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June 2021 / Area Guides / by Liz Skone James

Maida Vale & Little Venice

Quaint canal-side cottages, imposing white porticoed villas, flotillas of colourful houseboats and leafy avenues of red brick mansion flats – lucky residents here get the pick of some of the best properties in the Capital. Not to mention an enviably central yet famously peaceful position.

Photography by Emmanuelle Peri

Meet the locals: Reza Pakravan, Explorer and television producer

Bordered by Paddington, Edgware Road and Harrow Road, leafy Maida Vale is an oasis. It feels like a village in the middle of London. A peaceful place with a real sense of community – I’ve always loved living here, but started to appreciate the area more when I became a father as it is super child friendly. My day starts at 5:30am, when I go for my morning training at Paddington Rec. It offers an incredible running track and a lot of sports facilities – very unique in London. You have the entire gym outdoors. I have developed a habit of training there all year round. I can even train under the bandstand when it’s raining. At 6:45 I run to the lovely Gail’s and grab a fresh baguette and coffees to have with my wife and my little boy at home. When I am not on the road, I work from my home studio, which is located in my garden shed. My days are very hectic: a mixture of producing, editing and writing. During my 10am break, I take my boy to the local playground for a quick play. Our playground is absolutely incredible, probably one of the best in London and my son loves it. At lunchtime I might pop to one of my favourites, Thai Rice or Banana Tree, to grab a takeaway. Alternatively, my favourite pub, The Elgin serves awesome lunches. I try to schedule my meetings for the afternoon, so I can spend my morning on creative work. The area offers a myriad of independent shops and we normally try to buy our groceries from them. After work, I often pop to Raoul’s Deli or the lovely Provenance Village Butcher to grab something for dinner. I buy our vegetables from Clifton Greens and wine from The Winery. Sometimes, on my way back home, I stop by Elgin Blooms and buy a bouquet of flowers for my wonderful wife. If we want to treat ourselves, we book a table at our favourite Japanese restaurant Murasaki, followed by drinks at the lovely Prince Alfred pub.

Reza’s hit show, The World’s Most Dangerous Borders is now available on Amazon Prime

Take 3: Street hearts

Clifton Road
While Maida Vale might not have a high street, with its boutiques, independent stores and eateries, you’ll find everything you might need here

Blomfield Road
Perhaps the most desirable address in Little Venice, this is a picturesque spot on the northern banks of the Regent’s Canal

Randolph Crescent
Residents in the grand stucco houses on either side of this smart street have access to immaculately manicured private gardens

Say what?

Everybody who is anybody in the music industry has recorded at the BBC’s Maida Vale studios, but the venue was originally built as the Maida Vale Roller Skating Palace and Club. Europe’s largest indoor rollerskating rink, it even had an orchestra balcony. When the BBC took the building over in the 1930s, it became home to the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the World War II news operation.

Local Heroes: Maida Vale & Little Venice

Café Laville, W2
Locations don’t come much more idyllic than Café Laville’s. Sitting pretty on the picturesque  Regent’s Canal, it offers a view to die for – alongside its delectable food and drink offering. Little wonder it’s one of Amy Odell’s favourite eateries. The estate agent from Chancellors tells us: “It is a wonderful spot to watch the boats float by whilst you tuck into delicious rustic Italian cuisine. It really is a gem within the area and with floor-to-ceiling windows, which open up in the summer months, the views are some of the best around.

453 Edgware Road, W2 (020 7706 2620; cafelaville.co.uk)

Clifton Nurseries, W9
Marc Schneiderman from Arlington Residential tells us his local hero is “an oasis of calm.” The Capital’s oldest and arguably most beautiful garden centre, Clifton offers a wealth of indoor and outdoor foliage to peruse and purchase. At its heart is a fairy tale-like glasshouse filled with exotic flowers and house plants – we could lose hours here. Beyond the potted plants, the company also offers garden design and landscaping services, meaning you can have a slice of Clifton Nurseries magic in your own verdant plot. The dream!

5A Clifton Villas, W9 (020 7289 6851; clifton.co.uk) 

The Winery, W9
Choosing just one local hero is no easy task – especially in a neighbourhood so rich in pickings – especially the foodie ones. “The list is almost endless in Little Venice,” says James Westendarp from Chestertons. “Clifton Greens, La Piccola Deli, Raoul’s Deli, Provenance Village Butcher and The Hero of Maida to name a few… But David Motion at the The Winery has the most incredible selection of wines from small local producers and is always there to help with your choice, or else dazzle you with stories from when he worked in the music industry!”

4 Clifton Road, W9 (020 7286 6475; thewineryuk.com)