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Live the village life without leaving London

Posted at 10:15 am, October 13, 2013 in Arts & Entertainment, Fun London
London Villages Maps

Do you see London as a glittering metropolis? An industrial urban juggernaut? How about a rural idyll? No? Well, wait until you’ve seen what new book ‘London Villages’ has to say. Celebrating the tucked away neighbourhoods of London, it features thirty of the capital’s best ‘villages’ – that is, places with community spirit, indie shops and, er, a weekly farmers’ market.

Fancy a taste of country living? Just pop on a flat cap and check out these surprisingly un-urban London highlights:

Anderson Wheeler

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Opportunities to shoot game might be few and far between in London, but that doesn’t stop this bespoke gun and rifle maker from doing roaring trade. Drop by to admire the mounted wildlife, hunting jackets and a basement room filled with impressive, hand-crafted firearms. 13 Shepherd Market, W1J 7PQ. 

London Glassblowing

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You may be able to pick up some lovely handmade gifts in Spitalfields Market, but to see some serious craftsmanship, head over to London Glassblowing on Bermondsey Street where you can pull up a chair and watch amazing glassblowers roll out high-end glassware. 62-66 Bermondsey St, SE1 3UD.

Chelsea Toys

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Nostalgic wooden toys, Victorian games, cap guns, mobiles and finger puppets – and not an Xbox in sight! This traditional toy shop is part of secret village Chelsea Green, just off the King’s Road – and it’s as popular with parents as it is with their pint-sized pals. 53 Godfrey St, SW3 3SX.

The Hive Honey Shop

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The Hamill family run this hyper-specialist store which stocks only honey-based products, from lozenges to candles. Apiarists since the 1920s, the Hamills also arrange urban beekeeping workshops for beginners. 93 Northcote Rd, SW11 6PL.

The Abbeville

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This distincely pastoral pub – think paintings of hunting dogs, dark wooden furniture and a cosy, candlelit atmosphere – prides itself on nose-to-tail cooking. The pub makes sure its meat is up to scratch by partnering with a Hampshire farm to rear its own animals in a special breeding programme. 67-69 Abbeville Rd, SW4 9JW.

‘London Villages’ by Zena Alkayat is published by Frances Lincoln priced £9.99. It’s out now.

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