This week, we venture west with a guest post: Samantha Veal has lived in Shepherd’s Bush for two years, after living in various different areas of south London and says, “I really really like it round here. I’m still discovering new places to go and things to see, so please feel free to give acres of feedback on my choices”. So what are her top ten best things to do in the Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham?
1. Best Shopping
The behemoth, Westfield dominates but it hasn’t sucked the retail life from the area. King Street in Hammersmith has its own selection of great shops, and Fulham Broadway isn’t too shabby either, both for chains and smaller independents. Shepherds Bush Market runs alongside the tube tracks from Goldhawk Road to Uxbridge Road and is vibrant, friendly and well-stocked. One of my favourite supermarkets is Damas Gate, which has a wonderfully huge selection of fruit and veg, and lots of inviting-looking products (I love their Rose Jam, which my friend described as “like having Turkish Delight on toast”)
2. Best Pub(s)
The Dove and The Blue Anchor in Hammersmith tie as they both have a gorgeous riverside location, but can get busy accordingly. Runner up is The Crabtree in Fulham which is also waterside but a lot quieter (unless it’s match-day at The Cottage) plus it has squashy sofas, a wonderful riverside terrace and an excellent selection of beers and spirits. The Defector’s Weld in Shepherd’s Bush is a good pre-gig meeting spot but also a top venue in its own right.
3. Best Attraction
The Thames! Riverside walks are a must (there’s lots of clear signposting); one of my favourites is from Fulham Palace, through Bishop’s Park and then along the river through Wandsworth to Battersea.
4. Best Local Historical Happening
White City gets its name from The Franco- British Exhibition of 1908 – the exhibition buildings built on the site were all painted white. As a history buff, this rocks my world. I’d have loved to have seen it.
5. Best Park
Ravenscourt Park, Hammersmith is my personal favourite and has a lovely peaceful walled garden. Bishop’s Park, Fulham runs a close second for the amazing views and riverside location – pack a picnic if it’s a sunny day.
6. Best Architecture
Fulham Palace – the former summer retreat of the Bishops of London – was once enclosed by the largest moated site in England. Its Great Hall dates from 1495. You can visit the Palace and gardens five afternoons a week and admission is free.
Home of Fulham FC, Craven Cottage gets a special mention but there are some wonderful buildings dotted around the borough. White City station has lovely art deco lines, and I adore the Guinness Trust and Peabody Buildings at the top of Fulham Palace Road.
BBC Television Centre is stunning and iconic. Get on the Beeb’s audience list for show recordings ASAP so you can marvel at the ‘electric donut’ and see the TARDIS in the car park before the thing empties and is sold.
7. Best Easy To Reach Bits Of Countryside
The borough as a whole is a brilliant hub for easy-to-reach scenic splendour. The Barnes Wetlands Centre is a bus journey away, as are Putney Heath and Wimbledon Common.
8. Best Gig Venue
I have never had a bad experience at Shepherd’s Bush Empire. Even for it’s relative size, it feels intimate and atmospheric and is an amazing gig venue. Beautiful Bush Hall runs a close second and I also heart Hammersmith Odeon (and refuse to call it The Apollo).
9. Best Eats
So many choices! For veggies, it has to be The Gate in Hammersmith. When you’re feeling swanky, it’s got to be the famous River Café in Fulham. Ginglik’s a must, just for the setting: an old public toilet under Shepherd’s Bush Green. Uxbridge Road has a plethora of restaurants and it’s rumoured that the falafel served in Bush Market is the best in London.
10. Most ridiculous statue.
Agree, disagree? Leave us your comments.
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