The outer western suburbs of Greater London form a diverse area that ranges from the densely-populated but tree-lined streets of Chiswick, Acton and Ealing, through to the semi-rural western districts that lie between Heathrow Airport and Uxbridge. As you might expect from the outer reaches of a metropolis, much of West London is suburban 'commuter belt' territory. Even so, a great many centres located on or near West London's key transport links have much to offer both the traveller and casual visitor in the way of accommodation, food, sights and experiences. Tracing a meandering course on the area's southern edge is—of course—the River Thames, the focus of many local opportunities.
West London's popularity with travellers and short-to-mid-term residents (backpackers, working holiday makers, etc.) can be explained by a number of factors, not least its proximity to Heathrow Airport, London's largest airport, and the area's multiple, easy transport connections with the West End and Central London.
West London was once part of the county of Middlesex, which no longer exists for administrative purposes; Middlesex, however, is sometimes still used as part of the postal address for these areas - don't let this confuse you!
West London consists of numerous suburbs, villages and satellite towns. Several areas are particularly popular with travellers and backpackers on account of their attractions, their facilities and their many accommodation options.
West London consists of the following boroughs:
- Ealing—the centrally-located Borough of Ealing includes the following areas:
- Acton, an area popular with visiting Australians, New Zealanders and South Africans. Popular with travellers on account of its entertainment options, relatively cheap accommodation (short stay and rental) and excellent transport links with the rest of London and further afield (Acton has the largest number of Tube and train stations that have 'Acton' in their name). Although part of the London Borough of Ealing, Acton very much retains its own identity.
- Ealing itself, popularly known as the "Queen of the Suburbs"
- Southall, also known as 'Little India', and a must-visit if you have the time to venture out of Central London. If you do only one thing when here, make sure you have a curry in one of the many authentic Asian restaurants. However beware, it is notorious for all the general street crime, especially pick pocketing, and may seem run down to an outsider.
- Hounslow—the borough includes the following areas:
- Chiswick, a leafy, generally well-heeled district, known for its wide variety of quality shopping and food outlets.
- Brentford, situated on the main transport links from Heathrow airport to central London, this is a mainly commercial area. The riverside area on the north bank of the Thames has a number of new housing developments and hotels.
- Hounslow, a largely working class area with many of the residents employed at nearby Heathrow airport. Known for being the king of 99p shops in the whole of London, and a good place to find a deal in its large High Street. It has become home to a multitude of budget and mid-range hotel chains (Travel Lodge, Premier Inn and Best Western amongst others) trading on its proximity to Heathrow Airport and good transport links into Central London.
- Hillingdon—this westernmost Borough of Greater London includes:
- Uxbridge, the administrative centre of Hillingdon Borough. A vibrant area on the edge of London, good shopping experience and good transport links to the West End.
- Hayes, industrial and housing areas with good access to the airport.
- Ruislip, a residential area with a lido and extensive woodlands, including a national nature reserve.
West London is well served by London Underground (Tube) connections from Central London:
- Piccadilly Line (solid blue) - runs through Chiswick, then divides at Acton Town with branches to Heathrow and Uxbridge
- District Line (solid green) - runs through Chiswick, then divides at Turnham Green with branches to Richmond and Ealing Broadway
- Central Line (solid red) - divides at North Acton with branches to Ealing Broadway and West Ruislip
- Metropolitan Line (solid purple) - runs through North London, then divides at Harrow on the Hill with one branch joining the Piccadilly Line to Uxbridge (where a station is served by both the Metropolitan and Piccadilly Lines, the Metropolitan Line is normally the faster route to Central London)
The following routes are useful for areas of West London not well served by the Tube.
