James Purefoy’s London

Following roles including Mark Antony in the BBC TV series Rome, the British actor is currently playing a professor-turned-serial-killer in The Following on Sky Atlantic

Image: Richard Grassie

My daughter Rose is 16 months old, so Saturday begins anywhere between 5am and 7.30am. I’ll give her scrambled eggs and we’ll head to Ravenscourt Park and Fait Maison, where I’ll have the first of many coffees of the day. Rose and I will then have a canter around the park.

We’ll wander up to the Askew Road, which has amazing independent shops – corporate chains and supermarkets bring me out in hives. The Ginger Pig is a very good butcher; I don’t need to know the name of the beast, but it has to be organic and free range. I’ll buy meat for Sunday lunch and pork sausages. I might also go to Laveli Bakery to pick up some chocolate croissants for my son Joe, 16.

I’ll mooch past the furniture shop Max, which sells great 1950s and 1960s pieces, Askewine – the guys there have extraordinary knowledge – and the clothing store Long Live Vintage, whose collection of Barbours alone makes a visit worthwhile. Back home, the sausages go on a low heat for about 40 minutes while we go back to bed.

Once the family has all had breakfast, we’ll head up to Chiswick High Road. Just off it is Turnham Green Terrace, which has stores such as Macken Brothers butchers, Snap Dragon, an independent toyshop, and Mortimer & Bennett, a fine delicatessen. Its Parma ham is cut wonderfully thinly, while its buffalo mozzarella is the kind that’s slightly tough on the outside but, when you break into it, oozes onto the plate. Darren, who runs the veg stall on the corner of Windmill Road, has excellent fresh veg – from firm chard to a vast array of herbs and giant avocados.

Back on the High Road, we’ll stop by Fosters’, a great secondhand bookstore that looks like it escaped from The Old Curiosity Shop, or The Old Cinema, a huge antiques store. I’m quite eclectic in my tastes, but I like 1960s and 1970s furniture. Time for another coffee: I might go to New-York-in-feel Artisan on Goldhawk Road, or Hummingbird Café off Uxbridge Road, which is more LA.


Lunch is at The Anglesea Arms, an old favourite; it does good seasonal dishes, such as broccoli fusilli. I’ll have a pint of bitter – something I miss in New York, where I spend half my time.

Afterwards, we might see a movie at an independent cinema; I’m not a fan of multiplexes. I like the Notting Hill Coronet for commercial fare or the Electric on Portobello Road. If the children have behaved well, then we’ll go back to Turnham Green Terrace to Foubert’s, an Italian gelato place.

In the evening, there are two theatres near me. The Bush is remarkable: the quality of writing and of development is always striking. The Lyric Hammersmith is also really lovely. Or we might go to Bush Hall, the music venue on Uxbridge Road. The Who used to rehearse there in the 1960s and it’s still thriving.

Sunday mornings are lazy: more sausages, coffee, mooching round the house, reading newspapers and listening to Radio 4 – including Desert Island Discs.

I’ll cook lunch, either a porchetta – a big chunk of pork with rosemary, fennel seeds and fresh herbs inside it – or Alastair Little’s roast chicken with lemon and 40 cloves of garlic. Afterwards, we’ll need a walk, so we’ll go to Chiswick House, designed by the 3rd Earl of Burlington; it has very good art and the gardens and lake are beautiful.


On Sunday evening, I’ll watch television and laugh at my friends in bonnets and breeches in some British costume drama.