Day tripper: Muddy visits Gerrard’s Cross
Gerrard’s Cross is one of those places that you feel like you should have visited, even if you never have. Close to the larger, slicker Beaconsfield, GC is actually the closer to London (and don’t the estate agents know it!), and has an air of cheerful Home Counties commuter-belt wealth, despite the dull brick facades and busy road on the high street.
I visited in April and again last month, and if you tend to shop in nearby Amersham, Beaconsfield and Marlow it’s worth a detour, even with kids in tow, because when they start whining about how shopping is so borrrrrrrrrrring there’s a fantastic 32 hectare central public park, Gerrards Cross Common to boot them into (above), with play facilities, plus Bulstrode Park Camp, a preserved area of land which was an Iron Age fortified encampment.
If you’re a bit of a heritage building nut like me, you’ll love this distinctive parish church, built in 1861, where Lulu married Maurice Gibb (yes, this really is it’s major claim to fame). But come on, let’s be frank, cut to the chaff, find the blunt tool – because what you’re probably screaming at the computer right now is, ‘Tell me about the flippin shops!!’.
So let me take you to where you need to be. On the fashion front, there are quite a few brassy boutiques – high on twinkle, not so fussy on style – but one I’d definitely send you is Heidi & Hudson, right down the bottom of the high street.
It’s a proper family business, with both kids working in the Gerrard’s Cross shop (there’s also one in New Amersham) and it sellsmid-range designer mens and womenswear, so think labels like American Vintage, Sam Edelman etc.
I like the idea of having decent mens and womenswear under one roof – it’s hard to find stores like that around here – and these guys have a great eye for accessible fashion. Plus there’s currently a whopper 70% off in the summer sale so get in there!
Also well worth checking out is Winser London, one of only two stand-alone stores in Bucks & Oxon (the other is in Marlow), and home of the famed ‘Miracle’ dress and beloved of women-who-can’t-keep it sucked-it-in. Like me. Winser is strong on flattering staples – shirts, wrap dresses, pretty knitwear.
To me it sits on the younger, more flattering end of a Jaeger, or an older, more traditionally influenced Whistles. Whichever of those descriptions sounds more you, you’ll be able to find something you like! And if you have more time, you can widen your search to other indie shops like The Forge and Shu Shu.
What else? Well a big calling card is the new stand-alone Guinot salon (whooppppppo!) that hypotises enticingly with its scarlet signage at the top of the high street. This is only the second stand-along Guinot salon outside London, the other being the teaching academy in Ascot, so it’s A. Big. Deal. I love Guinot, it’s one of the brands that really seems to work on the Muddy wrinkles, and I like the whole branding of the product and salons – kind of ‘clinical glam’! I have, ahem, selflessly decided to go back and try out a new facial there because the Muddy laughter lines are starting to morph into something a bit more witchy and sinister, so will let you know how I get on.
Food wise, there are a few decent options – apart from Jung’s as a pastry/cafe stop, there’s a fantastic looking Italian restaurant on the high street called Luna Rossa with bonafide Italians who don’t speak much English (always a good sign), a funky little artisanal stonebaked place called @home pizza off the main stretch, and a posher looking restaurant Di Paolo too. I didn’t eat at any of them so I can’t vouch for them, but as an alternative I did recently try out The Swan in Denham (above, about 10 mins away in the car) and loved it (see my review), so that’s another option.
If you want to work up your appetite first, by all means get all sweaty and bendy at the popular Absolute Hot Yoga (pass me a beer, I’m feeling peaky just thinking about it). And I also discovered a quirky little shop called Mainly Deco which is so small I wouldn’t bother taking your cat, let alone swinging it around in there, but there were some cool little bits if you like things a bit retro like me.
There’s an Odeon, decent kids shoe shop, a tidy florist, and as a post-script, it’s probably worth mentioning the very good charity shops in GC. Alongside one in Beaconsfield that I’ve been given a tip off about, Gerrard’s Cross ladies are extremely generous with their cast offs, resulting in your faithful correspondent picking up a superslick pair of tan leather Russell & Bromley platform stilettos for a princely… £15. God, don’t you just love it when that happens?
As ever, if you make it over to Gerrard’s Cross, or try out any of the places I mention, let me know what you think. Put it on my gravestone peeps – Knowledge is Power!