After becoming a booming industrial centre in the 20th century, Acton fell back to its quiet residential roots. It was then largely forgotten in favour of its better-known, more affluent neighbours.
But the area is now on the up. It’s part-way through a grand 15-year regeneration programme and will feature on the new high speed rail link, Crossrail, now named the Elizabeth Line, reducing the journey time to central London dramatically.
Find out more about west London by reading our detailed guide.
Living in Acton: what to expect
Acton’s shops and entertainment are largely centred around the High Street and Churchfield Road. The area boasts a vibrant nightlife thanks to the large number of pubs, many of which have live music nights and resident DJs.
Quiet residential roads filled with elegant Victorian and Edwardian terraced and inter-war family homes lead off the High Street and Churchfield Road. The most sought-after pockets are Poet’s Corner and the Mill Hill Park conservation area. In fact, some of the most striking properties, including an estate of 1920s mock Tudor homes, are preserved in several conservation areas.
The face of Acton has already changed dramatically since regeneration work began. It has a new leisure centre and the South Acton Estate is being completely rebuilt thanks to a £600m investment. It will have 2,500 new homes, half of which will be affordable, and will be divided by parks, squares and play areas.
Where to start your property search
One of the most sought-after areas is Poets Corner, where roads primarily consist of three- and four-bedroom terraces. Take a look at Shakespeare Road, Chaucer Road, Cowper Road, Milton Road and Goldsmith Road for easy access to Acton Park.
Head to the Mill Hill conservation area for early Victorian cottages as well as substantial Edwardian semis with landscaped gardens, original fireplaces and stained-glass windows.
For something slightly more modern, take a look at the houses in the Hanger Hill Gardens estate. This conservation area has a selection of striking 1930s mock-Tudor semis. Check out roads such as Tudor Gardens for four-bedroom terraces with spacious rooms or Princes Gardens for homes with airy bay windows.
For more period properties, widen your search to the rest of the western side of Acton. The area around Twyford Avenue is particularly popular thanks to its attractive Edwardian homes. Birch Grove has five-bedroom detached houses, some of which have appealing rear extensions leading into large gardens.
Alternatively, consider the large 1920s semi-detached properties with big bay windows, paved drives and extensive gardens on Carbery Avenue.
East Acton also has plenty of appealing properties, although they tend to be slightly smaller in size. The Green is a desirable area thanks to its appealing open green space and four-bedroom post-war terraces and semis. Alternatively, there are spacious family homes tucked down quiet cul-de-sacs such as Strelley Way.
If you’d prefer something new, take advantage of the wave of developments. The most notable is Acton Gardens, which is replacing the South Acton Estate. It will have a mix of contemporary apartments and homes set in landscaped surroundings. Breaking up the buildings will be a number of parks, squares and play areas as well as communal gardens and a new sports ground.
Getting around Acton
By rail: Acton is one of the best connected places in London.
Acton Main Line is linked to the First Great Western service, which provides trains to London Paddington and Hayes & Harlington. And once the new Crossrail service becomes fully operational, Acton Main Line will benefit from a fast, regular service east and west.
Alternatively, the Central Line on the London Underground can be accessed from East Acton, West Acton and North Acton stations. For other Tube lines, look to Acton Green and Acton Town. Acton Green station leads onto the District Line and Acton Town station connects to the Piccadilly Line as well as the District Line.
By car: The main road in the area is the A40, dubbed the Westway, which passes through East Acton and North Acton, linking London with Oxford.
To the west is the North Circular Road which, together with the South Circular Road, circles London. In Acton, it connects to the M4.
By air: Heathrow Airport is just a 23-minute drive away. It is home to 80 airlines, which provide flights to 185 destinations in 84 countries.
Things to do in Acton
History: The London Transport Museum Depot is based in Acton and is where the museum stores items that are not currently on display. A total of 320,000 items are held here, ranging from uniforms to trains and buses. Check the site’s calendar to visit on one of its select open days.
Sports: The Victorian Acton Swimming Baths have now been transformed into Acton Centre, a brand new leisure and sports facility. It has two swimming pools as well as a 100 station gym, two dance studios and a library. A sauna and tennis courts can also be found within the centre.
Outdoors: Gunnersbury Park is a popular green area comprising parkland, a 19th-century mansion with ponds, a formal Italian garden and a playground. Plans to refurbish the park are currently underway – the historical buildings will be restored and a new state-of-the-art sports hub will be constructed.
More centrally located is Acton Park, where there is a bowling green, tennis courts, playground, basketball/football court and climbing block.
Shopping: Acton's High Street acts as the area’s shopping hub. It has a large supermarket as well as a cluster of take-aways and pubs. Churchfield Road, which runs parallel, has a growing reputation for independent shops, such as butchers and bakers, and cafes.
There’s a market every Thursday, Friday and Saturday in the town centre, where you’ll find stands selling fruit, vegetables, jewellery, hot food and more.
Shopping options will be expanded in the next couple of years. The old Oaks Shopping Centre is currently undergoing a multi-million-pound regeneration.
Food and drink: One of the many pubs in the area is the Princess Victoria. Originally a gin palace, this traditional Victorian pub still boasts comforting period features such as wood fires. It prides itself on homemade specials, such as sausages and pies, and it also smokes and cures its own meat and fish. In keeping with its roots, it has a selection of 40 gin-inspired cocktails.
If you want to support local breweries and sample other cask ales, head to The George and the Dragon. This pub traces its history back to 1759, and its dark wood-panelled rooms and large fireplaces give it a sense of historical comfort. Go here for a hearty Sunday lunch and to sample the brews of the Dragonfly Brewery – go to the back to have a look at the brewing equipment.
Sophisticated wining and dining is offered at Vindinista, a classy wine bar. Accompanying the extensive wine list is a bevy of appetising bar meals and snacks, including cheese boards and charcuterie.
At one of the entrances to Acton Park is an eye-catching 28-foot-high statue. It’s called the Twilight Tree and it was carved out of a dying Dutch Elm tree, one of the last in the borough.
5 reasons to live in Acton
- Massive regeneration transforming the area
- Excellent transport links with a future connection to Crossrail
- Lively nightlife with plenty of pubs
- Period property
- Good local amenities
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