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Who could have predicted living in a village would be so cool? At the moment, if you reside in London, look like a farm boy and sleep in a cottage, you’ve probably never been so desirable.

Sandwiched between office blocks and council estates are these bustling pockets of almost-country life. In them you’ll find independent shops, pubs, restaurants and a real community vibe. Here are our favourites.

Stoke Newington, N16

What: An organic haven, there’s probably more fresh produce in this area than on a working farm. ‘Stokey’, as locals say, is hugely multicultural and dotted with indie boutiques and gift shops. And there are community flea markets at the weekends.

Shop: Lucky Seven is one of the remaining few independent record shops in London. They sell tastemaker vinyl, carefully selected books as well as Marvel Comics (127 Church Street, N16 0UH).

Drink: Jolly Butchers ( is a place where punters actually chat to one another, rather than giving that scornful London expression we all know so well.

Eat: Restaurants range from Sardinian to Spanish with the odd kebab shop thrown in for good measure. The Keralan cuisine at Rasa ( is well worth a try, and it’s exceptional value for money.

Broadway Market, E8

What: The canals, ye olde shop fronts and a hip east London twist make this one of the most desirable areas to live right now. Arty-types playing on MacBooks all day long occupy the high-ceilinged, Victorian houses with vintage wooden floorboards.

: HE Tidiman is an old-fashioned family butchers that has been here for more than 50 years. They’ll cut your steaks as thick as your fist, and the quality of the meat is incredible (57 Broadway Market, E8 4PH).

: You can’t get more villagey than a proper tea shop. Gossip is a modern take on the UK’s fave brew. Here they sell funky cups, pots and shedloads of different flavoured leaves (62 Broadway Market, E8 4PH).

: Come to Market Cafe’s Fifties decor-inspired interiors for truffled rarebit, squid salad and tagliatelle – all bloody delicious, though a tad more expensive than your average cafe (2 Broadway Market, E8 4PH).

Crouch End, N19

What: In Crouch End you’ll find high-end chains such as Waitrose, plus spas, nail bars and indie restaurants, all of which are frequented by yummy mummies.

: Vintage design store Scarecrow Boutique sells shoes, clothes, jewellery as well as petticoats, masks and feather boas.

: Head to independent milkshake and smoothie shop Shake My Shake which scooped the British Smoothie Championships 2012 prize.

Banners serves hearty portions of Jamaican goat curry in its warm hotchpotch setting of antique furniture and popcorn machines.


London's coolest villages: Consider living in a quaint urban pocket
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