- Southwest Trains—from Waterloo and Clapham Junction to Chiswick and Hounslow (Chiswick mainline train station is located several hundred metres south of the Great West Road and Chiswick High Road)
- First Great Western—from Paddington to Ealing Broadway, Southall and Hayes
- Heathrow Connect—from Heathrow Airport to Hayes, Southall and Ealing Broadway
A number of key bus routes exist that can readily transport visitors to West London from the centre of town:
- Route 27—runs to and from Camden/Chalk Farm and Chiswick Business Park, via Baker Street, Paddington, Notting Hill, Olympia and Hammersmith (24 hour service)
- Route 94—runs to and from Piccadilly Circus and Acton Green, via Bayswater and Shepherd's Bush (24 hour service)
Night bus services to and from Central London are more restricted but incredibly useful once the Tube has closed for the night:
- N11—runs to and from the City of London (Liverpool St station) and Ealing Broadway Tube station, via the West End, Victoria, Chelsea, Fulham and Hammersmith
The main routes through West London are:
- the A4 and M4 Motorway linking London with the Lower Thames Valley, Bath, Bristol and South Wales
- the A40 and M40 Motorway linking London with Oxford, Birmingham and the West Midlands
There is a taxi stand. Uxbridge Taxi Services are the most popular services. Uber is not yet available in Uxbridge.
Although not nearly as concentrated as Central London, West London's attractions are many and varied:
- 1 Chiswick House and Gardens, Burlington Lane, Chiswick, (Bus 190 (Hammersmith-Richmond)), ☏ . W-Su and bank holidays 1 Apr-31 Oct 10AM-5PM, Sa until 2PM. Maintained by English Heritage, Chiswick House is a famous and fine example of the 18th century Palladian style of British architecture. The third Earl of Burlington (1694-1753), who designed this elegant Classical villa close to the Thames, drew inspiration from his grand tours of Italy, while William Kent was employed to create sumptuous interiors to contrast with the pure exterior. The Neo-Classical gardens, although much reduced from their original size, are the perfect complement to the house. adults £6.10, children £3.70, concessions £5.50, English Heritage members free.
- 2 Boston Manor House, around a mile from the centre of Brentford along the Boston Manor Rd, ☏ . A Jacobean manor house (built in 1622), it is a pleasant and informative place to while away an hour or two, particularly during the summer when the extensive open parklands to the rear of the building make for a delightful stroll.
- 3 Ealing Studios. Not open to the public. The oldest film studio in the world.
- 4 Ealing Town Hall, 5 New Broadway, Ealing, W5 2BY, ☏ . Victorian Gothic building built in 1888 and still in use as town hall.
- 5 Ealing Common, Ealing (tube: ).
- 6 Ealing Green, Ealing.
- 7 Fassnidge Park, Uxbridge.
- 8 Lammas Park, Ealing.
- 9 Osterley Park and House, Jersey Road, Isleworth, TW7 4RB (about a 20 minute walk from tube station), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. House 4 Mar-1 Nov W-Su 1PM-4:30PM, gardens 3 Mar-1 Nov W-Su 11AM-5PM, park 29 Mar-24 Oct 8AM-7:30PM, 25 Oct-28 Mar 8AM-6PM. House and gardens £8.40, children 5-16 £4.20, children under 5 free, family ticket (for two adults and up to three children) £21; gardens only £3.70, children 5-16 £1.85, children under 5 free; park free.
- 10 Ruislip Lido, Ruislip (Off the Ruislip to Northwood Rd). An artificial lake surrounded by woodland, the Waters Edge Pub/Restaurant, a sandy beach (No swimming allowed), narrow gauge railway rides around the lake.
- 11 Syon Park, Brentford, ☏ . House: 24 Mar-31 Oct W Th Su, bank holiday Mondays, Good Friday, Easter Saturday 11AM-5PM (last entry 4:15PM), gardens 10:30AM-5PM daily or dusk if earlier except 25-26 Dec. The stately home of the Dukes of Northumberland for 400 years, Syon House and its 200-acre estate are located between Brentford and Isleworth. The main house was built to a design by the English architect Robert Adams, the grounds laid out by Capability Brown. The Great Conservatory, commissioned to be built in 1826, was featured in the Peter Cook and Dudley Moore film Bedazzled, and is a popular local wedding venue; Syon House itself has appeared in a vast number of period dramas. Well worth a visit. Syon House & Gardens & Great Conservatory £7.50, concessions/child £6.50, family £17.00; Gardens & Great Conservatory £3.75, concessions/child £2.50, family £9.00.
