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Jan
29

Celebrity Blogger: Guess Where I’ll be In April???

Prince William and Kate Middleton

Prince William and Kate Middleton

Don’t try to stop me. I know it’s still January. I’m booking now. BTS Travel will guarantee that no one and I mean no one will take my aisle seat on the direct flight to London on April 21st. The wedding is the 29th. Which will give me lots of time to get over my jetlag. I want to be wide, wide awake, I want to be absolutely able to stake my seat out by the front doors of the Abbey, as close as security will allow me to get. I wonder if Elton John will sing?

Kate Middleton and Price William

Kate Middleton and Price William

Oh, I can’t miss the wedding, I can’t. Celebs may come and go, but history is history. I remember where I was when Lady Diana married Charles, I remember sitting at a friend’s house and watching the entire thing unfold. We all searched for clues whether they were really happy or not, whether Diana was truly in love with him. Sorry, but we wondered how she could be. She reminded us all of Mona Lisa, that half-smile, those eyes bowed, like she was scared that if she looked straight into the camera, her truth would be revealed. And it was, in a way.

I remember exactly where I was when I heard she died. The long boardwalk in a coastal town in Italy, walking. I heard snippets of it, couldn’t believe it. This was before CNN hit Europe. These were the times when people flocked to the bar to listen to the radio and get their news and then, if it was particularly bad, where they would drink with friends. When she died, it was like time stopped. I don’t know why, but that’s the way it was. And now, to see her eldest son who has grown into a responsible and kind person, marry a common middle-class woman whom he calls his “best friend”, a woman who appears confident and sure, a woman who clearly is his equal, a woman he treats as an equal, it seems like a first.

And then there’s the walking tour. Yes, for a small fee, of 15 pounds or $24 you can follow in the happy couple’s footsteps. Those who prefer to be driven can pay 75 pounds ($120) for a chauffeur-driven version of the tour.

Put on by a company called Celebrity Planet, the two-hour tour through a wealthy swath of London charts the highs and lows of the royal romance as reported in the British rags. Sorry, but I love those rags. Let’s be honest for a second, okay? Most of the time the celebs deny everything that’s put in print about them BUT doesn’t it usually turn out to be dead-on? One of the first stops is a branch of Jigsaw, the clothing chain where Middleton was working as a part-time accessories buyer in 2007 when William got cold feet and broke off their relationship.

Mahiki Club London

Mahiki Club London

More insights are on hand down the road outside Mahiki, a nightclub favored by the young and wealthy, and by paparazzi, and where tabloids reported Prince William racked up a bar bill of 11,000 pounds in a week after the break-up.

But better days are ahead. Next stop: St James’s Palace in London where Prince William and Kate Middleton announced their engagement, Friday, Jan. 14, 2011.

The Kate and William walk stops at London landmarks like St. James’s Palace — the residence of Princess William and Harry — and Westminster Abbey, where the prince and Middleton will be married by the Archbishop of Canterbury in front of more than 2,000 guests.

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey

There are also lesser-known spots like jeweler Garrard, where William’s father, Prince Charles, bought a diamond and sapphire engagement ring for his intended, Lady Diana Spencer. The ring passed to Diana’s children after her death in a car accident in 1997, and William gave it to Kate when they became engaged.

There’s also the building that housed the office of Kate’s great great-grandfather, Richard Noel Middleton, a wealthy industrialist with the foresight to set up a trust fund for his descendants’ education. That allowed Kate to go to 30,000-pound-a-year ($47,000-a-year) Marlborough College, one of Britain’s most elite schools.

And then of course, there are the other six days. And let me tell you London is on fire at the moment. It’s positively the place to be and in the spring, it’s beautiful. The sun shines, the Thames actually looks a pale shade of thick green rather than dark brown.

On days like this there are two places to be, and they both involve drinking and eating. Gastropubs are the new thing in London. And York &Albany is the place to be. Located in a former coach house on the tip of a park, if the sun is out, then there’s no better place to eat. And with Chef Gordon Ramsay at the stove, you’re in for a sophisticated and perhaps even entertaining meal. This also happens to be a hotel with absolutely fantastic boutique suites. Too far from the royal wedding for me though, so I’m just going to eat and run.

