West London: A Visitor's Guide

 

Traditionally seen as one of the most exclusive and upmarket areas of the capital, West London is a mix of the old and the new; of grand public spaces and quiet suburban neighbourhoods. The area offers something to suit all tastes, from the imposing regency buildings of Kensington to the cosmopolitan trendiness of Notting Hill. Because of its plentiful green spaces and more suburban feel, West London is generally seen as more family-friendly than the city centre.

 

What to Do in the Evenings

There are a variety of places to eat and drink in West London. Just off Kensington High Street, Maggie Jones’ is a local favourite. It serves rustic British food in a barn-themed restaurant. Everything, from the traditional china dinner set to the baskets hanging from the ceiling, captures the spirit of the British countryside. The Electric Diner on Portobello Road in Notting Hill is a glorious slice of Americana in the centre of London. Here you can enjoy chilli dog, a burger (or, of course, a salad!) on red leather sofa in an American-style diner. For drinks, why not try the Blue Bar at the Berkeley in Knightsbridge? Here you can enjoy an impressive menu of classic and contemporary cocktails in surroundings to match.

If you’re looking to see a show, the Royal Albert Hall offers a packed schedule of entertainment, from classical music to stand up. Alternatively, you could enjoy a film at the Gate Picturehouse, a gorgeous vintage cinema in Notting Hill Gate.

 

What to Do on the Weekend

West London is home to some of the most famous attractions in London. South Kensington is home to some of the most impressive museums in London, all of which are free to visit. The Natural History Museum showcases the wonders of the natural world, including a 25-metre blue whale skeleton and a spectacular collection of dinosaur fossils. The Science Museum explores (as you might expect) the world of science, from steam engines to satellites. The Victoria and Albert (or V&A) Museum covers art and design, from Da Vinci’s notebooks to artwork by Constable and Raphael.

A little bit further afield, Kew Botanical Gardens makes for a great family-friendly day out. It’s got the largest botanical collection in the world, including over 30,000 types of plants housed in stunning Victorian glass greenhouses. Highlights include the rainforest environment in Palm House, the stunning Broad Walk and a treetop walkway nearly 20 metres above the ground. You can get there from the Centre via the District Line or overground services. The journey usually takes around 30 minutes.

If what you need is some retail therapy, Westfield London in White City might be the best medicine! With 400 stores over 2000m2 of floorspace, you’re bound to find something you love here. For those with more eclectic tastes, Shepherds Bush Market is also nearby, offering an extraordinary range of products, from clothing to exotic fruit.

 

Transport

The area is well connected to the rest of London. The Circle, District and Piccadilly Lines all run through the area, connecting it to central London and the West End (for more information on London tube transport, visit: TFL tube map). Victoria and Paddington Stations also provide access to mainline rail services.

A regular bus service runs in and out of West London, continuing late into the evening. Victoria Coach Station also provides easy access to coach services, including National Express services.

Alternatively, why not rent a bicycle from one of the local hire shops? Cycling is an increasingly popular way to get around London and Transport for London’s new Cycle Superhighways are making it safer and easier to bike around the city.