- 12 Walpole Park, Ealing (Just east of the town square). Relaxing experience. There is a small pond and an ice cream stall. There are also great playground facilities, and even a miniature zoo!
- 13 Gunnersbury Park Museum, Gunnersbury Park, Popes Ln, W3 8LQ (tube: ), ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. Apr-Oct 11AM-5PM, Nov-Mar 11AM-4PM. Local history museum for Ealing and Hounslow, housed in the former home of the Rothschild family. Free.
- 14 London Museum of Water and Steam, Green Dragon Ln, Brentford, TW8 0EN, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Su 11AM-4PM. Formerly known as 'Kew Bridge Steam Museum', this museum of London's water supply is well worth a visit for anyone with an interest in the industrial revolution. Housed in the former Kew Bridge Pumping Station (a fascinating building in its own right), the Steam Museum possesses the finest collection of steam pumping engines in the world. Different engines are to be seen working on different days, so it is worth checking the website before visiting if a particular engine is of interest. Themed days are a feature of the Steam Museum's calendar, and purchase of an entry ticket permits limitless further visits throughout the following year. Multi visit ticket £9.50.
- 15 The Musical Museum, 399 High St, Brentford, TW8 0DU (near Kew Bridge station), ☏ , fax: . Tu-Su 11AM-5:30PM. Something of an undiscovered gem. It houses a vast collection of working automatic musical instruments, from barrel organs to player pianos and beyond. Tours with knowledgeable and highly enthusiastic guides are highly recommended, as is the opportunity to listen to the Mighty Wurlitzer (which rises from the floor in the main auditorium). In addition to its function as a museum, the venue also hosts occasional cinema screenings of classic films (preceded by music from the Mighty Wurlitzer, or - in the case of silent film - accompanied by it) and houses a popular cafe with Thames views. Among the unusual (and hard-to-find) items usually available in the gift shop are clocks made from 78 rpm shellac discs, and original player piano rolls. £10, concessions £7.50, children under 16 £4.
- 16 PM Gallery & House, Walpole Park, Mattock Ln, Ealing, W5 5EQ (tube: ), ☏ . Tu-F 1PM-5PM, Sa 11AM-5PM. Houses Pitzhanger Manor House and an art gallery.
- 17 London Transport Museum Depot, 118-20 Gunnersbury Lane, Acton, London W3 9BQ (Cross over road from tube station then follow signs), ✉ email@example.com. Open to general public two or three weekends per year, guided tours more frequently. See website for details. This is the main storage facility of the London Transport Museum, holding items that cannot be fit into the main building at Covent Garden in central London. The building holds a wide range of railway carriages, buses, trams and trolleybuses, mostly restored, and many other exhibits, including signalling equipment, track items, tunnel segments, signs, models, and hundreds of small items. On open days preserved buses operate on tours of the surrounding area. £10 on open days, tour prices variable.
- 18 For Arts Sake, 45 Bond St, Ealing, W5 5AS (tube: ), ☏ , fax: . M-F 10AM-5:30PM, Sa 10AM-6PM, Su 11AM-4PM. Modern British printmaking as well as ceramics and jewellery.
- 19 Hounslow Urban Farm, Faggs Road, Feltham, Middlesex TW14 OLZ, ☏ .
- 20 Brentford Dock. Fans of British TV may be interested to know that the riverside area to the south of Brentford High Street is frequently used for outdoor filming by popular series such as ITV's The Bill. The backdrop of the estate (sited on the former Brentford Dock, the terminus for GWR trains transferring goods to the Thames) appears frequently in shows requiring a 'gritty', urban atmosphere. The northern aspect of the Brentford Dock estate belies its extremely picturesque marina (filled with a variety of narrowboats, Dutch barges and pleasure craft) and waterside views, however. Indeed, for connoisseurs of post-war architecture, Brentford Dock is often cited as an example of a successful and aesthetically-pleasing social housing development from a period most commonly characterised by its failures.
Many events take place in Ealing each year, including
- Ealing Jazz Festival, Ealing.
- Ealing Beer Festival, Ealing.
- Ealing Comedy Festival, Ealing. Ealing hosts an annual comedy festival in the summer. Speaking of comedy in Ealing, in the late 1940s and 1950s Ealing was famous for a series of comedy movies filmed there.
- 1 Questors, 12 Mattock Ln, Ealing, W5 5BQ, ☏ (Box Office), ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. The cinema is under reconstruction, said to include over 10 screens!.
- 2 Watermans Arts Centre, Brentford. The Watermans Centre is one of West London's finest arts and cultural venues. Watermans is especially noted for its promotion of Asian arts, particularly in the fields of visual arts, theatre and comedy. It also houses a leading independent cinema, gallery spaces and a noted Indian restaurant.
- 3 Brentford FC, Brentford Community Stadium, 166 Lionel Road North TW8 9QT. "The Bees" play in the Championship, the second tier of English soccer. They left their Griffin Park stadium in 2020 and now play at Brentford Community Stadium, capacity 17,250, which they share with London Irish rugby union club.
Shopping in West London is varies depending on area. Chiswick in particular has upmarket shops.
- 2 Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre, Ealing, W5 5JY (tube/train: ), ☏ . M-Sa: 9AM-7PM, Su: 11AM-5PM.
- Arcadia Centre, Ealing (Opposite Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre).
- 3 Intu Uxbridge (The Chimes, Uxbridge), High Street, Uxbridge (tube: ). M-W & F-Sa 09:30-19:00, Th 09:30-20:00, Su 11:00-17:00. Includes Debenhams, H&M, HMV, Next, Toys R Us, Boots, Chiquito, Frankie & Benny's, Odeon Cinema
- 4 The Pavilions, 18 Chequers Square, Uxbridge, UB8 1LN, ☏ . Home to many high street names including Marks & Spencers and Argos.
- 5 Treaty Centre, Hounslow (tube: ). Home to the usual retailers you find on many High Streets up and down the country including JD and Debenhams.
- 6 Bookcase, 268 Chiswick High Rd, Chiswick, W4 1PD (tube: or ), ☏ . 10am-6pm. A small independent bookshop with a lot of discounted books. Take a look at the tables outside as you pass by.
- 7 Foster Books, 183 Chiswick High Rd, Chiswick, W4 2DR (tube: ), ☏ . Th-Sa: 11am-5pm, M-W, Su: Closed. Antiquarian bookseller set in a small old-fashioned shop with a curved window. Apparently the oldest bookshop on the Chiswick High Road.
- The square in Ealing Broadway, Ealing. Often eventful, with beautiful decorations at Christmas time and musicians performing in the Summer. Christmas and Easter markets also take place in the shopping centre square.
Chiswick is an area of West London with a wide range of options. There are at least 30 restaurants in Chiswick. Chiswick High Road has the usual wide selection of fast food outlets and supermarket food. For the more discerning, an extensive range of restaurants and eateries exists for all tastes and budgets that makes Chiswick a definite destination for the gastronome.
- 1 Oddono's Chiswick, 159 Chiswick High Road, W4 2DT, ☏ . M-Th, Su: 10:30am-10pm, F-Sa: 10am-11pm. An Italian gelato chain, the ice cream is delious.
