A royal welcome to Buckhurst Hill
PUBLISHED: 12:44 15 September 2016 | UPDATED: 12:44 15 September 2016
The high-end high street with a warm and friendly vibe
It may have a reputation for prestige and glamour, but Queens Road is anything but intimidating.
Having been at the heart of the community for over 150 years, it remains a shopping hub for locals who love the eclectic, independent retailers that line their high street.
Danielle Rogers-Clark, owner of Believe In Boutique, says: ‘There’s no denying we’re big on glamour. What other local high street in the world has over 20 hairdressers, and each one always busy? But this is a very down-to-earth community, somewhere very special that people feel very loyal about. It’s a unique little town and everyone makes the most of it.’
Danielle says that loyalty goes two ways, with retailers really looking after their customers. She explains: ‘We know people by name and we look after them. If they’re going to an event, we’ll help them find the right outfit and, because we’re such a part of the community, we can always make sure no two women turn up in the same dress!’
With its tree-lined streets and village atmosphere, Queens Road has an elegant, old-world charm, but its businesses are cutting-edge, offering the latest in fashions, fitness and beauty treatments.
Glenys Reynolds is owner of Repose Studios and chair of the Buckhurst Hill Village Forum which brings residents, traders, faith groups and other community organisations together. She says: ‘Queens Road is a great area to shop because you’ve got everything you need. You can spend the day here, getting your hair or nails done, browsing some of the brilliant boutiques, then heading to one of the many fantastic restaurants and cafes for lunch.
‘The Forum is really about working together to make the most of Queens Road and really celebrate this wonderful area. With so many independent retailers, Queens Road offers an alternative to your average high street, something more bespoke and, we believe, a little more special.’
It’s that sense of something rare, something special that draws both retailers and customers to Queen’s Road. When Sandra Bickmore was looking for new premises to expand her business she knew exactly where she wanted to make her new home.
CoreFit Pilates opened on Queens Road in Buckhurst Hill just over a year ago.
Sandra says: ‘We wanted somewhere that had a strong identity and Buckhurst Hill really has been the perfect fit for us, a high quality, vibrant high street with a strong sense of history, but very modern businesses catering for every need.
‘The people there are lovely and there’s a real sense of family. Everyone has made me feel really welcome. All of the businesses are supportive, and we’re all proud to be independents and keen to see each other thrive.’
Ritika Nanda, owner of Twenty Six Fashion, moved in six months ago and fell in love with the area. ‘I love that all the boutiques, restaurants and beauty salons manage to offer something cutting-edge without losing that sense of being a local shop.
‘There’s so much choice for customers along the high street, and the local business community has been fantastic. When we first arrived they all popped in to introduce themselves.’
Brad Robinson opened Mitchell’s hair salon a year ago and, he too, received a very warm welcome from fellow traders.
‘Everyone really looks out for each other,’ he says: ‘t’s a very mutually supportive environment which is invaluable when you’re starting out.’
Brad also agrees that Queens Road’s independent names makes for a ‘alternative’ shopping experience. ‘There aren’t a lot of chains here, it’s more individual boutiques and restaurants which makes for something different. It’s also a beautiful location with a warm, village feel and everything you need on your doorstep whether you’re looking for a haircut, an exercise class, a new outfit or somewhere to enjoy a lovely lunch.’
Queens Road has been the centre of Buckhurst Hill since the first steam railway line arrived in the 1850s, creating a community spirit that’s, evidently, still very much alive today.
Lynn Haseldine-Jones, of the Loughton Historical Society, says: ‘The railway changed everything, really bringing Buckhurst Hill into existence as a neighbourhood. The high street is unique, in that it’s set in two halves, originally to serve people at either end of the road with two greengrocers, two butchers and two bakers.’
Those two halves have very much come together today to offer a wealth of opportunities for residents and visitors a wide range of health, fitness, beauty and clothing retailers and a variety of eateries.
However, despite the changes, Lynn says, the high street remains a vital artery. ‘It’s still a very important shopping centre for residents,’ she says. ‘Queens Road really offers something a little different which is why it’s so well-loved.’
Get in touch
179 Queen’s Road, Buckhurst Hill IG9 5AZ
020 8559 0520 www.reposestudio.co.uk
The Loft, 156 Queen’s Road, Buckhurst Hill IG9 5BJ
07545 424 760 www.corefittheloft.com
Believe In Boutique
75 Queen’s Road, Buckhurst Hill IG9 5BW
020 8505 9626 www.believeinboutique.co.uk
Twenty Six Fashion
26 Queen’s Road, Buckhurst Hill IG9 5BY
Mitchells Hair Salon
160A Queen’s Road, Buckhurst Hill IG9 5AZ
020 85055074 www.mitchellsbarbers.co.uk