I don’t know about you, but central London sometimes gets a bit too much for me. As I figured I couldn’t possibly be the only one I thought I would put together a bit of a mini-series showing you a few of my favourite shopping and foodie places – all in the close vicinity of Oxford Street – if you ever find yourself wanting to escape the crowds a little bit.
One of my absolute favourite places to hide away is the super cute St Christoher’s Place right off Bond Street. It took me years of visiting London before I ever discovered it – it’s so close to Oxford Street and Bond Street station yet the alleyway leading there is so tiny and very easy to miss! I wouldn’t want you to miss out on it as well though, which is why I thought I’d come here to shed a bit of light its way..!
You can get into St Christopher’s place either from the Wigmore Street side where you can find the entrance on the other side of the road from the pub Cock and Lion (tee-hee) – all you need to do is turn the corner from Costa Coffee, and voila, you’re there! The most common – and the more hidden – entrance though is from the Oxford Street side. Keep an eye out for a fancy clock with a violet arrow next to H&M which will point you towards the little alleyway that will lead you there. Sounds a bit like something from Harry Potter, right?!
St Christopher’s Place is perfect for a quiet (well, more quiet than Oxford Street anyway – it’s still London after all!) escape from the crowds or a nice lunch amidst all that crazy shopping. For food I would recommend Social Wine & Tapas and Made in Italy on James Street, or, for easy, cheap lunch, Pizza Express is always a good, cheap option right on the square. The latter also does gluten free pizza bases which is pretty important nowadays if you ask me! There are still plenty of restaurants here I would love to try but haven’t had a chance yet – such as Ristorante Olivelli for Italian cuisine and Sofra (picture above) with its Turkish menu and cosy, heated outdoor spaces.
After eating yourself full, you might notice that you don’t want to go back on Oxford Street after all, as the streets here are also full of little boutiques that I’m sure rival their highstreet counterparts, at least on quality, if not on price. You could shop for clothes and homeware in a Finnish design shop Marimekko, cosmetics from the French chain L’Occitane or Italian food products from Carluccio’s (where they also sell lovely pasta and other dishes for lunch/dinner!).
The perfect way to end the day here would be to visit the lovely Workshop Coffee for a slice of cake and big cup of warming tea or coffee – whichever you prefer! If you want something a bit stronger than a caffeinated drink though, you could head over to the Lamb & Flag, on the corner of St James and Barrett Streets, which is is a Georgian pub dating back to 1813. They serve traditional British pub food as well (it is owned by a big chain though, which is good to keep in mind!), so if you’re hungry again from all the shopping and walking around, this might be a cosy option to while away the evening!
Where’s your favourite place in central London that’s a bit less hectic? I’d love to hear all your tips!