Cowley Road
, Oxford

I spent many happy hours getting drunk in pubs along this road and having late night takeaways after dancing at the Zodiac, which is now The O2. The area has changed over the years but not too much, and it’s still a great place to hangout. Aziz Restaurant was a favourite and I think I was one of the few people to eat one of their meals on stage at Pegasus.  In the play I was in, called Steaming, the characters eat a hot curry, and the restaurant delivered this to us every night!  Cafe Coco and Uhuru Whole Foods were also big favourites.

Holy Trinity Church, Headington Quarry

I used to live around the corner from this church where CS Lewis is buried, and when I was having a bad time with life (as all teenagers do) I used to come and sit by his grave for some time out.  I used to love the Narnia books as a child, but also I was brought up in a big catholic family where faith and the struggle with it, was central to our home life. CS Lewis’s own story had certain resonances that made me feel a connection.


My Favourite Places: Adam Simmonds

7 Aug

Adam Simmonds is the head chef at Danesfield House, Marlow. His eponymous restaurant within the hotel has been awarded a Michelin star for the second year running. 

The Spade Oak, Bourne End
Being a chef is stressful but at the moment there’s more pressure than usual because we’re working so hard at retaining the Michelin star for 2012. So when I do have time off, I like to chill out and enjoy myself. It’s fun eating at other people’s restaurants, but I go for pleasure, not to critique or complain. I always enjoy coming for dinner at the Spade Oak, as it’s very relaxed and the steak is really good.

Taplow Board & Ski, Maidenhead

I’ve been wakeboarding here for two years now and I love it. It’s brilliant for releasing tension. Wakeboarding is my summer version of snowboarding, though I haven’t been as much as I’d like this year because of the awful weather. I go on my own but I’m very sociable – honestly, I can talk to a table leg – so I usually meet people over the pool table afterwards.

Gatsby & Daisy boutique, Marlow

I’ve been head chef at Danesfield House for six years now and work insane hours so I tend to do most of my shopping locally in Marlow. I’m into my fashion but don’t like to follow the crowd and Gatsby & Daisy boutique in Marlow is brilliant for finding something a bit more individual. The guy who owns it is really knowledgeable about fashion and he’s a laugh too.

The White Oak, Cookham

This is a regular haunt of mine. I often come for Sunday lunch with my sister and nephew, or for a drink witha dolly bird – can I say that?! There’s a nice garden out the back and a relaxed vibe. 


When I get time off, I love going to Shoreditch in London. My family came from the area so I feel a connection with it. I love the whole vibe – I can’t stand airs and graces but there’s no pomposity here.  It’s very raw and young. I’m 41 now, but in London I can behave like a child and I don’t think I’ll ever grow out of that.

Patricia Hodge: My Favourite Places

10 Jul

Patricia Hodge is one of the UK’s best known actresses. Known most recently for her role as the eccentric mother in the BBC’s hit sitcom Miranda, she’s currently starring the national tour of the farce Dandy Dick (above).The play moves to the Aylesbury Waterside from 17-21 July.

Wendover Woods

I don’t tour very much so I don’t spend much time traveling around counties, but before I turned to acting, I was a primary school teacher and I spent a very happy year living in a farm cottage between Wendover and Chesham. Wendover Woods are  just lovely, really peaceful with or without kids.

The Bell at Aston Clinton

I’ve lived in West London for years now, but I remember in the early days before the food revolution in the UK, we would make the pilgrimage out of the city for a decent Sunday lunch and we’d always head to The Bell at Aston Clinton. It sounds like a lot of effort but it was always worth it.

The Bell, London Road, Aston Clinton, Aylesbury, HP22 5HP. Tel: 01296 632777


Coming from rural Lincolnshire I remember first setting eyes on Buckinghamshire and thinking it the most beautiful county I’d ever seen. It always seems so civilised to me, with all the lovely country pubs and architecture. I used to visit a friend who had a house in Quainton and I still love the village – so pretty and quaint with that lovely windmill.

Bradenham Beech Woods

My aunt and uncle lived in Bradenham (my uncle was in the RAF nearby) and we visited them regularly when I was a child. We would walk and play in these woods. They really are incredibly beautiful.  

Bekonscot Model Village

This is one of those places that everyone comes to with kids. I definitely remember coming here when I was young, and of course, I ended up taking my own children too. It’s a perfect morning’s entertainment for little ones.

Bekonscot Model Village, Warwick Road, Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, HP9 2PL. Tel: 01494 672919

My Favourite Places: Araminta Wraith, 24, dancer, English National Ballet

25 Jun

Araminta Wraith (pictured third left), dancing with the ENB and Flawless in the current tour of  ‘Against Time’, at The Aylebury Waterside 30 June-1 July.


The Gatsby, Berkhamsted

I’m from Berkhamsted originally and my parents still live here, so I come back quite a bit. I took my boyfriend for a posh dinner here last time we visited, and it was really lovely. It sits below The Rex Cinema, one of the most beautiful art deco cinema houses in the country, so it’s great to have a meal or even just a cocktail with the pianist playing in the background, and then go and watch a movie.
97 High St, Berkhamsted HP4 2DG. Tel: 01442 870403.

Jamie’s Italian, George St Oxford

When we tour in Oxford, we often go to Jamie’s Italian after the show, partly because it’s just down the road so very convenient, but also because they’re so lovely in there, staying open late for us. The pasta is delicious – I really enjoy my food and the idea that ballet dancers don’t eat isn’t true. We wouldn’t be able to dance for hours on stage if we didn’t eat properly, but we definitely eat healthily.
Jamie’s Italian, Oxford 24-26 George Street, Oxford, OX1 2AE view map Tel: 01865 838383.

Amersham Old High St

This is such a beautiful bit of the town, and there’s a run of gorgeous fashion and interiors boutiques down Amersham Old High St. I don’t need much excuse to shop!

The Alford Arms, Frithsden

This gastropub is amazing, and I always come here with my parents – it’s just won Hertfordshire Dining Pub of the Year for the seventh time so it’s renowned in the area. It’s a pretty Victorian pub in a lovely rural location right on the village green, and near the Ashridge Estate [see below]. I always feel like I’m getting a good break from London when I come here; it’s so relaxed and homely. I have the Sunday roast every time – I can’t help myself.
The Alford Arms, Frithsden, Nr. Hemel Hempstead, HP1 3DD. Tel 01442 86 44 80.

Ashridge Estate (National Trust)

This is the closest National Trust place to where my parents live and I love going walking in the woods here. The estate runs across the borders of Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire, along the main ridge of the Chiltern Hills so luckily there’s plenty of it.

%d bloggers like this: