Photo: George Rex
With thespian delights, foodie favourites and perfect pubs, W6 is delish.
Why make the trip?
There’s more to this oft-maligned bit of west London than the Great West Road and a massive roundabout. It’s got watery vistas, riverside pubs and myriad arts offerings. There’s even an impressive suspension bridge that’s survived three IRA bombings.
Flickr: Cristiano Maia
So, what’s it got apart from that motorway?
Culture! Hammersmith’s got a handle on everything arts-wise. One of London’s greatest textile designers is immortalised at the William Morris Society and Museum (Upper Mall). For affordable and varied thespery, The Lyric (King Street) is hard to beat, while The Polish Theatre (King Street) does justice to the area’s significant Eastern European community. And, of course, there’s The Apollo (Queen Caroline Street) for some of the hottest music tickets in town.
Culture schmulture, I need food!
If you want to stuff your face with organic everything, check out the farmers’ market in Lyric Square on a Thursday (8am-5pm); this global epicurean extravaganza has been around for nearly a decade and is credited as one of the original champions of the street-food craze. The River Café (Rainville Road) has carved out an unshakeable rep among foodies as one of London’s premier Italian haunts for nearly 30 years; its indulgent Chocolate Nemesis is off the scale. The Gate (Queen Caroline Street) does vegetarian fare so delicious you might just make like Morrissey and declare meat murder.
And to quench my thirst…
When it comes to pubs, Hammersmith pulls out all the stops. Just head to the river. Dating back to the seventeenth century, The Dove (Upper Mall) is cosy, historic and awash with fine real ales. Easy on the eye, the Blue Anchor (Lower Mall) looks as nautical as it sounds, and definitely isn’t rhyming slang for anything. Urbanites should check out gastropub The Stonemasons Arms (Cambridge Grove) – it’s not far from The Apollo, so handy for a pre-gig shandy.
Where can I let my hair down?
After-hours drinking dens (decent ones, that is) are scarce. But the exposed-brick and red-velvet environs of Smith’s (Shepherd’s Bush Road) aren’t too shabby. Here in the basement of the Brook Green Hotel, expert mixologists will whip you up a bespoke cocktail if you want to make things personal.
And if I only do one thing?
That dirty old river looks remarkably cleaner as it rolls through Hammersmith. Take a stroll on the waterfront and be sure to stop for a pint along the way.
By April Clare Welsh, who used to hang around Riverside Studios in the hope of seeing a ‘TFI Friday’ celeb.
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