West London Area Guide
One of the capital’s most affluent areas, West London demands top market prices, but its residents can call some of the UK’s most beautiful buildings home. Structures here range from elegant Victorian townhouses, characterised by stepped porches and wrought-iron gates, to lavish Georgian mansions shrouded by London plane trees and now an increasing number of beautiful new developments built in architectural sympathy with their more historic surroundings.
Sought-after areas like Fulham and Hammersmith offer some of the best eating and drinking spots. Here, riverside gastropubs rub shoulders with classy cocktail hangouts, and Hammersmith, in particular, serves up a great live music scene, with a mix of well-known and up-and-coming artists frequenting venues like the Apollo. If theatre’s more your thing, the world-renowned West End is the place to catch dinner and a show. Then there’s Chelsea’s Royal Court, which is a big hitter for more experimental, artsy plays.
It’s easy to indulge in some serious retail therapy in West London. High-end boutiques line up in Chelsea. The best can be found on King’s Road, where even the Oxfam charity store stacks mainly designer wares, courtesy of the wealthy local residents. Over in Kensington, you’ll find high street favourites like L’Occitane and Oliver Bonas. And less than a 10-minute drive north there’s Portobello Road Market, which brags the world’s largest collection of antique stalls.
Some of the capital’s most popular green spaces can be found in West London. Head to Kew Gardens for the famous blooms, Kensington Gardens for its stories (the iconic Peter Pan statue attracts tourists world-over), and Chelsea Physic Garden for a look at the 5,000 historic and medicinal plants. Then there’s Ealing’s Brent Lodge Park, which is great for families, thanks to facilities like a playground, maze and animal centre. Meanwhile, over in the Hillingdon borough, there are 800 acres of woodland to stroll through.
West London’s also a fantastic springboard. Not just for its well-connected train and tube links, but because it’s got Heathrow Airport on its doorstep. With some 78 million passengers jetting in and out of here each year, it’s the UK’s busiest.