London's got a new village for you to explore. Cosier than Mayfair and closer than Bicester, we'd like to introduce you to Connaught Village.
A stone's throw from the tourist shopping mecca we all love to hate, also known as Oxford Street, this is the place to avoid the crowds and find fashion treasures. Quaint and picturesque with British designer womenswear and menswear shops, independent galleries and exotic restaurants, you're bound to fall in love with Central London's most popular area right now.
The small community even has its own magazine and events calendar. Next up is the 50th anniversary of the Horseman's Sunday on 17 September, where Reverend Peter Murphy will be blessing the horses from the Hyde Park Stables.
For colourful patterns and outfits that will get you noticed, visit Kokoro. The brand carries ready-to-wear clothes and accessories, designed in the city and produced in Japan. You'll find contemporary looks at ME+EM, where casual basics and luxury fabrics reign. Our winter wardrobe will be chosen from the super-soft merino wool and cashmere knitwear.
There's plenty more: footwear brands Lucy Choi (yes, that's Jimmy Choo's niece) and Marion Ayonote, bridal boutique Ritva Westenius and pre-owned resale shop The Dresser.
Former CEO of Browns, Simon Burnstein, also has two shops in the village. Here, you can pick up lifestyle collections for both men and women with items from independent designers, such as Belgian designer Sophie D'Hoore.
Other treasure troves include interior shops: Bourlet's craft fine art framing and restoration, Connaught Kitchens and auction house Lyon & Turnbull. Visit mud Australia for hand-made porcelain from Down Under or choose antiques at William Mansell.
The food scene is just as impressive, if not more so. Whether Middle Eastern, Argentinian or British, the restaurants are very chic with extensive menus. Have a pint at the local drinking hole - this is London after all - The Duke of Kendal and continue your evening with Japanese tapas-style cuisine at Kurobuta.
Lunch shall be had at Connaught's very own bistro, Salt & Honey, known for its fish and seafood selection, sourced daily from Billingsgate market. We're excited to taste the bone marrow and saffron arancini. For low-key dining, there's neighbourhood newbie, Roni's Bagel Bakery.
Markus Coffee is great for an afternoon cuppa, with 34 coffee beans to choose from. On your way home, take the time to sample goodies at Buchanans Cheesemonger and pick up a bottle of Bordeaux at Connaught Cellars. The wine specialist also hosts private tastings and parties.