Instagram / @tchalamet
Next month sees the centre of Oxford grind to a halt so we can all ogle… I mean… stand aside so Timothée Chalamet can grace the cobbles in peace. He’s in Oxford to film the Willy Wonka prequel, a Netflix stab at telling the story before the chocolate factory chapter. He really will be stopping traffic as the city’s iconic Broad Street and New College Lane will be closed over Feb 16-17 for the shoot.
Obvs we’re tipping you off so you can steer clear of the whole undignified pageant, and could only imagine that the real honeypot to avoid would be the junction of Broad Street and Parks Road outside the King’s Arms… possibly the best vantage point, assuming that the Sheldonian and Bodleian must surely be the desired backdrop. #avoidingliketheplague…
Oxford has always loved the camera, with Tolkein, Mamma Mia! and The Mummy all shooting in recent years and back in the 90s, one of the many larks among audacious Oxford students bored with pelting flour at each other was trying to get in the background of an episode of Morse.
Of course us urbane Muddy readers are above all that, so in the name of avoiding the ghastly business of celeb spotting, here’s the guide of where else NOT to go, just so you know…
Soho Farmhouse, where Megan had her hen do, hardly needs introduction, and while the management is far too discreet to tip off the media, among the list of previous members and guests have been Eddie Redmayne, the Clooneys, Daisy Lowe, Cara Delevingne and, God forbid you get it on a really slow day, the Camerons and the stars of Made in Chelsea.
If it’s a real farmhouse you’re after, look no further than Oxon’s own Blue Tin Produce farmshop near Henley, which also boasts actual mud, farm animals and a clutch of awards that’s earning it quite a rep. Fresh from reaching the finals of the BBC Food & Farming Awards, featuring in The Times, and appearing on Escape to the Country it had a visit from Strictly’s Graziano – surely the first of many celebs after all that kudos? Watch this space… (Naturally, we got there first – here it is in our local farmshops round up).
Just down the road from Blue Tin, another rustic venture is causing quite a stir thanks to its stellar credentials and wholesome fayre. Tom Hanks, Jeremy Irons and Helena Bonham Carter have all been spotted perching on the straw bales at Nettlebed’s The Cheese Shed to sample its next-level toasties and coffee. OK, so owner Rose Grimond has a lineage that links her to politics, Hollywood and James Bond, but we reckon they come for the cheese.
When not eating and drinking, celebs love nothing more than a shop and are as partial to a bargain as the rest of us, which is why Bicester Village is a hotspot for the likes of Rita Ora, Will Young and even Kate Middleton, who once had a well photographed spree there. (Want to make like Kate? Win your own VIP day at the Oxon shopping destination here, worth a whopping £1,000!).
Jamiroquai singer Jay Kay has lived near Wycombe for years and is constantly locked in battle with the council as he tries to extend his mansion. And nearby are Chris Evans and Lorraine Kelly, if that’s not scraping the barrel. Marlow is the big draw in the area for clebby-types, namely at Tom Kerridge’s Hand & Flowers or The Ivy, if that’s not too much of a cliche.
Of course you can’t move for A, B and C Listers around Chipping Norton, what with Clarkson and Caleb up to their larks, Alex James and posse around Kingham and the Beckhams ensconced in Great Tew. If you’re in that neck of the woods, it’s the Wild Rabbit and Quince & Clover you’ll want to steer clear of.
If it’s Marry Berry who floats your boat you may find yourself starstruck in Henley, meanwhile at the other end of the spectrum, Russell Brand has also moved in close to the riverside town. He’s made his mark by buying a local pub (The Crown Inn at Pishill) and hosting ‘comedy, breath work and meditation’ events alongside the Thames… seriously. Only in Oxfordshire….
Spotted a celeb in our ‘hood? Tell us about it below (so we know where else to avoid, natch…)