If you’re into art, look no further. London offers everything from the Tate Modern to the slightly stuffy though an absolute must British Museum. But if you want something a little more unusual take a look at graffiti. Take the Banksy tour of London, arguably one of the world’s most highly political graffiti artists.

And NEVER EVER forget the TOWER! Where all those poor wives like Ann Boleyn had their bejeweled necks chopped off when their husband no longer like them. The halls are dank enough and creepy enough to make you feel their fear. And the Crown Jewels are absolutely spectacular.

And for dinner, party with celebs. Yep, there are going to be lots there, especially when I’m going. Here is a list of restaurants I researched and know for a fact are the hippest eateries in London. And remember, London is small, so the chances of running into say Kate Middleton, are huge. And these are not your parent’s London restaurants, these are the newest, hottest spots with cutting-edge chefs, clean, sleek interiors and late-late night people watching.

Bombay Brasserie
(Indian)

Sir Anthony Hopkins, Will Smith, Prince Charles, Tom Cruise, Mick Jagger, Nicole Kidman, Goldie Hawn, Tom Hanks, Bruce Springsteen, Mel Gibson, Danny DeVito and Sir Elton John are just some of the famous faces that have become fans of Bombay Brasserie over the years.

140 Courtfield Close, Courtfield Road,
London,
SW7 4QH

Cecconis

Madonna has been seen at Cecconis and many a glitzy celeb bash is held here too.

5a Burlington Gardens,
Mayfair,
London,
W1S 3EP

Among many other A-Listers director Tim Burton and his wife, actress Helena Bonham Carter, were seen here.

The Ivy

264 Brompton Road,
Chelsea,
London,
SW3 2AS

The Ivy is probably the most famous venue in London for celebrity clientele.

1-5 West Street,
London,
WC2H 9NQ

Clients at Julie’s Restaurant and Bar include Gwyneth Paltrow, Jeremy Paxman, Joseph Fiennes, Morrissey and Geri Halliwell – not all at the same table obviously.

135 Portland Road,
Notting Hill,
London,
W11 4LW

Lemonia

Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow often visit this desirable Greek restaurant in fashionable Primrose Hill.

89 Regents Park Road,
London,
NW1 8UY

Locanda Locatelli

Brad Pitt and his ex-colleague Guy Ritchie have been seen dining here together, as well as celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.

8 Seymour Street,
Marylebone,
London,
W1H 7JZ

Quaglino’s

This stylish cocktail bar and restaurant has seen many a celeb make the most of its glamorous location.

16 Bury Street,
St James’s,
London,
SW1Y 6AL

RokaÂľJapanese

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie rolled into Roka recently, as well as J-Lo.

37 Charlotte Street,
London,
W1T 1RR

Trishna London

Trishna London is the sister restaurant of the extremely successful Trishna Mumbai and offers a menu of speciality Indian seafood dishes created by top chef Ravi Deulkar. Expect London’s elite to pour in.

15-17 Blandford Street,
London,
W1U 3DG

Zafferano

(Italian)

Madonna has also been seen dining at Zafferano.

15 Lowndes Street,
Knightsbridge,
London,
SW1X 9EY

ZUMA

Beyonce and Jay-Z have dined here. Other celebrity customers include the Beckhams and Kimberley Walsh from Girls Aloud.

5 Raphael Street,
Knightsbridge,
London,
SW7 1DL

And as for hotels, book now! This is no laughing matter, the entire city will be packed to the hilt and you mustn’t miss out. Okay, now on average, the best hotels in this fantastically cool city go for about $300 a night, which seriously cuts down on the amount of Will & Kate memorabilia you can buy so consider these glorious options:

B&B Belgravia has great rooms in one of the most stunning neighborhoods in all of London from about $130 a night. There’s the Bagliano Hotel in Chelsea (Yes Gwyneth’s stomping ground) from $220 a night. And for those of you who want to save more by eating out less, there’s Base2Stay in Kensington for around $110 per night.

And if you’re still up¾which you shouldn’t be because days are too great in London to waste with sleep¾clubs like Bungalow 8, Annabel’s, the already mentioned Mahiki, Boujis and Automat, where Emma Watson had her 18th birthday bash. You may want to ask your hotel concierge what the door policy is to save for the embarrassing turnaway. And remember to book with BTS Travel and write in and let us know how your trip went. Good or bad, we want to hear.

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