Perfect Weekend: 48-Hours in Connaught Village, LondonBy Angelica Malin
If you can’t quite face the prospect of traffic-light travel, PCR tests and pandemic-induced anxiety, then why not take a holiday in your own city. There’s so much to be enjoyed right on our doorstep – and this summer is the perfect opportunity to discover parts of the city you may never have considered for a mini break. This weekend I had the pleasure of experiencing a weekend away in Connaught Village, which is a stone’s throw away from the bustle of central London, with all the quaintness and charm of a local village.
Connaught Village is somewhat of an enigma in the capital; a place that is vibrant, independent and unique, but with the amenities and ease of central London, only moments from Paddington Station. It’s a leafy haven in the heart of the West End, with a real luxury feel. If you’re looking for a special weekend away, here’s an easy itinerary for the perfect 48-hours in Connaught Village:
48-Hours in Connaught Village: Where to Stay
Royal Lancaster London is a 5* hotel in the heart of the city. It’s perfectly positioned for exploring Connaught Village – the hotel is home to 411 luxury guest rooms and suites, and is also pet-friendly so you can bring your pup along! Mine did not come as he was busy watching Love Island. The hotel is exactly what you’d want out of a fancy London hotel – excellent customer service, sexy marble bathrooms, super comfortable Hypnos beds and a frankly sensational room service breakfast. The bedrooms have stunning, sweeping views over Hyde Park, the hotel has two great restaurants and the bathrooms feature White Company products, which is a win from me. The perfect hotel for a boujee weekend in London.
48-Hours in Connaught Village: Where to Eat
You’ll be spoilt for choice for places to eat in Connaught Village; for a small area, they really pack in a lot of fantastic dining spots. There’s everything from Japanes cuisine at Kurobuta to a quick lunch at Le Pain Quotidien, with lots of outdoor seating to enjoy the best of the British summertime in the sunshine. Here’s my pick of where to eat in Connaught Village:
A specialist Argentinian deli, wine merchant and butcher from the founders of the renowned Casa Malevo. You can enjoy a selection of handcrafted empanadas (mushroom is my suggestion), light salads or aperitifs, alongside a decent brunch menu. We loved the mix and match salad options – choose from a range of delicious fresh salads, such as fig, spinach and beetroot salads, washed down with a freshly squeezed watermelon and mint juice. There’s lots of outdoor seating to enjoy an al fresco lunch in the sunshine, followed by a drink at adjacent Saint Aymes – probably the most ‘grammable spot in the area, with their pink flower wall, girly interiors and candy floss cocktails.
If you’ve never tried Iranian food before, Colbeh is the place to do it. Colbeh, an authentic halal Persian restaurant which has been open since 2001, uses age-old techniques to create delicious food. Come here for Persian stews, Tadiq rice and, of course, breads which are made fresh on site using a mosaic tandoor oven. You can watch the master baker at work whilst he rolls, kneads and slaps fresh dough to make the restaurant’s famous Iranian flatbreads. My pick? Try the Paneer Sabzi to start, with fresh herbs and walnuts, followed by Choresh Badejman – a tomato-based vegetarian stew with onion, aubergine and sour grapes, which is a real treat.
Bombay Palace is an iconic Indian restaurant in London (it’s been popular since I was at school, so that’s saying something), which serves up traditional Indian curries, breads and street-food inspired starters. They have a small terrace for eating outside and lots of vegetarian-friendly dishes too. You can’t really go wrong with anything on the menu, but my personal favourite is their Palak Paneer, a delicious curry of spinach and cottage cheese, Malai Kofta, which is a sweet dish with vegetable dumplings in a saffron sauce and Samosa Chaat to start.
48-Hours in Connaught Village: What to Do
RNat5a is home to the husband-and-wife artists Rob & Nick, who are currently showcasing their most technically challenging project yet, Dark Factory Portraits, featuring portraits entirely painted by robots. The idea came out of a series of 2013 reports on the future of work, suggesting that 35% of UK jobs were liable to be fully automated over the next two decades. You can see this, along with their super cool neon print work, at their viewing space on Bathurst Mews – they also have work currently showing at Van Gogh Alive. Another gallery to check out on the same road is Dellasposa. Founded in 2016, the gallery represents contemporary and modern artists from around the world united by their conceptual rigour and quality, timeless works of art. They are currently showing work by Damien Hirst, visual artist David Shrigley and modern masters such as Peter Blake.
One more to add to the list is Dorothy Circus Gallery London, which is currently presenting the first British exhibition by Internationally renowned street artist Okuda. The show will be inaugurated on the 16th of September 2021, at Dorothy Circus Gallery. In line with its curatorial path, Dorothy Circus Gallery once again devotes its attention to one of the excellences of international street art. Following the hypnotising figures presented by French artist Miss Van with a solo exhibition, Pale Moonlight Muses, renowned Spanish artist Okuda, follows with a brand new series similarly inspiring.
Now lockdown has lifted, why not treat yourself to a little pamper day? Go for a blow dry at Lacquered + Stripped, an eco-conscious salon focusing on vegan and sustainable products. As well as using cruelty-free products, they also work hard to use energy and water-saving technologies to cut waste wherever possible. The salon offers hair treatments, manicures, massages and facials – including a vegan lash lift, gel nails and some jazzy nail art if you’re feeling fancy.
One for the cheese lovers, Buchanans opened their cheese shop in Connaught Village during lockdown, having previously only served the hospitality industry. They have an incredible range of British and European cheese, which change daily according to what is the ripest and most delicious from their onsite maturing rooms. The staff are incredibly knowledge on all things cheese and will happily help you choose cheeses according to your personal tastes. You can pick up a selection of accompaniments to enjoy with the cheese whilst there, from small batch chutneys to carefully sourced biscuits and wines from Connaught Cellars to sip with your cheese.
Summer means one thing to me = rosé
And what a place to drink it. Outside on the terrace of Connaught Cellars, a specialist wine shop that brings the finest wines from around the world in the heart of the city.
Purveyors of fine wine, who specialise in independent producers from Italy and France, Connaught Cellars have been supplying London’s top restaurants, bars and local aficionados for the past eight years – and they are launching new wine tasting this month. They have a curated catalogue of wines spanning from entry-level wines to show-stopping magnums of rare Bordeaux, with options to suit all budgets. You can purchase a bottle in store and then enjoy it outside, whilst soaking up the summer rays. Heaven.
Finally, for something a bit different, why not enjoy a leisurely ride through Hyde Park on your weekend away? Bet you didn’t know you could do horse riding so easily in the city.
Connaught Village is home to Hyde Park Stables – one of the last standing mews with horses in Central London and among the most famous equestrian venues in the whole of England. Owner Ellie Hall McAteer, hopes that keeping the horses in Connaught Village will help encourage new people to take up the activity. We loved seeing Hyde Park from a new perspective atop a horse and it was such a relaxing, fun way to take it the beautiful surroundings of the park.
To find out more about Connaught Village, see here. About Time were guests of Connaught Village, but views are our own.