What’s it all about?
At the restless heart of Hammersmith where you’re surrounded by busy shopping centres, transport hubs and office developments, it’s surprising to remember that within a few minutes’ stroll you’ll find attractive riverside walks, tranquil parks and village like enclaves to explore. And for many, the appeal of the area lies in this heady contrast of the convenient and the cultivated. Unsurprisingly, this contrast has lured residents from all walks of life. Whether you’re a family looking for a period property within walking distance of some of the Capital’s most popular schools, or a young professional couple trying to get their foot on the West London property market, Hammersmith is sure to satisfy even the most niche request. Hammersmith has a multicultural population, partly owing to the French School at Brook Green. This has lent the area a buzzing cosmopolitan vibe, but it’s comforting to know that it’s easy to escape if the bustle gets too much, with the nearby A4 and excellent transport connections to Heathrow.
- Parts of Charles Dickens’ penultimate novel Great Expectations are set in Hammersmith.
- Hammersmith Bridge opened in 1887 and is the lowest bridge across the Thames in London, with a clearance of only 12ft at high tide.
- In 1740 the poet James Thomson wrote the words to patriotic song Rule, Britannia! at The Dove pub.
Architecture and property
Hammersmith’s advantageous riverside location and eponymous bridge meant it was an ideal place for industry to grow and develop. Since the 19th century, Hammersmith has been home to a distillery, sugar refinery, lamp factory and water pump factory, with property development gathering pace towards the end of the 19th century.
Today Hammersmith’s property market caters to its population of families and young professionals, with a market dominated by two distinct property types. Streets of large period homes abound, while at the other end of the spectrum buyers can choose from flats of all kinds, including conversions, mansion flats and new builds. Some of the most desirable homes are on roads leading off from the north of the station, such as Hammersmith Grove and Luxemburg Gardens. For views over the river, you can’t beat the terraced townhouses along Hammersmith Terrace. Particularly popular blocks of high end flats include Sovereign Court and Distillery Wharf.
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Eating and drinking: On the boulevard style Hammersmith Grove stop by Raoul’s Deli and Restaurant for classic brunch fare or The Grove, which has a gastropub feel. Among a scattering of riverside watering holes, The Dove is the most atmospheric with a history going back to the 17th century. Low beamed and with reputedly the tiniest bar in Britain, it is a popular spot from which to view the annual Boat Race as it heads towards Mortlake. Also by the Thames is the world class River Cafe, which launched the career of Jamie Oliver. Nearby Brackenbury Village has a thriving social scene and lots of lovely places to eat and drink.
Culture: The Riverside Studios is an arts centre with cinema, theatre and gallery. Currently undergoing a three year redevelopment, the studios began life as a Victorian factory. As well as an imaginative programme of performance, the Lyric Theatre has a roof garden where you can enjoy a sandwich and a contemplative moment high above the bustle of King Street below. For live entertainment from international stars, you can’t beat the Hammersmith Apollo.
- Hammersmith locals are never short of retail therapy opportunities. The main shopping areas are in the Broadway Mall, which fans out from the Tube station, King Street and King’s Mall – where you'll also find a large Sainsbury's. For quirkier neighbourhood and family run shops, head to Brackenbury Road where life is lived at a much more leisurely pace.
- There's a Tesco Metro, Sainsbury's Local and M&S Simply Food nearby.
- The Hammersmith Farmers’ Market takes place every Thursday in Lyric Square and sells typical organic fare as well as some unusual international delicacies.
- Keeping fit is easy in Hammersmith as locals have the choice of several gyms including a Virgin Active, Better Fitness and Squash Centre, and PureGym. Those who’d rather exercise outdoors need not worry with the Thames so nearby. Take your pick from the various rowing clubs, most of which welcome people of all abilities, or try dinghy sailing at the London Corinthian Sailing Club.
- Hammersmith Library is open daily and runs a collection of events for adults and children including, most uniquely, ‘Play Mandarin’ sessions to help children learn Mandarin.
With its central location, playing fields and picturesque lake, Ravenscourt Park provides a tranquil oasis amidst the activity of busy Hammersmith. Just a short walk from the station, it’s a popular spot for an after school walk or weekend picnic. Just across the river in Barnes, the London Wetland Centre is home to several important species of wildlife and is beloved by West London locals.
Hammersmith on the river
Head down to the river at The Mall, a waterside stretch featuring grand old merchants’ homes, including Kelmscott House, which was once the home of 19th century designer and artist William Morris. It’s a very fetching spot for a waterside wander, with views across to Barnes. Hammersmith’s riverside location allows locals to enjoy beautiful views as they stroll along the Thames, and there are several popular parks that stretch along the riverbank, including Furnival Gardens and the acres of Bishop’s Park.
Find out more about the perks of living on the river here.
Hammersmith has seen a swathe of new developments in recent years, mainly to cater to its growing population of young professionals. One of the most exciting is the King Street Regeneration proposal to improve the area around the Town Hall. These plans include construction of a new cinema, new build homes, a public square and retail units.
Tube: Hammersmith is very well connected by Tube, with four different lines connecting through Hammersmith station. The District, Piccadilly, Circle and Hammersmith & City Lines all serve Hammersmith, meaning locals have easy access to all corners of London.
Bus: Hammersmith station is a busy nexus for London buses and from here routes serve locations all across London. There are also several night buses and many others that run 24 hour services, including the 10 (to King’s Cross), 33 (to Fulwell) and 295 (to Clapham Junction).
Road: Hammersmith is located on the A4, which leads to the M4 in less than 15 minutes. From here, travel to the West of England is easy.
Cycle: It’s half an hour’s bike ride from Hammersmith to Piccadilly Circus, along mostly flat ground. Local group hfcyclists are a branch of the London Cycling Campaign whose active members support and campaign for cycling in Hammersmith.
Getting away: Heathrow Airport is half an hour’s drive away, with the journey by Tube taking a similar length of time.
Hammersmith has a wide range of education options across all age groups. For primary education there are John Betts Primary School and St Peters CofE Primary School. Hammersmith has an Academy school, as well as several state and independent secondary schools, including the Catholic Sacred Heart High School, Latymer Upper School and St Paul's Girls’ School.
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