19. St Christopher's Place
Where? A clement thoroughfare connecting Oxford Street (near Bond Street Tube) to Wigmore Street.
What? It might be full of beautiful people today, but St Kitt's was once a rather slummy backwater known as Barretts Court. It later found some semblance of respectability under the guidance of Octavia Hill, one of the Victorian founders of the National Trust, who bought the noisome plot and rechristened it after her pet saint. A local plaque speaks of cheesemongers, drapers and chandlers lining the street at that time. All trades that wouldn't look out of place today, along this cutting of bright shops and inviting eateries.
Why use? If you're stuck on Oxford Street during the New Year sales and are close to screaming, seek out this alleyway and all will be calm again. It's like escaping into Mayfair, only less exclusive and more focussed on food and speciality shops. Our favourite is 'Under two flags', a tiny outlet on the east side selling toy soldiers like it's still 1807.
Also good for? Al fresco dining is nothing special in London these days, but St Christopher's Place boasts one of the largest concentrations of pavement dining in the West End. Maybe leave it a few months, though.
See each and every one of our back passages mapped here