Village London

Warm beer, giant vegetables and the gentle slap of leather upon willow: many London boroughs boast the classic attributes of rural life but - with extra points for sub-post offices, friendly bobbies and local eccentrics - this is the definitive test of your area's village claims. Time Out hands out the rosettes.

  • Village London

    London: home to the rustic and picturesque village of, um, Walthamstow

  • Barnes

    Village hall

    The Barnes Community Association has a prominent site in Rose House at the top of the high street, complete with noticeboard advertising the local events it organises. 9/10

    Cricket pitch

    Barnes CC, established in 1919, has a ground 600 yards out of the village. Barnes Rugby Football Club is claimed to be the world’s oldest club, though the locals at Blackheath might have something to say about that. 6/10

    Village green

    Yep, a classic example with a pond. Milbourne House, the oldest house in Barnes and once owned by the novelist Henry Fielding, is directly opposite. Parts of it date back to the sixteenth century. 9/10

    Local pub

    Locals flock to the trendy but aged Sun Inn (7 Church Road, SW13, 020 8876 5893), which faces the green and does a nice pint of Deuchars IPA plus a suitably ersatz-rustique ploughman’s served on a wooden board. 7/10


    Barnes Green complete with pond

    Post office

    The High Street has everything a village requires – including a butcher, fishmonger, baker – plus a hardware shop that doubles as a post office: the jackpot in bona fide village terms. 7/10


    There’s the Methodist Church by Barnes Pond, but it’s only 100 years old. Much better is the ancient St Mary’s (consecrated in the thirteenth century but since rebuilt), though that’s a small hike out of town. 6/10

    Local bobby

    The Community Association noticeboard advertises a police surgery every Sunday, 2-5pm, when you get to meet Sam Mines, the local bobby. Presumably, this is a good time to go burgling. 8/10

    Annual fête

    Organised by the Community Association, Barnes Fair is held on Barnes Green on the second Saturday of July. 8/10

    Village idiot

    The fact that Marc Bolan met his maker on the nearby common means the town occasionally plays host to aged glamsters, who share pavement space with the twitchers heading for the Wetland Centre. 4/10

    Village people

    Hundreds of small children, the offspring of the moneyed thirtysomethings who are drawn here like rich people to decent schools. 7/10


    Local's verdict

    ‘It’s about as close to a village as you can get in London, with lots of local shops and things, but it’s quite big and not really all that friendly. I like it here, but it’s hardly Cornwall.’
    Julie Knapper, Barnes resident

    Total 71/100

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