Familes enjoying a sunny afternoon in Exploratory Park, Brent Cross Town

PLAY in your park

Exploratory Park is now open for use from early morning till dusk, daily – just a 12-minute walk from Brent Cross tube station.

Claremont Way

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Familes enjoying a sunny afternoon in Exploratory Park, Brent Cross Town

Plan your journey

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21 December 2020

Shopping local: six of the best

Close-up of man making coffee
An unprecedented pandemic has shown us what it is to be a community on the high street.

Due to the recent Tier 4 announcement, non-essential shops are now closed, but plenty of the list below are offering delivery or online lessons.

Local businesses need our support now more than ever. Whether they rely on drop-in shoppers or people coming in to take part in an event, it’s been a difficult year for many small shops in Cricklewood, Hendon or Golders Green. “If we live locally, we should connect locally. Given what’s come in since last March, an unprecedented pandemic, has in its wake shown us what it is to be a community on the high street and why it’s necessary,” says Brian Schwartz, co-owner of Black Gull Books, East Finchley’s secondhand bookshop – which is a quick cycle-ride away from Brent Cross Town. 

We’ve put together some local recommendations, so whether you’re looking for gift ideas for the festive season or have a New Year’s resolution to fulfil, have a look below. 

Importantly, who did we miss? At Brent Cross Town, we’re looking to work with businesses already based in the area to fill a bustling high street and town centre. If you’d like to help shape this town’s future, or know just the person who should, get in touch via our Shops & sport page.

At home drinking crap coffee? Cricklewood Coffee Roasters can help.

Get coffee and bread to your door 

“At home drinking crap coffee?” This is the question posed by Cricklewood Coffee – and they don’t mess about when it comes to quality brew. This local Cricklewood outfit offers coffee subscriptions, guaranteeing locals access to excellent coffee that’s sourced straight from the farm. At Sean’s Loaf they take a similar attitude to bread. Cricklewood’s new microbakery will deliver you the perfect sourdough, croissant or brownie, or something we’ve never seen before called a cruffin that we absolutely must have.

Sean Chambers from Sean's Loaf

Find the perfect gift

Some gin- and lime-infused honey, a fig and cassis candle, or a feisty little lemon tree ornament? Lily King is all over it in the cute-and-clever department, and they’re even offering free delivery to the locals around Willesden Green. This is a true independent operation, set up by Lilybeth King in 2015, selling a bit of everything including gifts for people who seemingly have everything. Lily King even has its own range of handmade jewellery; these initial necklaces are bound to be a hit with just about anyone.

Woman at shop till
Lilybeth King founded the store in 2015

Make 2021 a Good Hair Year

If your hair type is coily or curly, chances are you already know about Hairitage. This Afro and textured hair boutique on Willesden Lane has everything from deep moisturising hair masks and edge treatments, to nut-free oils and the perfect tools to get those waves, coils and curls to pop. If you’re unsure of what to buy, just book in a hair consultation; the Hairitage experts will go through the entire routine, make recommendations and even follow up every month to make sure you’re properly taken care of. You’ll need to wait a while for an in-person consultation, but the boutique are still offering delivery and click-and-collect.

Women laughing together
Hairitage funders Jo Ferrage and Catia J Pinto

Tune your musical skills

Need something to do in these long winter evenings? Ebony & Ivory Music School and Musical Instruments in Colindale will teach you how to play, including online. Starting out as a piano specialist, the family-run music shop has since branched out across the entire orchestra, from guitar to woodwinds, offering training to people of all skills levels. Ebony & Ivory is also offering zero-interest loans for musical instruments, making this winter the perfect time to learn something new.

Need something to do in these long winter evenings? How about online music lessons.

Cycle with confidence

If you’d love to use a bike to get around but find yourself lacking skills on the road, this one’s for you. At Cycletastic, they will teach anyone for free how to ride a bike as part of the Cycling Together Project, whether you just need some roadsense or even if you’re starting from scratch: everyone is welcome to come and learn in small, socially-distanced groups. You can even borrow a bike from Cycletastic, so anyone can come and get confident, enjoy the outdoors, and spend time with other people. Email [email protected] for more information – and to check what they’re still offering under tier 4 rules.

Couple walking past giant sign saying 'Cricklewood'
Photo above and at top: Tian Khee Siong