Answer to “Where am I?”: Varun is on Jermyn Street in the City of Westminster, London!
Occasionally, I spend a week at home. This proves to be quite stressful for friends, family and even the Pooch. My inability to successfully use a toaster, washing machine or dishwasher, pick up wet towels off the bathroom floor or make my own bed have created “issues”. When I am on the road staying at lovely hotels & resorts I have no such worries as there is housekeeping … at home, it’s just real life.
I was born and brought up in a suburb of London. As a teen I used to travel into the city to take in the amazing sights, scenes and smells. It was only when I moved into Pimlico (home to the Tate Gallery) did I actually discover Jermyn Street.
As a cub news reporter for a national radio station, the way I dressed never seemed an issue. When I got into television, all that changed. It was suggested that I walked down Jermyn Street to “get some ideas”. In the space of one Saturday morning, I had my first open razor wetshave (Geo F Trumper), ordered my first tailor-made shirt (Herbie Frogg), ate oysters & drank champagne (Wiltons), and bought a very expensive pair of shoes (John Lobb) and my first Italian non-school-uniform suit (Simpsons). It was a costly but highly satisfying few hours.
When a few years later I took up smoking cigars and discovered Davidoff, Jermyn Street became my favourite and most visited street in the world.
The street itself takes its name from Henry Jermyn, the 1st Earl of St. Albans. He developed the whole area (which included Pall Mall, Haymarket & St James’s Street and Square) in 1664 and Jermyn Street was originally made up of “taverns, lodging-houses, hotels and private residences”.
It was only in the mid-19th century that it started taking shape as centre for men’s high-fashion in London.
Jermyn Street is located one road south of Piccadilly. It “shares” buildings like Fortnum & Mason, St. James’s Church and the book-mega-shop Waterstone’s (formerly Simpsons). It’s home to the nightclub Tramp (frequented by The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Frank Sinatra, Prince and Lindsay Lohan), Paxton & Whitfield (oldest cheese shop in England), shirtmaker to the stars – Turnbull & Asser and the list goes on …
So do yourself a favour- next time you are in my part of the world, head down to Jermyn Street for not only a historical journey through London but also a wonderful and unique shopping experience.
Varun Sharma is the host of Inside Luxury Travel – a television show that focuses on high-end travel. The show airs in over 160 countries, in 18 languages and is beamed into 390 million homes worldwide. He has now stayed in over 500 luxury hotels & resorts … and has in the past year flown in a fighter jet, gone diving – without a cage – in Tiger Shark infested-waters, had dinner with a dingo and has cooked with over 50 Michelin-starred chefs! He likes nothing better than playing a round of golf with his pooch Gemima by his side, cigar in mouth and flask of single malt Scottish whisky to hand!