What’s it all about?
Set above a looping section of the Thames, Chiswick is a riverside village turned desirable suburb, where attractive period properties and generous green space line up alongside a vibrant mix of shops and restaurants to lure residents in for the long term. The area’s genteel charms, though, don’t mean it’s off the transport map. With good road connections, links to Heathrow and only a half hour’s journey from the West End, the area is a commuter’s paradise. In addition, the schools and pretty period homes lure families, while young professionals are drawn to the bustling Chiswick High Road and proximity to the Thames. These new residents add even more vibrancy and diversity to what historically was a creative area. For many years Chiswick was a stronghold of artsy liberals, and several Bedford Park homes were initially built with artists’ studios to cater to this population. Evidence of a progressive attitude is seen in the very structure of these homes – very few properties in this corner have cellars, a relic from the days when liberal leaning residents would choose to house their servants in the attic rather than the basement. Today residents from all walks of life have formed a strong, peaceful community, interrupted just once a year when Chiswick’s riverside location brings hordes of spectators to its eponymous bridge, which marks the finishing point of the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race.
- One of only four along the Thames, Chiswick has its own lifeboat station.
- Chiswick gets its name from the Old English for ‘cheese farm’.
- Chiswick Bridge was opened by the Prince of Wales in 1933, and now marks the finishing point of the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race.
- Beer has been brewed on the site of the Fuller’s Griffin Brewery on the bank of the Thames at Chiswick for 350 years.
- The Battle of Turnham Green, an early English Civil War skirmish of 1642, ended in stalemate, saving London from Royalist attack.
- Ant and Dec live in Chiswick just 150 metres from each other.
Architecture and property
Chiswick locals are passionate about their neighbourhood’s property and have campaigned to protect its beautiful homes for decades. Thanks to these efforts, pretty Victorian cottages, large Edwardian homes and elegant Georgian riverside properties have been preserved. One particularly vocal resident was poet John Betjeman, who described Bedford Park as ‘the most significant suburb built in the last century, probably the most significant in the western world’.
Indeed Bedford Park is thought to be the world’s first garden suburb, with several properties designed by iconic architect Richard Norman Shaw in the 1870s. His houses have retained their picturesque red brick frontages and line the streets around The Avenue, including Fielding Road and Whellock Road. Some of the area’s largest detached homes can be found on Milnthorpe Road and Grove Park Gardens and often boast off street parking and large gardens. More modest housing can be found in the area’s modern blocks of flats and apartments such as those along Chiswick High Road.
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Eating and drinking: The wide boulevard like Chiswick High Road offers the main supply of shops, cafes and restaurants, including a branch of Neapolitan pizza sensation Franco Manca. Tables spill out onto the pavement, providing lots of opportunity for people watching. Away from the chains, cherished local eateries include the sophisticated yet welcoming La Trompette on the neighbourly Devonshire Road and the Michelin starred Hedone on the High Road. Pleasant riverbank watering holes serve pints of London Pride from Fuller’s historic Griffin Brewery, a site that has been producing beer since the time of Oliver Cromwell. Chiswick has more than its fair share of good patisseries, including Patisserie Valerie, Maison Blanc and Outsider Tart.
Culture: Chiswick House and its landscaped gardens are open to the public, as is the one time home of William Hogarth, the 18th century artist and satirist whose Chiswick country retreat was a world away from the seedy side of London life he’s famous for depicting. There’s a lively comedy scene and the Headliners Comedy Club at The George IV pub is popular with locals on Friday and Saturday nights. Children and adults alike love the classes at Chiswick Theatre Arts, while those who prefer to stay in the audience make for the Tabard Theatre.
Outdoors: There’s plenty to interest sporty types with tennis courts, golf course, playing fields and rowing clubs all close by. Dukes Meadows Golf and Tennis is a local favourite.
- Walking into Fosters’ Bookshop is like taking a step back in time. Based in the oldest shop on Chiswick High Road, the family run business specialises in old and rare texts, as well as illustrated children’s books.
- For everyday reading, locals can pop into Chiswick Library on Duke’s Avenue.
- The Food Market Chiswick is popular with families looking to fill their kitchens with the finest fresh produce. Stalls include artisanal cheese company Norbiton's Cheese Yard, poultry specialist Richard Waller and coffee expert Weanie Beans.
- Chiswick High Road, stretching from Chiswick Roundabout almost all the way to Hammersmith, is packed with lovely shops and cafes. The Old Cinema is any local’s first stop for home furnishings, while High Road Auctions is a great place to find unique antiques.
- Chiswick has lots of options for exercise, including several swimming pools including the New Chiswick Pool and The Chiswick Riverside.
Chiswick locals regularly refer to their neighbourhood as a countryside paradise. The local parks are some of the finest in West London, for both their outdoor spaces and as well as cultural and sporting attractions. Chiswick House and Gardens recently benefited from a £12.1 million restoration project and the ornate landscapes of its gardens are not to be missed. For more rustic beauty, the Gunnersbury Triangle is an important nature reserve located amongst picturesque natural woodland, while Dukes Meadows Park boasts gorgeous views across the river. Turnham Green is situated near Chiswick High Road and holds local community events including a funfair and charity sales.
Chiswick on the river
The upmarket village of Chiswick has restaurants and pubs aplenty for those wishing to sit by the river and enjoy the views. At low tide it’s possible to walk out to the uninhabited Chiswick Eyot Island, and the stretch of the Thames Path that runs from Chiswick Mall to Kew Bridge is perfect for a quiet and relaxed stroll. Those who prefer to stay active can also find lots to do, with an array of activities based on the river, including canoeing, rowing and sculling clubs.
Find out more about the perks of living on the river here.
In recent years Chiswick has seen several new property and retail developments, including Chiswick Gate, a collection of apartments and townhouses arranged around private gardens. The 5,000 sq ft of retail space on the Chiswick High Road by Q Developments is sure to enhance the vitality of this busy shopping street.
Tube: Two Tube stations serve Chiswick. Chiswick Park is in Zone 3 on the District Line and Turnham Green sits on the border of Zones 2 and 3 on both the District and Piccadilly Lines. Journeys from Chiswick Park to Victoria take 22 minutes, and it’s 30 minutes from Turnham Green to King’s Cross.
Rail: Services from Chiswick station to Waterloo take less than half an hour. Trains also run to Victoria in 31 minutes via Clapham Junction.
Bus: Chiswick is well connected by bus with routes serving Camden Town (27), Greenford (E3), Richmond (391) and Hammersmith (190). Both the 27 (to Chalk Farm) and the 94 (to Piccadilly Circus) are 24 hour services, and there are night buses to Heathrow (N9) and Liverpool Street (N11).
Road: The busy A4 passes through Chiswick and the M4 motorway begins there, providing a direct link to Heathrow taking around 20 minutes.
Cycle: It’s a straight cycle on just three roads to reach Victoria. The journey along Chiswick High Road, Hammersmith Road and Kensington Road takes less than 40 minutes.
Chiswick has some of the best regarded primary schools in West London, including Belmont Primary School, Grove Park Primary School and St. Mary's Catholic Primary School. Chiswick’s state secondary school is called Chiswick School. Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber is president of the Arts Educational School in Chiswick, a performing and visual arts school for pupils between 11 and 18. There are also a number of private schools in the area such as the Chiswick and Bedford Park Preparatory School and the Falcons School for Boys.
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