NFL Star Jay Ajayi's Perfect Day in London

American footballer Jay Ajayi is running back for the Miami Dolphins, and back in town playing the New York Jets at Wembley Stadium. What's his perfect day?

American footballer London-born Jay Ajayi is running back for the Miami Dolphins. He's back in the capital playing against the New York Jets in the NFL International Series at Wembley Stadium, on 4 October. 

Jay Ajayi, Miami Dolphins running back
Jay in full flow for the Miami Dolphins (©Peter McMahon/Miami Dolphins)

What time would you wake up, on a perfect day?

I would sleep in until 10 am before taking on the day.

What would you have for breakfast?

I’m a big breakfast guy – I would enjoy eggs, fruit (grapes and an orange), sausages, toast and maybe an English muffin. To top things off, I would add a cup or two of English breakfast tea – made with milk and honey.

What are your favourite London landmarks?

London is a beautiful city with so much to offer. I especially love Westminster and Oxford Circus. London Bridge and Elephant & Castle are also important to me because I frequented them growing up in the area.

V&A, London, UK
Dramatic sculptures fill all levels of the V&A (©Alan Williams Photography)

Which museums and galleries would you visit?

I love visiting The British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum. In 2000, my classmates and I went to see Walt Disney’s "Fantasia" at the BFI IMAX theatre, and it was incredible.

How about a place for lunch?

My favourite places to have lunch are small, local, hole-in-the-wall type of restaurants. I’m a big fan of Greek-style gyros [a dish made of meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie], especially with lamb, and the smaller restaurants in town allow you to really engage in the city’s rich culture.

Where in London feels like your sanctuary?

I grew up in Manor House in Hackney (East London) and still have a lot of family there. It is definitely a sanctuary for me and will always feel like home. When I was about four, my family moved out of London to Essex, so my home there will always have a special place in my heart, too.

Oxford Street, London, UK
Head to Oxford Street for endless shopping choices (©Marc-Andre LeTourneux/iStock)

Where would you go shopping?

Oxford Circus is definitely my favourite area for shopping. In April, my cousin and I went to Topshop, H&M, Zara and, of course, the Adidas store. The coolest thing I bought was actually a small Big Ben statue for my mother. She loved it because it reminds her of home while she’s in the States.

What's your favourite green space?

Aside from the Emirates Stadium, which is Arsenal’s home ground, I absolutely love Hyde Park. It’s one of the largest parks in London and is a really relaxing place to walk around to take in the lovely scenery.

How do you prefer to travel around London?

I think London has a great public transport system and I’ve used the Tube many times, but I like to walk around the city whenever possible to take it all in. You get to see much more that way.

Jay Ajayi
Jay Ajayi returns to his home town, London (©Kevin A. Koski/NFLPA)

Would you do anything extravagant?

On my perfect day in London, I would go back to the Emirates Stadium and catch an Arsenal match. I can only imagine what the environment is like in the stadium for a home game – it must be amazing.

Where would you stop for tea, and who would you take?

I would want to sit down for tea in a nice café with my childhood hero, football legend Thierry Henry, and my favourite actor, Idris Elba – a fellow Hackney native. That would be a dream come true!

Where is your favourite place in London for dinner?

It’s hard to pick just one place, but an evening at a nice steakhouse with the pop singer Rita Ora would be lovely.

Where would you love to spend the night?

During my most recent trip in the spring, we stayed at The Landmark in Marylebone and it was an incredible property. I’d love to stay there again in the future.

Miami Dolphins vs New York Jets is on 4 October, 2.30pm, at Wembley Stadium. Find out more about NFL games in the UK here

Miami Dolphins NFL, US
See Miami Dolphins at London's Wembley Stadium ©Kevin A. Koski/NFLPA)