- 2 At Thai, 24 New Broadway, Ealing, W5 2XA, ☏ . M-Tu, Th-Sa: 11:30am-10pm; W,Su: 11:30am-9pm. Inexpensive Thai food with the same menu as Angrid Thai in Oxford. I recommend the cod panang and green curries, with prawn crackers.
- 3 High Road Brasserie, 162-164 Chiswick High Rd, Chiswick, ☏ . M-Th 7AM-midnight, F 7AM-1AM, Sa 8AM-1AM, Su 8AM-11PM. Highly reviewed in the local and national press. Menu includes brasserie classics, seafood platters, and fancy sandwiches. Daily set menu a real bargain at £15 a head for three courses. Three courses à la carte with wine averages £30-45.
- 4 La Trompette, 5-7 Devonshire Rd, Chiswick (tube: 418 m, 821 m), ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. Probably the best restaurant in West London, great value French cuisine, excellent wine list. Prix fixe at £23.50 lunch, £29 dinner, although an a-la-carte meal would generally be over £50.
You will never be short of a pub in West London. Upmarket bars and clubs are also plentiful.
- 1 The Aeronaut, 264 Acton High St., W3 9BH (walk north from Tube station), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-W noon-midnight, Th-Su noon-1AM, F Sa noon-1:30AM. Styled as a 'Pub, Brewery and Circus', the Aeronaut has been turning the Acton pub experience upside down. It was rated "London's Best Pub" by Design My Night Awards in 2018. This theme pub is inspired by Acton-born turn-of-the-century pilot, George Lee Temple (the first Englishman to fly an aeroplane upside down). Features its own micro-brewery and a program of cabaret acrobats and circus performers.
Pubs in the centre of Ealing tend to be lively and rather noisy.
- 2 The Drayton Court Hotel, 2 The Avenue, Ealing, W13 8PH (Opposite West Ealing Station), ☏ . Homely old fashioned pub.
- 3 The Haven Arms, 33 Haven Ln, Ealing, W5 2HZ (Near Ealing Broadway Station), ☏ . Homely old fashioned pub.
- 4 The North Star, 43 The Broadway, Ealing, W5 5JN (Near the tube station), ☏ . Slightly more upmarket and stocks a wide variety of draught beers.
Uxbridge is home to a many fine eateries and public houses. Many pubs are located along historic Windsor Street.
- 5 The Moon on the Square, 30 The Centre, High St, TW13 4AU (in the town centre), ☏ . M-Sa 8AM-midnight, Su 8AM-11PM. A Wetherspoon's chain pub.
Historically (and perhaps unsurprisingly, given its roots as an industrial working-class area) Brentford has been known as a "drinker's town". Indeed, it was long reputed that in the Victorian terraces surrounding the football ground, there was "a pub on every corner". To an extent this is still true today, with a sizable number of small drinking establishments still eking out a living in the backstreets to the west of the Ealing Road. Most are perfectly friendly to outsiders, while maintaining a core clientele of local drinkers, primarily men.
For the visitor to Brentford seeking a more eclectic drinking culture, pubs such as:
- 6 Magpie and Crown, 128 High St, Brentford, TW8 8EW (on the High Street, opposite the Magistrates' Court), ☏ . M-Sa: noon-midnight, Su: noon-11pm. Offers a fine selection of real ales and imported beer (including fruit beer on draught).
- 7 Old Firestation, 55 High St, Brentford TW8 0AH (also on the High Street), ☏ . M-Sa 5-11PM, Su closed. Appeals to a younger, more affluent crowd with its contemporary 'bar' vibe and award-winning cocktails.
- The Weir (on Market Place). Offers waterside al fresco drinking in its attractive beer garden, while the Brewery Tap (to be found hidden at the end of Catherine Wheel Road - don't give up looking!) is a tiny two-room pub offering traditional food, live jazz and a highly quirky clientele to those with a desire to discover something of Brentford's true character.
Visitors might to note that pubs such as the Albany Arms and Beehive are most heavily patronised by locals who might be less welcoming to outsiders than in the pubs noted above.
