One of the things I like best about London is how it is really made up of many, many different areas, all of which are quite diverse and could be in quite different cities. For example, get out of a station at three random locations – say, Holland Park, Shoreditch and Crystal Palace – and you will find yourself in three quite different worlds. This is one reason why London never tires. For these reasons, Zena Alkayat’s new book on London Villages caught my eye.
This cute little tome covers no less than 30 villages in London, visiting each corner of the capital (north, south, east, west and central). Each village has its own pretty hand-drawn map of the highlights (illustrated by Jenny Seddon), which also handily includes the closest stations. Village life is great but it can be frustrating when you visit a new area and its highlights are hidden away down a side-street. This book should put paid to this problem – at least for these 30 areas.
Of course not every village in London can be included, and while I’m sure everyone could think of some that they would insert (Rotherhithe village, that most village-y city village, and Clerkenwell/Farringdon are two that spring to mind), there is an excellent coverage in general. The book is a handy size (it would easily fit into a bag but is not so small it seems insignificant) and contains lovely photographs by Kim Lightbody for each village. I’ve already spotted a few new places to visit, so it will be accompanying me on some future explorations. And it’s perfect for a certain gift-giving season on the horizon…
Frances Lincoln has kindly offered readers of The Londonphile a special discount on this title. To order a copy of London Villages for £7.99 including p&p* (RRP £9.99), telephone 01903 828503 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, and quote the offer code APG14.
*UK only – Please add £2.50 if ordering from overseas.
Looks like a great little book, I have always loved the different experiences that London ‘village’ life offers, having lived and worked in quite a few over my 20+ years leaving here i have enjoyed a few including Islington, Stoke Newington, Deptford , Clerkenwell, and Shoreditch – long, long before it was the trendy hang out it is today! I always feel sorry for the many tourists wandering about Oxfrod Street, Tottenham Court Road, BUckingham Plaace, Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus thinking they are in London, when they are but they aren’t!
Am I right in guessing that those photos come from the village where I live – Marylebone?
Yes, well spotted! That button shop looks like a little gem…