WATCH: This former junk yard is now London's swanky new must-do

2018-11-09 14:05 - Selene Brophy
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A yard very often speaks to community, an open space where people, friends and family can come together to unwind and relax.

In the city of London, where the idea of wide-open space is a luxury to the extent that parking bays can be sold for an eye-watering £85k, the yard concept is this and so much more.

The  Eccleston Yards, previously derelict and underused, is now like a secret little escape just a short walk from the bustling streets of Victoria and Belgravia - in central London. This new creative hub, encapsulated in a wide open space, sees a merge of small businesses, eateries and unique shops, as well as a potential events location and social meeting spot. 

Here are a few highlights when stopping in at Eccleston Yards:

  • Victoria Station

It was great that our hotel, Eccleston Square Hotel, is a short 200m walk up the road from Victoria Station. But what strikes you as you turn the corner from Victoria towards Eccleston Yards is the sensation of escaping into a lesser-known, little world. From busy and bustling to placid and pleasant. This just adds to the appeal of the mix-used space, formerly an actual derelict yard; now one of the area's most sought after spots.

  • Duke and Dexter

Proof that's it's truly a small world, I even met up with a South African entrepreneur Damian Moon, as featured in the video above, who has been living in London for 10 years. He currently heads up design for this bespoke men’s shoe emporium. Local flavour, homegrown swag for sure.

If you’re looking for a swanky, mod spot for cocktails and great food this is it. New to Victoria after successfully launching in East London in 2015, they have some of the best meat dishes in the UK – and an exceptional collection of art in house. 

Having just been awarded the "Best Cocktail of The Month” by the Guardian I'm told, TJFK is super for dining with friends and enjoying a relaxing evening in a rather stylish atmosphere. No order is too tall for the barmen, who are slick in their suggestions and creative concoctions. Delicious.   

From the minute you walk in the door, the entourage of SMUK are ready to wait on you hand and foot. Taken from the Danish word for beautiful, here you find the Scandinavian concept of Hygge, or the art of being cosy and comfortable, perfectly in balance. The team prides itself on inspirational beauty experiences that are as good for the body as it is for the soul - and that ultimately does as little harm to the environment as possible. 

In the words of founder and expert make-up artist, Miabella Ristorp, if you can eat it, then it's perfect to experiment with and use on your skin. Try their luxury hair care products Oribe or treat yourself to a non-toxic manicure with Kure Bazaar – the nail lacquer of the next generation – using a formula comprising off up to 85% natural products (like cotton, potato, wood pulp and wheat). Oh and do yourself a favour and ask for Alba,  she's superb and super-fast.

  • Frida Kahlo mural 

This is a striking centre mural to the Yards and entirely hard to miss. The Yards plays out to summer time experience exhibitions and outdoor lounging really well.

If you are a Kahlo fan then make a point of booking for the Victoria &Alfred Museum's Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up.  Impromptu stop-ins are not possible, as I soon found out. This exhibition presents an extraordinary collection of personal artefacts and clothing belonging to the iconic Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Locked away for 50 years after her death, this collection has never before been exhibited outside Mexico.

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