They may make for strange bedfellows, but Absolutely Fabulous star Joanna Lumley and celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, along with iconic model Twiggy and others, are linking elbows to salute a favorite place of theirs: London – all in a great new effort to welcome tourists to the British capital.
The promotional campaign, unveiled by London + Partners on VisitLondon.com early Thursday, is part of a concerted effort to keep London in the minds of travelers after the past two banner years brought the Summer Olympics, the Queen’s Jubilee Fest and the birth of Prince George.
Lumley, who was actually born in India, first arrived during the Swingin’ ’60s. Says the actress: “I’ve lived in London for certainly 45 years and every single day, I see another road or alley, or close or garden that I have never seen before.”
Lumley can also be seen with Leonardo DiCaprio in the current The Wolf of Wall Street. The two even share a comical moment in a scene set in a London park, where each thinks the other is hitting on him and her.
In real life, Lumley says: “Holland Park is one of the best-kept secrets in London. It has duck ponds and peacocks, which roost in the trees. There are tulips in springtime and camellias coming out before the snow has disappeared. It’s a fantastic place.”
Fans of Ab Fab – which is soon to be a movie, The Wrap recently reported – will also remember that Lumley’s on-screen sidekick, Jennifer Saunders (as Edina Monsoon to Lumley’s Patsy Stone), lives adjacent to Holland Park.
As for Ramsey, not surprisingly, he touts London for its often-maligned cuisine.
Besides raving about the curries to be gotten on the city’s Brick Lane, he says, “Shall I let you in to the ultimate London secret? The best place for the ultimate fry-up is the 24 hour café on Fulham Road called Vingt-Quatre – to me this is to die for.”
Adds the opinionated master chef: “There is nowhere better anywhere in the world to eat than in London.”