Beer-lovers with a taste for sampling local brews should note that many of Brentford's pubs are 'tied houses' (owned by the brewery rather than the landlord) serving Fuller's ales. Fuller's are a local brewers based in Chiswick (although serving a country-wide market for beers such as London Pride), less than 2 miles along the Thames. Drinkers can thus be assured that their pint of Fuller's is, if nothing else, both local and fresh.
With its proximity to Heathrow Airport, Uxbridge has some good hotels. Many independent pubs offering accommodation in the local area.
- 1 Caspian Hotel, 14 Haven Green, Ealing, W5 2UU (Opposite Ealing Broadway Stn), ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. On the slightly cheaper end of the scale. Doubles from £50.
- 2 London Guest House, 167 Horn Ln, Ealing, W3 6PP, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Doubles from £55.
- 3 Travelodge, Res Centre, High St, Feltham TW13 4GU (very close to Feltham train station and the shops), ☏ . Doubles from around £30.
- 4 The Bridge Hotel, Western Ave, Greenford, UB6 8ST, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. Doubles from £75.
- 5 Best Western Chiswick Palace & Suites, 73 Chiswick High Rd, Chiswick, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Doubles from £88.
- 6 Clayton Hotel Chiswick, 626 Chiswick High Rd, Chiswick, ☏ . 116 designer rooms. from £92.
- 7 St. Giles Heathrow Hotel, Hounslow Road, Feltham, Middlesex, TW14 9AD (very close to Feltham train station and the shops), ☏ . from £45.
- 8 Premier Inn (Premier Inn London Heathrow Airport (Bath Road) Hotel), Heathrow Airport Terminal 5, 420 Bath Road, Longford UB7 0EA (from west - M4 Junction 4, south on M4 to A4, then east to hotel; from east - M4 Junction 3 south on A312 (The Parkway), then west on A4 to hotel), ☏ . This hotel is just outside the northeast perimeter of Heathrow Airport. It is a very well maintained facility with excellent service. A free shuttle runs from the hotel to Heathrow's terminals on a routine schedule. This hotel has a full-service restaurant, and a Costa coffee shop. Basic WiFi is free and an upgrade can be purchased. Rooms from £50; parking is £10 per day.
|Routes through West|
|END ←||W E||→ Hammersmith and Fulham → Bloomsbury-Soho|
|Richmond-Kew (Richmond branch) ← END (Ealing branch) ←||W E||→ Hammersmith and Fulham → Westminster|
|END ← Uxbridge branch ←||W E||→ Uxbridge branch → North London → Bloomsbury-Camden|
|END ← Watford, Herefordshire ← Watford branch ←||W E||→ Watford branch → North London → Bloomsbury-Camden|
|END ← Chesham, Buckinghamshire ← Chesham branch ←||W E||→ Chesham branch → North London → Bloomsbury-Camden|
|END ← Amersham, Buckinghamshire ← Amersham branch ←||W E||→ Amersham branch → North London → Bloomsbury-Camden|
|West London ← North London ← Uxbridge branch ←||W E||→ Uxbridge branch → Hammersmith and Fulham → Westminster-Mayfair-Marylebone|
|END ← Heathrow Airport ← Heathrow branch ←||W E||→ Heathrow branch → Hammersmith and Fulham → Westminster-Mayfair-Marylebone|
|END ← Richmond-Kew ← North London Line ←||W E||→ North London Line → North London → Camden|
|Routes through West|
|Reading ← Heathrow Airport ←||W E||→ merges with → Central London|
|Oxford ← High Wycombe ←||NW E||→ merges with|
|Reading ← Heathrow Airport ←||W E||→ Hammersmith → Central London|
|Basingstoke ← Heathrow Airport ←||SW E||→ merges with → Central London|
|Oxford ← High Wycombe ←||NW E||→ Shepherd's Bush → Central London|