8.30AM SW1 First things first: what better way to begin our day than breakfast with a creative twist? We find what we are looking for at Dominique Ansel’s Belgravia bakery in central south-west London, where the ‘Cronut’ – created by crossing a donut with a croissant and, on the day of our visit, injected with exquisite white peach cream and raspberry sauce – has made it on to the menu from its birthplace in New York. The French-born patisserie expert only sells his lovely baked goods in New York, Tokyo and now London. When you slowly munch into his tasty signature Cronuts, endlessly gooey Banoffee Paella, savoury Welsh Rarebit Croissant or marvel at his Frozen S’mores, it’s not hard to see why demand for these rule-breaking treats is high. Washed down with coffee for the grown-ups, hot chocolate and juice for the kids and water for all, we head on to our first (non-eating) activity of the day. Jumping into the new Jaguar E-PACE, it’s not surprising onlookers stop and stare. The compact E-PACE is distinct, while keeping a family resemblance via inspiration from the sporty F-TYPE’s muscular rear haunches, more vertical front lights and slim horizontal tail lights. Driving through London, aided by a host of driver assistance features, the high sight lines yet more compact proportions of the E-PACE feel appropriate to the urban location. With the steering both reassuringly firm and swift enough to feel agile, we’re soon making good progress, passing the London Eye and Parliament Square before stretching the car’s legs as we head to leafy Manor House in north London and the Castle Climbing centre. 20 THE JAGUAR
Above: Agile and sporting in town with good grip, Castle Climbing reflects key qualities of the E-PACE. Below: Han Ates is the driving force behind proudly independent denim specialists Blackhorse Lane Ateliers 11AM N4 Housed in a Victorian water pumping station – disguised as a castle back in 1842 to appease local residents who wanted something less industrial-looking on their doorstep – the centre has long been repurposed into one of Europe’s biggest climbing spaces. While still unknown to much of the general public, this unique place now hosts 25,000 climbers a month attracted by the array of walls available, plus bouldering options and a 100ft abseiling feature inside one of the towers. Our 12- and 13-year-old daughters are up for the challenge, soon kitted up and working off those pastries, allowing my wife to grab a breather and me to drive down the road to pay a visit to another well-kept secret: London’s newest and only selvedge denim manufacturer, Blackhorse Lane Ateliers. Here, Turkish-Kurdish owner and industry veteran Han Ates is trying to fight ‘fast fashion’ with jeans that are beautifully detailed while still considering cost, quality and carbon footprint from manufacture to distribution. Open the one-piece fly of its top-end jeans, feel the strength of the pockets made of heavier cotton than some other makers use for their trouser fabric and see the ten machinists working diligently on-site and you bear witness to a garment that is a true labour of love. And of course, true to a city where people rarely settle on just one activity at a time, you can also have lunch there while your jeans, shirt or jacket are tailored.
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