Okay, so yes I’m not actually on holiday, but given we arrived in London at the height of what can only be described as a scorcher of a summer, give or take one or two terrifying thunder storms, which the Chief Taster slept through, our new locale does feel a little like a holiday destination. Not that I’m complaining of course, or indeed bragging!
Across Richmond Bridge lies St Margarets, Richmond’s little sister. But in no way is St Margarets the poor relation or has been in anyway overshadowed. This bustling community is flying the flag for independent retailers, boasting an eclectic mix of cafes, restaurants, pubs and shops as well as a butchers and a French style bakery. With a village like atmosphere its bursting with personality. And perhaps its because the sun has been shining for the last two weeks, however there is also an incredibly friendly and vibrant vibe. Who said Londoners where unfriendly!?
With great parks including Marble Hill Park and House (home to the mistress of George II, no less!) very close by, great cycling and pretty Victorian terraces dotted along tree line roads, you feel like you are miles away from the hustle and bustle of central London, adding to its appeal.
What’s more it’s a magnate for foodies with a diverse and wide selection of cafes and restaurants right on our doorstep and of course we’ve been doing our homework to stake out our favourites. Here are our top five picks in no particular order and this is just scratching at the surface…
1. Streets Florists & Greengrocers: Why? Geoff no longer has an excuse to never buy me flowers with this gem less than a two minute walk away from our front door. This family run fruit and flower shop sells a wide range of fresh flowers bringing colour to the street. The staff are also just as colourful and full of character. It boasts a great selection of fresh fruit and vegetables and for the health conscious on the move the team will also make you a fresh smoothie to order on the spot.
2. La Boulangerie: Why? You’ll find it incredibly hard to walk past their window display showcasing freshly baked baguettes, breads and croissants. Their lemon tart is also pretty darn tasty. Again another family run business with a traditional French ethos towards baking at its heart. However not one for those on the Atkins diet!
3. Harris & Hoole: Why? This is a family run chain spreading across London. However from the outlook it could be mistaken for an independently run coffee shop as it doesn’t have that robotic feel a lot of well established coffee chains sadly have. It’s vision, to deliver good coffee that’s full of flavour to our high street. And its succeeding. A haven for yummy mummy’s and their offspring, the St Margarets branch is a very family friendly coffee shop which also puts on a good spread of cakes and lunchtime options.
4. Zorans: Why? The man behind this licenced delicatessen who we’ve named Mr Z, adds to its charm and character. Warm and welcoming you’re certainly not just another customer. Zoran dishes up good honest food with a diverse menu of options to choose from whether you’re after breakfast, lunch or a late afternoon pick me up.
5. Grounded: Why? Serving Monmouth Coffee this is simply put the best place in St Margarets if like me you have a coffee addiction. You’ll be guaranteed a superb cup of coffee in a relaxed environment which is a favourite with the locals. Ideal for a lazy Saturday breakfast reading a newspaper.