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October 2021 / Area Guides / by Liz Skone James

St. John’s Wood

With its urban village appeal, and central location, this exclusive enclave has always been popular, but, thanks to its stock of large villas and semi-detached houses with private gardens, its popularity has rocketed in the last year, with the property market outperforming other Prime London locations.

Photography by Emmanuelle Peri

Meet the locals

Maggie Bolger
Founder b-together

Starting a new venture in the middle of a pandemic has certainly been a challenge, but I couldn’t think of a better place to do it than here in St. John’s Wood. We have been welcomed by all the local businesses and the community: it is a treat to be here, even during such turbulent times. 

I always start the day in AT feast, my family brasserie, where they serve delicious healthy and sustainable meals all day (but I have a real soft spot for the breakfasts.) My go-to is the collagen oat milk cappuccino – I can’t function without it. It’s such a vibrant high street, and there are some real characters around, so if I have the time I’ll sit outside and people-watch while I eat. There is a gorgeous florist just round the corner called Jess Flowers; Ronan there is lovely. They provide us with beautiful flowers for the restaurant and the members’ club upstairs. I’ll often pop my head in to see what’s new and look at their displays. Flowers can make any day a good day! 

Luckily, the local businesses understand the multi-tasking pressures of being a founder, so I am grateful for friends such as the team at Ozzy Hair Design, who squeeze in a manicure and pedicure at the same time as giving me a haircut. They’ll often set me in rollers and then let me skip off for a meeting with the rollers still in place! 

At lunchtimes, I like to walk some food down to St. John’s Wood Church Grounds. It’s such a lovely space and gives me a chance to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. I love the giant chess board and outdoor table tennis tables, and it’s fun to see the world famous Lord’s Cricket Ground looming in the background. 

In the afternoons I’m usually in our family members’ club and nursery space, b_together. Spread over four floors (it’s quite special to have all of this space on the high street) we are a total haven for families, where they can truly b_together, which is especially important after nearly two years of so much separation. 

If it’s been a long day I’ll stop by Nicolas to pick up some wine and Panzer’s deli for dinner to go. I can’t wait for life to settle down a bit so I can head back to Core Collective for classes and hit up FaceGym for a hell of a facial. There really is no end of choice here on the high street!  

47 St. John’s Wood High Street, NW8 (020 3989 7900; b-together.com)

Streethearts

Avenue Road
One of the most desirable – and expensive – addresses in the whole of London, this tree-lined street runs down to Regent’s Park and offers extravagant mansions on large plots.

Cavendish Road
If homes with historic appeal are your thing, the grand villas here should do the trick, not least because of their location, moments from the heart of the action in St. John’s Wood.

St. John’s Wood High Street
Family businesses, chic boutiques and a mouth-watering array of eateries; residents may be close to the centre of town, but whether they have cause to go there is another matter.

Local Heroes

At Feast, NW8

There’s nothing like a buzzing all-day brasserie when the hunger pangs strike. AT feast, a recent addition to St. John’s Wood High Street, is just that. Think seasonal menus full of feel-good classics, hearty breakfasts, brunches and bigger eats, as well as a comprehensive drinks list complete with creative cocktails. The Americano, SJW Style (sweet vermouth and Campari topped with soda water) is a must for local residents. One such local is Alex Bentley, who tells us: “This is a great place to pop into if you want something wholesome. I love AT feast’s ethos – kid and dog-friendly, and with a focus on sustainability.”

49-51 St. John’s Wood High Street, NW8 (020 3989 7800; atfeast.com)

Panzer’s, NW8

This much-loved establishment, located on the picturesque Circus Road, is known as London’s original Jewish deli. Estate agent – and evident local history buff – Ricky Dengel from
Goldschmidt & Howland tells us: “the greengrocer and delicatessen started in 1943 when a Czech refugee named Walter Vogl joined forces with St. John’s Wood local Mr Panzer. Panzer’s has been serving smoked salmon bagels (and much more besides) to the local community ever since.” Offering culinary delights from all over the world, this is a one-stop shop for the neighbourhood’s discerning foodies. 

13-19 Circus road, NW8 (020 7722 8162; panzers.co.uk)

The Duke of York, NW8

You know you’re onto a winner when a pub gets multiple endorsements. Both Steve Kadi from Hamptons and Paul Bennett from Behr & Butchoff have named this neighbourhood tavern as their local hero. Steve says: “It has a very family orientated atmosphere and offers a great Sunday lunch. It’s also the perfect place to relax after seeing the cricket at Lord’s.” For Paul, The Duke of York is very local, right next door to the office, in fact. He tells us it boasts: “a convivial landlord, attentive staff and a great bar… It’s a wonderful place to wind down after a busy working day.”

2 St. Anne’s Terrace, NW8 (020 7722 1933; thedukeofyork.com)

Say what?

The latest market research report from Beauchamp Estates reveals that St. John’s Wood has unexpectedly benefitted from the pandemic pandemonium that has hit many of the world’s prime property markets. House sales in the leafy prime central London market have increased by a staggering 41 per cent in volume and by 12 per cent in price year-on-year.