The ‘hovel’ area that once had taxi drivers stumped is now a cosy corner of the West End in which cafes, restaurants and boutiques abound, writes Jamie Welham
HOW things have changed. Once a little known hovel that the mapmakers didn’t even bother to include, and that had taxi drivers scratching their heads, now St Christopher’s Place is one of the most talked about areas in the West End.
With its restaurants, cafés and upmarket stores, it’s what the marketing people call a “destination”, or to take the industry speak one step further, a “village destination”.
It’s its off-the-beaten track feel and continental atmosphere that is St Christopher’s Place’s selling point.
Where else in W1 could you find such a hidden gem?
Think Paris café culture or an Italian piazza, and you’re not far off.
What is more remarkable is just how close to the Bedlam of Oxford Street it is – just metres from Selfridges and Bond Street tube.
All those thronging crowds, bumper to bumper buses and dreaded “sandwich board” men melt away when you step into the courtyard cobblestones of St Christopher’s Place.
In the summer it’s all about al-fresco dining, with an array of sumptuous eateries including Seabass, for the best seafood in town, the one and only Carluccio’s, and putting the joy into joie-de-vivre, Auberge.
And in the winter, there are plenty of places to warm up over a mug of steaming hot chocolate, and soak up the atmosphere.
As well as the dependable Costa coffee, there is Apostrophe, a must visit for its selection of pastries, and if there is a better crepe in the capital than those at Cafe Creperie, we’re yet to find it.
For those looking to hit the stores, there is an embarrassment of riches on offer.
Fashion for men and women, toy shops, furnishings, confectionery, jewellers, hairdressers – St Christopher has them all. There’s a mix of upmarket favourites and independent boutiques.
Among the names are: Reiss, Diverso, Ascension, Marimekko, Victoria Jill and Petit Chou.
The combination of high-end shopping and alfresco eating is the perfect combination in the heart of the West End.
• To find out more visit the website: www.stchristophersplace.com