The leafy streets here belie the central location, moments from Regent’s Park and a short stroll from the West End. Though it is known for its large villas and cosmopolitan high street of boutiques, delis and designer stores, the area is perhaps most famous for being home to Lord’s Cricket Ground and that very familiar zebra crossing.
Photography by Emmanuelle Peri & Georgia Watson
Meet the Locals
My morning starts early with a swim in Parliament Hill Lido or the Ponds, followed by a walk with the dogs on Hampstead Heath. Then it is straight to the office in St. John’s Wood and a wonderful Freddo cappuccino at Panzer’s (introduced after many a trip to the Greek islands). I grew up toddling after my grandparents and parents as they shopped at Panzer’s. Every Sunday morning was spent playing in St. John’s Wood Church Ground and we would always stop for bagels with smoked salmon and cream cheese afterwards.
When I heard Panzer’s was in danger of being taken over by one of the large supermarket chains, I asked the owner if he might be interested in showing me the ropes and I soon became a deli owner and guardian of a much-treasured SJW institution. I’ve never looked back.
Between Panzer’s and its sister company All Greens, our business is virtually 24/7. From 6am to 10pm, messages are flying between the New Covent Garden, Spitalfields and Milan markets, as well as UK producers, about supply, quality and prices. In a given week the prices can change dramatically, so one needs to be constantly aware of market conditions and any weather fronts across Europe that could indicate issues hitting us days or weeks later.
In St. John’s Wood, for all things laundry, I go to Madame George’s on Circus Road – there is nowhere better for dry cleaning or an alteration. And in season, there is no better day out than watching a test match or T20 match at Lord’s Cricket Ground.
When the sun is shining, I grab picnic staples from the store and set off for Regent’s Park with a rug and bottle of something bubbly. My favourite spot is the ‘secret garden’ off the Inner Circle at St. John’s Lodge Gardens. One of my first dates was Parliament Hill Lido Panzer’s in Regent’s Park: we first went to see A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the wonderful Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre on a warm summer evening and then had a picnic in the park. It all went very well, until we attempted to leave the Rose Garden, only to find we had been locked in. It is lovely to have such memories on our doorstep to this day.
13-19 Circus Road, NW8 (020 7722 8162; panzers.co.uk)
Recommended: Local heroes
Venice London, W9
For Goldschmidt & Howland’s Ben Haftel, this pretty patisserie “offers a hub for locals and visitors to the area to eat and socialise. The staff are all extremely helpful and they create incredible cakes.” Situated just down the road from Lord’s Cricket Ground, you’ll find this insta-worthy coffee shop is as easy on the eyes as it is tempting to your sweet tooth. Think plush velvet seating, chic brass accents, and a whole wall of blooming roses. On offer is a seriously seductive selection of cakes, including those for special occasions.
14 Clifton Road, W9 (020 7121 0003; venicelondon.co.uk)
This is a destination establishment for those who appreciate the finest Italian gelato, with a wealth of refreshing flavours on offer, from Unico signatures including the cherry-rich Amarena, to Italian classics such as Tiramisu, and a refreshingly decent selection of vegan sorbets including Blood Orange. And not forgetting an accompanying coffee fix. Dean Whitley from Chancellors says Unico “definitely boasts the best ice cream and coffee on the High Street.” There’s really no excuse not to keep returning to try all the flavours.
138 St. John’s Wood High Street, NW8 (uk.unicogelato.com)
The Duke of York, NW8
Jennifer Wratten from Dexters recommends a visit to this much- loved and community-centred local pub, located on St Ann’s Terrace. “It’s a cosy, stylish pub in the heart of St. John’s Wood and a personal favourite of mine,” she says. “The atmosphere is always warm and inviting, the bar staff are friendly, and the food is delicious.” The historic watering hole has been serving locals since 1826, and acts as a reliable landmark. “It’s also a hotspot for fans after they’ve watched the cricket at Lord’s,” adds Jennifer.
2 St. Anne’s terrace, NW8 (020 7722 1933; thedukeofyork.com)
Take 3: Street hearts
The detached villas here will appeal to those looking for a home with history. And the location is equally desirable – perfectly placed for central St. John’s Wood’s amenities
Extravagant mansions are the order of the day on this prestigious street – it probably won’t come as a surprise to hear that it’s home to some of the Capital’s most expensive homes
Wide and tree-lined, this imposing boulevard is one of St. John’s Wood’s most desirable addresses; the stucco villas, characteristic of the area, are always in high demand.