Just one of the wonderful things about London is the constant sense of discovery – you really could step out each day and find a totally new street of treasures.
When my sons started to go to the Sylvia Young Theatre School, I found myself each Saturday morning with several hours to spare, as I waited for them to finish their classes. Wandering round the neighbourhood, I discovered Church Street, and what a revelation.
Probably best known for its Saturday street market, where you can also get some wonderful fruit, veg and fish (the street snack stalls also sell fabulous kebabs), Church Street has another secret – it is home to a really fantastic collection of antique and bric a brac shops. The most famous of which is Alfies Antique Market – often dubbed as the place where the dealers go to buy.
An emporium on several levels, of everything from antique clothes to jewelry, bric a brac and furniture, Alfies specialises in items from the 20s onwards, and there is never a dull moment as you wind your way through the seemingly endless narrow corridors of stalls, each one more glittering than the last. Friendly stallholders are always happy to chat, and if you get to the top, there’s a great roof top cafe.
Elsewhere in the street, my other favourite haunt is Church Street Antiques opposite, where I always seem to find just what I want, and which was the source of my beloved Dalmatian cocktail cabinet (see piece on One Dalmatian in Make or Fake It/Interiors).
A haven for magpies such as myself, Alfies and Church Street remain one of my favourite places in town. You won’t be disappointed.