We knew Jack Simpson had excellent taste just by visiting Nook, the charming North London shop he founded with his sister Kate and Gemma Ridgway, where they sell stationery, aesthetically pleasing homewares and some great publications, including our guides. Further evidence of his discernment comes in his love of Turkish food, appreciation of a pickled egg and discerning travel tips.

Tell us your three favourite places (where you live): one restaurant or bar, one shop and one thing to do!

I’d be happy eating almost every night at one of the local Turkish ocakbasi restaurants such as 19 Numara Bos Cirrik 2, but if for whatever reason I’m feeling flush or celebrating, Primeur never fails to deliver on food or atmosphere.

Our local The Shakespeare is a real neighbourhood pub which has largely been untouched, both in the physical sense, and by trends and novelties that have afflicted most other pubs in the area. They don’t sell food, though you can get a pack of pork scratchings, pickled eggs or cockles if you’re peckish.

I always enjoy a walk or picnic (weather permitting) in one of London’s green spaces. I like the fact that you can both feel totally cut off from the hustle and bustle but can still see elements of the city poking through or over trees. Hampstead Heath is a favourite and it’s always nice to have a post-walk pint in The Southampton Arms.

Tell us ​your three favourite places (anywhere in the world): one restaurant or bar, one shop and one thing to do!

My dad used to live in Brussels for many years so when visiting we would wander the city and he’d take me to some of his favourite bars. Brasserie Verschueren is a great example of what I like in a bar/pub/restaurant anywhere in the world. It’s always busy with locals and people just having a drink in an unpretentious atmosphere that has been that way for years. Nod also to Old Town Bar in NY.

Manufactum is always a great shop to visit, full of useful items. They have various shops in Germany, the last one I visited was in Hamburg.  A Vida Portuguesa in Lisbon and Porto is also worthy of a mention.

Having visited New York for many years, we’ve now started to head out of the city itself. A couple of visits ago we took the train up to Hudson which was a lovely two-hour trip snaking all along the Hudson river. Hudson itself is full of antique and junk shops and a hardware store that looks untouched since about 1950. It also had a great diner called Grazin, so good in fact that the train that runs through the town stopped so the driver could get his lunch taken out to him!

Favourite city or place to visit.

Most of my holidays are city breaks and places like New York, Paris and Berlin which are revisited often, but for a relaxing holiday I always love the south of France. Vence in particular, just up in the hills behind Nice. It has a daily food market and many small cafes overlooking squares for drinking ice-cold Provence rosé and people watching. There’s the calm and beautiful Matisse chapel, and the excellent Fondation Maeght is a bus ride away.

A travel tip or best travel item​.
Walk. It’s very easy to miss lots of great shops and places if you’re just zooming around on public transport. You also gain a sense of the city and how areas are linked together.

You can visit nook in person:

153 Stoke Newington Church Street, London N16 0UH

Mon-Sat: 10am-6pm; Sun: 11am-6pm

or online


photos from nook's instagram, Schimonskim-louis 

Published 3 July 2017

Our guides are printed in England on 100% recycled paper