In the heart of Twickenham, Church Street, with its unique village feel, is holding its fabulous Valentine Fayre on Sunday 11th February from noon to six.

Church Street is an “absolute gem”, a “tiny treasure” with a “lovely atmosphere”. These are just some of the comments on Church Streets Facebook page, @ChurchStTwicker. They do not exaggerate! It is a lively and engaging mix of about forty independent quirky shops, boutiques, restaurants, pubs and businesses. There is even a small theatre and museum just behind it! A real microcosm of shopping, leisure and commerce. A place to visit anytime of the year.

Yet Church Street has some serious history about it! It takes its name from the eight belled St Mary’s Church, originally built in the fourteenth century and rebuilt partly in the eighteenth. It is at the top end of Church Street if you stroll along from Twickenham’s main high street. Church Street was the main travellers way between Richmond and the West, especially when Richmond Bridge was built in 1777. It offered passage for Monarchs on their way to Hampton Court. York Street opened in 1899 as public transport had made Church Street too narrow. It is a very short stroll to the River Thames from Church Street to see views which inspired Samuel Scott, often referred to as the English Canaletto. In 1996 excavations to the rear of Church Street confirmed a settlement in 3000 BC. Stone Age flints and pottery vases were found in a watercourse crossing the upper end of the car area. Church Street has Age and beauty!

Organising events, galvanising support and representing traders, the dynamic Church Street Association is led by Bruce Lyons of Crusader Travel. Their purpose is “to promote Church Street as a sought after destination”, which they do brilliantly. The Street is regularly closed to traffic for events throughout the year, such as the Festival of Lights with a Grotto and Punch and Judy and the Halloween evening with carousel, pumpkins and apple bobbing. These initiatives help bring the community together and to sample the delights of Church Street. The French Market regularly takes over at weekends and during the summer season there is the popular Mediterranean style al fresco eating amid the gorgeous flower displays and hanging baskets.

The Valentines Fayre poster promises, “stalls with all kinds of gifts, flowers, cakes, chocolates, street foods and live music.” Bruce kindly explains that, “around ten years ago we had flags made for Valentine days and the restaurants and inns started to make an event of Valentines Day. Over time shopkeepers and local arts and crafts have asked to join in….we close the Street and have a Fayre, fly the flags.” Church Street is “all about community”and a “real welcome from all”.

You can be guaranteed that a visit to Church Street any time of the year will not disappoint,
but, “Come on down on 11th February and you may meet your Valentine!”, suggests Bruce!

Toby Tolson, Hampton School