Chiswick – a fine place to stay in London

Relaxed, elegant and surprisingly rural, it’s hard to believe that Chiswick is within London’s zone 2. Much of its fame comes from the annual Oxford and Camrbidge Boat Race, when all the world clusters on Barnes Bridge to cheer on their chosen shade of blue.

When I first heard about this part of town from a friend, I must confess to having gone a bit blank. I’d lived in London for ten years, and I had no real concept of the place. My mistake! Chiswick is lovely, it’s uncrowded, it’s green and there’s a sense of festivity that only being built along one of the world’s greatest rivers can bring. It’s not just the rowers, although they’re shooting up and down all year round, all sorts of boats chug past, there are gulls, geese and even the odd heron.

Chiswick House Photo: Diamond Geezer on Flickr

Chiswick House in London

The name Chiswick is thought to derive from ‘Cheese Farm’  – an annual fair on Dukes Meadows. This land, sloping down to the Thames, remains protected; an actual meadow so close to the centre of London seems an impossibility, but there it is, grassy knolls, birdsong and all. For more manicured delights, nearby Chiswick House, built in 1729, is a true English country pile. Stroll through the hot houses, admire the Palladian architecture and then retreat to the café for a well-earned cream tea.

Chiswick’s charm lies in its combination of country village and capital city. The houses, especially down by the river, are tall and stately, and interspersed which almost absurdly romantic pubs; the view from the balcony of the Old Ship may just have you leaping to propose.

Chiswick Bridge Photo: Jim Linwood on Flickr

Chiswick Bridge in London

I love a decent farmers’ market, and Chiswick’s is one of the best I’ve found. Held in the grounds of Grove Park Farm House, you can buy fresh fish, cheese and organic veg direct from the producers. And then, on the first Sunday of every month, I head on to the car boot sale at Chiswick Community School, one of the largest in England. For the uninitiated, car boot sales are giant, unruly markets, where you can buy anything from an old CD rack to a Clarice Cliff jug. Chiswick being a pretty affluent spot, I’ve found it especially good for fashion; I’ve picked up spotless cashmere cardigans for less than a fiver. Having said that, you’ll need to be a pretty dedicated bargain hunter. With literally hundreds of stalls to rootle through, allow yourself plenty of time.

Places to stay in Chiswick with One Fine Stay

Places to stay in Chiswick with One Fine Stay

So a strong community, then, and one that’s ready to welcome you. You could commute out from the centre of London, but why not take advantage of all this space and that proximity to the river and bed down alongside the lucky locals?

One Fine Stay, a company offering a clever hotel alternative, has no fewer than five homes in Chiswick, from pretty two bedroom flats right up to five bedroom Victorian mansions.

My thanks for this article to One Fine Stay where you can stay in a unique London home – article written by Harriet Levy

More things to see in West London

The botanical travels of Marianne North at Kew Gardens
The view from Richmond Hill
Down by the river in Richmond

Photo Credits: Chiswick House by Diamond Geezer, Chiswick Bridge by Jim Linley, Plces to stay in Chiswick from One Fine Stay

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  • Reply
    Gary Bembridge
    July 31, 2012 at 5:54 am

    Heather. Agree! We live in Chiswick, and moved here from Ealing about 7 years ago. It is a fabulous part of London. As you say, it has a village feel but is at the same time sophisticated and busy.

    Some other things of note:

    (1) The High Road is chock full of amazing restaurants and roads off it like Devonshire Road have trendy and quirky craft shops.

    (2) Celebrity. Chiswick is where many TV, Film and Music stars live. You will usually see people you recognise from these strolling down the street or in the restaurants. Probably the best known star is Colin Firth, and his wife who runs and owns a shop on the High Street. He can sometimes be seen entertaining current co-stars to dinner on the High Street. But just as much you will see everyone from Sophie Ellis Bexter through Sheila Hancock to Sky News Presenters..

    (3) Bedford Park. This is a part of Chiswick by Turnham Green Tube and most of the houses are Grade II listed and designed by Famous Architects from the late 1800s. This is a very sought after area as large family homes, and where people like Colin Firth and other stars of film and TV live.

    (4) Events. One other thing is that every year there are some well established events that are very well organised, free to the community and have become a real part of Chiswick Life. These are:

    Bedford Park Festival. Held on the Acton Green Park opposite Turnham Green Station and in the Church opposite are 2 weeks of literary events and a huge 2 day fair. June.

    Chiswick Summer Fair. Held on the High Road in Turnham Green Park (yes bit confusing that Turnham Green Park is not at Turnham Green!). Held by the church in the park this is a large fair with a large tent with all day events by the local ArtsEd and other groups. Famous for its Charity Auction. July.

    Chiswick Dog Show. Held in Chiswick Park near the House by the Chiswick Dog Walking Group. This is a fun day with a series of rings where local dog owners can enter their dogs, dog displays, stalls and other events. Very popular. September.
    Gary Bembridge´s last blog post ..Cruising the Norwegian Fjords: Stavanger "The Oil Capital of Norway"

    • Reply
      August 2, 2012 at 11:14 pm

      @Gary – You are a mine of information on Chiswick! thanks so much. My parents live in Richmond and I’m tempted to do a bit of shopping in Chiswick in the hope of bumping into Colin Firth.

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