Clapham is deeply uninteresting – a cultural wasteland of rugby louts, not-quite-nightclubs and restaurants with bench seating serving Instagraminedible food (when it looks good but tastes nasty). Webb’s Road is an intriguing exception. At first glance, it may look like nothing more than a wriggling tongue of suburban terraced houses that stretches parallel to the much better known Northcote Road; in fact, from the corner of Belleville Road downwards, it has a colourful run of shops, restaurants and galleries.
Start at Blackbird Jewellery Store, which only sells pieces by British designers. Expect everything from Art Deco diamonds to quirky numerology-inspired bracelets.
They have particularly beautiful pendants – with rose gold options starting at £80, and pearl pendants going for £65, this place is also quite affordable. They’ve recently branched into interiors; make sure you check out the quirky new furniture pieces by a third-generation metalworker.
Deli Boutique at Number 32 across the road may not have an original name, but this French delicatessen owned by local Erwan le Bohec will transport you to a tranquil backroad in Saint Germain. You can sip on a chardonnay and tuck into a ‘deli basket’ packed with steaming bread (made on the premises), a chocolate brioche and homemade jam, while sitting on the front terrace in the sun.
Seriously, instead of stressing about finding a table at one of those awful bars on Northcote Road, just come here. One Friday a month, they also do special two-course dinners dedicated to a particular region of France with matching wine. Romantic and good value, priced at £25 per head.
Amelie’s Follies next door at Number 34 is one of my favourite boutique lingerie shop. They do particularly striking one-piece swimwear too. It’s here that I discovered Jets by Jessica Allen, an Aussie designer that uses a lot of draping and gathering to make dramatic Grecian-inspired swimming costumes, and I tend to get my stockings here. Also keep an eye out for Blue Marmalade’s super comfortable silk pyjamas here. Really good sales, so worth keeping an eye out.
A bit further down the road at Number 42 is The Last Supper, a contemporary art gallery run by a thoroughly lovely chap called Andrew; they do about one exhibition a month, you’ll tend to see a lot of minimalism and craft here.
Think needlework with bees as a muse, 3D canvases fashioned from pencils, and clothes made from vintage maps of London. Webbs Fine Art Gallery across the street, on the corner with Burland Road, is also an exciting secret Aladdin’s Cave of Cornish art. Admire the rousing West Country landscape and seascapes done in watercolours and oils by up-and-coming artists. It’s here that I discovered the immensely talented Gordon Hunt, for example, who is based in Fowey and fascinated with ‘painting’ light to depict sparkling sunshine coastal scenes.
Now for one of my favourite Webb’s Road finds: paint your own pottery! SammyDuder is a charming little pottery studio at Number 67; simply choose one of the ceramics from the shelves (plates, mugs, money boxes, figurines) and then sit down in the studio to draw and paint on your own design.
The team here can help you with ideas or execution if you’re not particularly arty. Bear in mind it takes 10 days for them to do the glazing and firing for every piece, so you’ll have to be prepared to pick up at a later date. It’s popular with small children, but girly groups, hen parties and groups of friends are all welcome too.
Finally, Lizzie’s at Number 71 is a real find if you have small children; this small independent boutique stocks everything from toy circuses to recycled cashmere booties. There are also some nice gifts for adults here: bath oils, scented candles and eccentric lamps.