w14, the place to be seen

After four and a half years, and what feels like a lifetime of memories, it’s almost time for Tom and I to wave farewell to West Kensington and say hello instead to Stamford Brook. Now, I know it’s not a million miles away – just four stops on the tube in fact – but it’ll still be sad to leave the area – and our little flat – behind.  So, in honour of all the happy times we’ve spent in W14, here’s a Sequin Sue review!

West Ken is sandwiched between several better-known areas such as Chelsea, Fulham, Hammersmith and High Street Ken, all of which are a short stroll away. But if these make up the bread to the sandwich then it means West Kensington is the tasty filling – with a few distinct flavours to spice it up a bit of course!

West Ken wouldn’t be West Ken without its main throughfare, the never-ending North End, with its thick fog of fumes and torrent of takeaways. It’s hard to keep up with the amount of shops and restaurants that come and go along here, but a few old faithfuls seem to hang on in there. Queen’s Club Wines, The Deli Bar and Indian Express, are a trusty trio on the corner of Charleville Road, while further along at number 222, a simple vegetarian restaurant has found its feet amid the fried chicken outlets. On a Saturday morning, the south-end of North End is lined with market stalls where you can stock up on as much fruit and veg as you can carry home. It’s a real untouched part of proper west London.

Step off the main street and suddenly life becomes a lot calmer. The shrieking sirens are replaced by birds singing (almost), and the rows of brightly painted houses on Barons Court Road are like flowers in a forest of brown. Hidden deep within this grid of streets are the famous Queen’s Club tennis courts and a few good pubs too. A friendly smile from landlord John will welcome you to The Colton Arms, with an enticing fire in winter and a quaint courtyard in summer. Not far from there is the fairly recently re-opened Pear Tree, which is always a good call for a Sunday night quiz or a tasty, but cheap bite to eat. Also worthy of a mention is the Curtains Up, a pleasant pub with a small theatre downstairs – it only seats a handful of people (the theatre not the pub), but it always seems to be a popular pastime for locals. Ashamedly, we only went to this theatre once during our four-and-a-half years here, but spent many an evening fighting our way to the busy bar during interval.

There are loads of other places I could mention too – if you take a look back at my blog you’ll see that West Ken has become the inspiration behind a lot of my writing. But, living next door to a church (the Indian Centre) obviously wasn’t enough for us so we’re moving into a converted one instead. I do hope we find the time to come back and visit soon though.

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