Brook Green overview
What's it all about?
Nestled between the busy interchanges of Kensington Olympia and Hammersmith Broadway but set back from the hustle and bustle of both, Brook Green is a residential enclave with a contented and loyal local population living amid period properties, elegant mansion blocks and leafy streets. The picturesque avenues and outdoor spaces of Brook Green mean this slice of London is pleasantly apart from the chaos of the surrounding city. Despite this, Brook Green is in fact one of the most well connected parts of West London, located only a short walk from the busy transport hub that is Hammersmith station. Its four Tube lines and countless buses mean it’s never a struggle to get across the city or into central London for work. Back at home Brook Green locals are a close community, as evidenced in the area’s many local events and parents chatting on the school run. Blythe Road runs through it, an old fashioned street whose cute coffee shops tumble onto the pavements and smart boutiques attract shoppers from Brook Green and beyond. This is a neighbourhood with plenty going on to interest its diverse population and, whether they’re partial to early morning boxing bootcamps on the Green or a relaxed late night tipple, Brook Green locals are never short of entertainment.
One time director of music at St Paul’s Girls School Gustav Holst composed his most famous orchestral suite, The Planets, while teaching at the school. Built as the headquarters of the Post Office Savings Bank, the listed Blythe House is filled with treasures from the Victoria & Albert Museum, Science Museum and British Museum. Nearby Brackenbury Village is another charming area packed with artisan bakeries and family butchers.
Architecture and property
Fans of Brook Green's charming period architecture will find it hard to believe that this area was once an industrial centre home to the J Lyons food processing factory and the Osram lamp factory. Happily, this industry did not detract from Brook Green’s pleasant village atmosphere.
Many large family homes surround the Green itself, many of which have impressive bay windows with views across the lawns. There are also two blocks of elegant mansion flats, Queens Mansions and Phoenix Lodge Mansions. Four parallel streets, Netherwood Road, Lakeside Road, Addison Gardens and Bolingbroke Road, boast a lovely collection of painted terraced homes, while stylish flats and apartments abound along Holland Road and Shepherd’s Bush Road.
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Eating and drinking: Brook Green is a place of relaxed bistros and pavement cafes, of which Raoul's Deli is a classic example. The Brook Green Hotel on Shepherd’s Bush Road is a warm and welcoming roast beef and real ale kind of place, while also hiding a rather cool speakeasy style cocktail bar called Smith’s in its basement. At the other end of the Green is the Queen’s Head, a reliable local with a great beer garden. Masbro Road is the setting for a number of tasty looking pubs and restaurants including The Bird in The Hand and The Havelock Tavern, which has a walled garden. Kerbisher & Malt injects a bit of the seaside into Brook Green with their fab fish and chips, and there's a branch of Popeseye Steakhouse on Blythe Road.
Culture: A large artsy community rallies around the annual Brook Green Festival of Books in November, which has hosted appearances by such literary luminaries as PD James, Sebastian Faulks and Hanif Kureishi.
Concerts: Some of London's most iconic music venues are nearby at Hammersmith Apollo and Shepherd's Bush Empire. Since Earls Court Exhibition Centre closed in 2014 its displays and events have been moved to the nearby Olympia London. This vast venue hosts conferences, exhibitions and performances on themes ranging from travel to fashion, dance to property. It is also home to the famous International Horse Show in December, which was held for the first time in 1888.
- Keen shoppers love life in Brook Green, with its wealth of unique stores and fashion boutiques. Local independent shops and cafes cluster around Blythe Road, while a short walk or bus ride will deliver you to retail behemoth Westfield. Bliss Fields on Blythe Road is a great place to pick up a gift for the host en route to a sophisticated party, while Betty Blythe is the place to go for afternoon tea.
- Shepherd’s Bush Road is another mecca for Brook Green locals wanting to hit the shops. It has some fantastic antiques collections, boutiques and delicatessens. Brook’s Counter and Table is a brightly decorated cafe, where the friendly staff serve an excellent brunch.
- Not a big shopper? There’s plenty to keep locals of all inclinations entertained. The tennis courts at Brook Green are free to hire and 37° Olympia is a great gym with a pool and over 70 classes a week.
- Stock up on organic goodies and homemade treats at Brook Green Wild Food Market, which also runs interactive food demonstrations to encourage visitors to try something new. For quality meat and poultry, just across the busy A4 lies family butcher H G Walter.
- Hammersmith Library is open daily and runs events for adults and children including, most uniquely, ‘Play Mandarin’ sessions to help children learn Mandarin.
- One of the most vibrant community centres in London, the Masbro Centre attracts 2,700 visitors each week. It runs a befriending service for older people, an under fives centre, a youth club and a skills factory.
The eponymous park at the heart of Brook Green is a focal point for the community. The space is well loved by residents and families often meet by the children’s playground so the kids can run around while their parents relax under the leafy trees. Locals looking for a long walk or somewhere to play sports rarely have to travel far as Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park are just a stroll away. Riverside walks along the nearby Thames are also a popular weekend activity.
Earls Court Exhibition Centre closed its doors in 2014, and plans for an £8 billion redevelopment will have a significant impact on the surrounding area, including Brook Green. Designed by architect Sir Terry Farrell, the new development will include almost 8,000 new homes.
Tube: Brook Green doesn’t have its own Tube station, but is just a 10 minute walk from Hammersmith station, on the Circle, District, Piccadilly and Hammersmith and City Lines. A walk in the other direction, Kensington (Olympia) station is also on the District Line as well as on the Overground network and offers links to Clapham Junction, Shoreditch and Stratford.
Bus: Buses from Brook Green connect all over London. The 9 (to Aldwych), 10 (to King’s Cross), 27 (to Chalk Farm) and 391 (to Richmond) all serve Brook Green, as does the N9 night bus. There are several more services from nearby Hammersmith.
Road: It’s a 15 minute drive from Brook Green to the M4, and from there the M25 is just half an hour away.
Getting away: Brook Green’s great road access makes travel abroad easy, as getting to Heathrow takes only 25 minutes.
Brook Green is home to some of London’s most popular primary schools. Larmenier & Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School, Addison Primary School, John Betts Primary School and St Mary’s Catholic Primary School are all popular choices. The Ecole Française de Londres Jacques Prévert attracts a large French speaking contingent, while the independent St Paul's Girls' School boasts a string of high achieving alumni in the arts and acting.
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