Country Life

January at a glance

THE passing of another New Year is as good a time as any to turn over a new page–as well as a new leaf–and stock up on some reading material for the, Smith’s Court, W1–a rare-book store that wouldn’t look out of place in a small country village–with afternoon tea at the neighbouring (; ). Holiday-deprived Londoners should go straight to Covent Garden, home to UK’s leading specialist retailer of maps and travel books (). Discuss where you’re off to next over supper at restaurant–a 10-minute walk away in the confines of Somerset House. Inside, head chef Skye Gyngell recently launched Spring Tavola–an informal, Italian-inspired dining concept, from £30 per head (). The Marylebone branch of , Marylebone High Street, W1, is as good for people-watching as it is for buying books ( ). Make for the non-fiction London shelves that occupy a prime position at the shop’s rear, on the second-floor, galleried landing. The shop is also in handy proximity to the timeless and restaurant, which boasts a heated terrace for multi-household bookings (; ). , 65, Hanbury Street, E1, is a treasure trove of delights, from curved, double-height bookcases to the books arranged in unconventional categories ( The store is sandwiched between Spitalfields and Whitechapel, so pop down to the former’s market–open seven days a week. For old-school, genial charm, few can beat , 10, Blacklands Terrace, SW3 (). Think bare floorboards and tomes of all shapes and sizes snaking across archways and stacked up staircases. Drag yourself back into the modern day at the , where Philip Colbert’s ‘Lobsteropolis’ runs until January 17; ‘JR: Chronicles’ (an exhibition of works by the young French artist) opens on January 28 ().

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