John Simpson CBE, the renowned world affairs editor, on what he loves about Chelsea.


Words by Cally Squires


What is your favourite … place to eat?

Ziani, Radnor Walk, has been a firm favourite over many years, Frantoio at World’s End for the atmosphere and the warm and welcoming staff, Café Colbert for rescuing us from the awful, indifferent place that was there before and now Vardo on Duke of York Square for new 21st-century eating fun.


What is your favourite … place to drink?

Mostly friends’ houses dotted all along the Embankment and old Chelsea.

When out for a drink, Chelsea Arts Club is still number one. The garden (pictured below) and bar are the depository of so many of my best memories and big moments.

The Crown pub in Dovehouse Street, where Chelsea characters like Eduardo Paolozzi used to hang out.

The Builders Arms behind Waitrose, especially on a Sunday for a Martini or a Bloody Mary.



The National Army Museum shop for unusual gifts, especially for children and teens; Peter Jones for everything; Massimo Dutti for a bit of style.


Gallery or theatre? 

I loved going to the Chelsea Cinema – can’t wait for it to reappear.



Lawrence of Arabia.



Tobias Smollett’s The Expedition of Humphry Clinker. He lived in Lawrence Street in Chelsea. Also George Eliot’s Silas Marner.



Survival International, but it’s a difficult choice as there are many.



The Bellingcat Podcast for its fearless journalistic investigation.


Cream guest to have on your podcast?

Alexandria OcasioCortez. I’d like to talk to her about how America’s world standing can be revived.

Also Vladimir Putin: I’d like to ask him again why people he falls out with end up dead.

Words of wisdom?

“I have seen flowers come in stony places, / And kind things done by men with ugly faces, / And the gold cup won by the worst horse at the races, / So I trust, too.” John Masefield