Nicola Benedetti - My Perfect Day In London

The classical musician tells us her favourite things to do in the capital

Born to an Italian father and a Scottish mother, London-based classical musician Nicola has gained a reputation as one of the world’s leading violinists, having started to learn at the age of four. Performing regularly around the world, she is at the Royal Albert Hall on 27 September.

What would be your perfect start to your day?
Ideally, I’d wake up hungry and ready for breakfast. Waking up full from a late dinner the night before is never a good feeling, but this can often be the case after concerts.

Where do you like to shop?
I don’t go shopping much. I never have enough time, and get stressed out by the amount of choice out there. If I’m with my mum, I’m more productive. I do love Pinko and Joseph, and have recently taken to Portobello Road.

Portobello Road Market, London, UK

How would you spend the morning?
No two days are alike. I could be travelling, or rehearsing, or perhaps just practising on my violin. Ideally, I would spend at least some of the morning doing something musical.

Where wouldyou choose togo for lunch?
I tend to stay quite local. The High Road Brasserie in Chiswick is a wonderful place – relaxed yet smart.

You’re from an Italian background – what Italian restaurants do you love to visit?
Montpeliano in Knightsbridge has a wonderful, old Italian vibe to it. It is very dignified with excellent food and wine. And they don’t look at you strangely if you ask for a side of spaghetti with olive oil and garlic.

What places in the capital inspire you?
The schools, colleges and concert halls that teach music. I’m inspired by organisations that enrich young lives through music.

What landmarks would you go to see?
I live in west London. A close-by treasure that I love is Kew Gardens. It is vast, stunningly beautiful and so peaceful. It is quite expensive to visit the gardens, but I think it is worth every penny.

Royal Botanic Gardens, London, UK

What are your favourite parts in London?
I adore the South Bank, especially in the evening. The contrast between Westminster, the London Eye and the practical structures of the Southbank Centre make for invigorating views. I love tiny streets off the beaten track, and Covent Garden too.

South Bank at night, London, UK

You’ve got a tour coming up – where are you playing?
My Italy and the Four Seasons Tour visits 11 venues in Scotland, England and Ireland in September. We perform at the Royal Albert Hall in London [on 27 September], and it includes Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and music by Tchaikovsky and Mark-Anthony Turnage.

Where do you especially love to perform?
The Barbican Centre and the Southbank Centre hold special memories, but Wigmore Hall has one of London’s best acoustics.

What would be your ideal entertainment?
I mainly listen to classical and jazz music, so perhaps Ronnie Scott’s.

Ronnie Scott's, London, UK

Where would you spend the night?
There are so many first-class hotels; I would be happy to spend a night in any!