So what’s with all the buzz about Chiswick, house prices have gone through the roof and it seems to be more popular than ever. It doesn’t surprise me, with it’s excellent selection of bars and restaurants including two that are Michelin starred, it’s proximity to the river and good transport links into central London it seems to have it all, so lets find out if it does.
Chiswick House & Gardens is one of the areas biggest attractions. The magnificent neo – Palladian villa was built by the Earl of Burlington in 1729. The house is open on selected days and there is a small charge to enter visit www.chgt.org.uk for more information. The gardens however are free and are a welcome retreat from the busy Chiswick High Road. I really like just wandering around here, maybe stopping for a coffee (there’s a coffee shop in the grounds) or on a nice summers day bring a picnic and just chill out.
I love the river at Chiswick from the very grand houses along Chiswick Mall to the more quirky and picturesque riverside of Strand on the Green, it’s just nice to walk and take in the view and if you fancy a little bit of refreshment there’s a few pubs along the way too. One of my personal favourites is The City Barge at Strand on the Green (they do great food) right opposite Oliver’s Island where it’s said Oliver Cromwell took refuge.
Back on the Chiswick High Road is where you’ll find a lively and busy shopping area, a lot of the big national chains are represented here but you’ll also find a good selection of local and independent retailers as well as an excellent selection of bars, restaurants and coffee shops. A real gem at the Hammersmith end of the High Road is Outsider Tart, a small shop which sells a wonderful selection of tasty American baked goods, I often stop by here for a coffee and a cake.
Just across the road is another popular haunt of the Chiswick locals, The Roebuck, I have to say the food here is very good and there’s always a good atmosphere with a friendly local crowd. In the warmer weather there’s a huge beer garden out the back.
If you walk down the High Road a little towards Turnham Green Terrace you’ll come to a few of my favourite places. First up The Old Cinema, an antique emporium which actually was an old cinema! It’s a great place to spend some time just browsing around they’ve got some amazing stuff in there and their stock changes regularly.
Right next door is High Road House part of the Soho House group, a hotel and private members club but for those of us that aren’t members we can use the High Road Brasserie, the public restaurant belonging to the hotel. This has to be the best place for breakfast in Chiswick, the food is fresh and tasty, my personal recommendation, Eggs Benedict. It’s great to sit outside, even in the cold weather (they have very efficient heaters) and watch the world go by as you dine.
Still hungry? Well this one’s cheap and cheerful but extremely good. Franco Manca’s sells fresh sourdough pizzas and they are excellent. The menus limited, it’s fast, it’s noisy and it’s busy but I promise you the pizzas are great. They also do takeout if you’d prefer to eat in peace.
If you turn right at the next junction you come onto Turnham Green Terrace, it’s packed with small shops and restaurants, a few worth a mention are Fouberts Ice Cream Parlour, Philip Neal Chocolates, Charlotte’s Bistro and Hack & Veldt Deli.
If you keep walking up you’ll see the beautiful Saint Michael & All Angels Church which is the start of the historic conservation area of Bedford Park described as the world’s first garden suburb. It really is worth walking around the streets to look at some of the stunning houses, now worth several million pounds, that line them. The white painted wooden fences, the ornate architecture and the tree lined roads all go to make it a very pretty part of Chiswick.