Diverse and leafy, west London has a lot going for it. Will it draw you in?
It boasts leafy parks and green spaces, top schools, handsome architecture, handy transport connections, and plenty of shops, bars, restaurants, cafes and markets.
The average house price is hovering at a hefty £1,051,000, which means you will need deep pockets. However, this is still less expensive than central London (you can check out the latest prices here).
Living in west London: what to expect
Many parts of west London ooze history and old world charm. But not wanting to be outdone by the regeneration in the east of the capital, it is also embarking on plenty of development. The Old Oak Common project is one of the biggest since the Olympics and includes plans to build 24,000 homes, all of which will have access to the high speed Crossrail link, known as the Elizabeth line.
Where to start your property search
Here is a run-down of some residential hotspots. If your budget is slightly more limited, look to areas further west. The closer to central London, the higher the price tends to be.
Hammersmith: This neighbourhood has a busy shopping centre at its heart, but it also has quiet leafy streets and riverside walks. Some of the most sought-after homes can be found along the river. For a terraced townhouse with enviable river views, look at Hammersmith Terrace.
And for fine homes near the station, head to Hammersmith Grove and Luxemburg Gardens.
High-end flats are also available in the Sovereign Court and Distillery Wharf developments.
Ealing: If you’re looking for convenient access to the Tube, consider this district. It has four Tube stations and will benefit from a Crossrail connection. Ealing Village is the most desirable area and contains attractive 1930s Art Deco homes. For period properties, including grand five- and six-bedroom Victorian detached homes, try Mount Park Conservation Area. And for flats, Ealing Common or The Apex and The Curve blocks.
Chiswick: This former riverside village is now a popular London suburb with stately period homes and good road connections. Find elegant red-brick houses from the 1800s on The Avenue, Fielding Road and Whellock Road, and Georgian riverside properties in Bedford Park. Some of the largest detached homes are available on Milnthorpe Road. Brand new townhouses and flats are also on the market in the Chiswick Gate development.
Notting Hill: Made famous by the film of the same title, starring Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts, this area is famed for its brightly coloured houses and vibrant community. Look on Lansdowne Road, Stanley Crescent, Elgin Crescent and Blenheim Crescent for bay-windowed terraced homes with communal gardens, or opt for modern flats on streets such as St Luke’s Road and Westbourne Gardens.
Greenford: The small town centre is surrounded by inter-war houses and Victorian terraces. Look on Whitton Avenue West for 1920s and 1930s terraces, and Chinnor Crescent for comfortable detached or semi-detached homes. For something more affordable, check out the maisonettes and flats on Goring Way or the one- and two-bedroom apartments in the new Red Lion Court estate.
West Drayton: This is a busy commuter hotspot that will benefit from a Crossrail connection. The Green, in the centre, is framed by historic cottages and spacious Victorian and Edwardian detached homes. New homes are also available – check out the 775 new houses and apartments in the Drayton Garden Village.
Hounslow: Its credentials have recently been boosted by plenty of regeneration work and house building. Kingsley Road and Hounslow High Street are both popular for their good transport links. Quieter roads with off-road parking include Bristow Road and Inwood Avenue.
Getting around west London
By rail: The area is served by seven Tube lines, including the District, Piccadilly, Central and Circle lines, which all take you into central London.
Crossrail will be operating in central London in December 2018, with a full service through to Reading due to start in December 2019.
By car: The M4 acts as the area’s main artery. It starts in Chiswick and traverses west London into Berkshire, where it also connects to the M25. The A40 is another busy road that heads north west from Paddington before joining the M40 in the Colne Valley Regional Park.
Congestion charges operate in areas such as Notting Hill. However, if you’re a local resident, you do get a 90% discount.
By air: West London is home to Heathrow Airport, the UK’s busiest airport. From here, you can fly to 185 destinations in 84 countries, including New York, Dubai and Hong Kong.
Things to do in west London
History: Chiswick House and Gardens is one of the earliest examples of neo-Palladian design in England. You can see Old Master paintings inside the house or wander the 65 acres of Grade I-listed gardens.
Cultural: Multicultural celebrations include Diwali, which is celebrated in style in the centre of Southall. Known as ‘Little India’, this area enjoys the Festival of Lights with fireworks displays as well as special food and drink events.
Other famed events include the Notting Hill Carnival. Every August Bank Holiday, Notting Hill hosts Europe’s biggest street festival with a parade of floats, steel bands and Calypso music.
The West End’s theatres and bars are well within reach, but west London has its own fringe theatre. See the best at Finborough Theatre, which hosts new and revived works in its intimate 50-seater auditorium.
Outdoors: West London is home to lots of green spaces big and small. They include the intimate walkways of the Gunnersbury Triangle, where paths follow former railway lines and are now home to many woodland birds and animals.
Wormwood Scrubs is another popular green spot. It extends over 67 hectares and is Hammersmith and Fulham’s largest open space. Look out for birds and wildflowers in spring.
Or try the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, which boast 130 hectares of gardens, a treetop walkway and tropical glasshouses where temperatures can hit 27°C.
For a more extensive green space, head across the river to Richmond Park. It’s the largest of the capital’s royal parks and has herds of red and fallow deer. Alternatively, Colne Valley Regional Park flanks the borough of Hillingdon.
Shopping: Westfield London shopping centre has 255 stores including Apple, Debenhams and French Connection, as well as restaurants and a cinema. It also has a section devoted to high-end shops and designer outlets.
Fresh produce can be picked up at the weekly Food Market Chiswick. Every Sunday, 25 top producers set up stalls selling baked goods, charcuterie, gifts and cards.
Portobello Market is one of the most famous street markets in the world and is the place to look for antiques and vintage clothes. All the stalls are out on Saturdays and extend to nearly one kilometre. Fresh fruit and vegetables are also on sale from Monday to Friday.
Food and drink: For food on the go, head to Southall and pick up some Indian and Pakistani street food. Alternatively, wander the stalls lining Portobello Road. Look for eateries such as Boom Burger, which was once a food truck. It serves burgers inspired by Caribbean cuisine – try its signature ‘Boom Burger’ on a first-time visit.
If you want a high-end meal, check out one of the area’s Michelin-starred restaurants. Kitchen W8 holds one star and serves modern English food with a French twist. The Ledbury is also worth booking – it holds two Michelin stars and has an exciting tasting menu and a la carte offering including dishes such as roasted cauliflower with lobster cream.
Hidden west London
Visit Westbourne Park Road and find the flat in which William Thacker (played by Hugh Grant) lived in the film Notting Hill. The original blue door was auctioned for charity but has been replaced by a lookalike.
4 reasons to live in west London
Excellent travel links including the new Crossrail route
Packed with green spaces and parks
Variety of homes, from stately period properties to contemporary flats
Range of amenities
Have you been keeping an eye on the property market in west London? Tell us why in the comments below…