Commune amongst the Friendly Community of Chiswick
Take a day off to amble amongst one of the most pleasant boroughs in London.
Chiswick has always been an affluent, calm area that provided entertainments and local goods to its middle-to-upper classed inhabitants. Much like its cousin Richmond, its design along the river Thames has given it a legacy of boat clubs and riverside pubs. The architecture boasts prime examples of Palladian design and the earliest example of English Landscape Gardens. Its situation as part of Greater London with easy access to Central may have been part of the reason why it has been such a popular area to raise a family in, and notables William Hogarth, Alexander Pope, W. B. Yeats, and the Pissarro family have all retreated there for a time. With a thriving shopping district, excellent selection of restaurants and cultural highlights, Chiswick is a great area to explore in a day.
Test out your eye for interiors at one of Chiswick’s many vintage furniture stores. Although Chiswick has a good overall High Street (bookstores, fashion, charity shops, butchers, the obligatory Starbucks etc.), the real reason for making the effort to embark upon a shopping trip there is to take advantage of the furniture stores which are in such close proximity to each other on the High Street. The Old Cinema has set up store in a converted Edwardian picture house and stays true to its turn of the century aesthetic. Excelling at Art Deco pieces, the Old Cinema sources antique, retro and vintage art and furniture, whilst also working alongside contemporary designers to ensure that whether you’re looking for a total re-design of your home study, or to pick up an unusual gift, you’ll find what you’re searching for in this eccentric centre. The High Road Auction House just a few doors down has a relatively similar feel to it, although it the objects it takes on covers more historical ground and are very much the selling backlog of locals. Its weekly auction changes content wildly depending on the time of year, so it is worth turning up to with an open mind. An added bonus is its café where you can grab a cup of coffee and a cake after perusing its wares. Decorexi Ltd, right between the two aforementioned establishments, are mirrored furniture specialists and also feature a lot of re-upholstered vintage items.
The deep-rooted culture of the area manifests itself in a decidedly domestic form. The Tabard Theatre is situated within a charming pub just on Turnham Green. Aside from the charmingly intimate theatre, the pub is best known for its William Morris interiors, and hosts regular open mic nights to offer a more casual alternative to a proper night at the theatre. Chiswick House is the centrepiece of cultural heritage in the area. The sumptuous interiors hold within their walls an impressive collection of Old Master paintings, and the garden is one of the most beautiful and rhythmically designed landscape walks in London. Right outside the historic house is a stimulating walk along the River Thames that easily leads to the Hammersmith area. During this promenade, you’ll encounter an assortment of twee high-quality pubs, Chiswick Yacht & Boat Club, and the Quintin Boat Club. The views are best described as ‘simply dashing’, allowing a decadent jug of Pimms in the summer and some fantastic mulled wine in the winter.
Chiswick has a far better restaurant scene than it is often given credit for. In such a small, largely suburban area, it seems surprising that there are two Michelin star restaurants within less than 500m between each other. La Trompette is a French-style charcuterie and seafood restaurant with a pleasingly clean and minimal interior which places all of your focus on the elegant dishes (their foie gras is held in high regard by critics). Its counterpart is Hedone, a Euro-fusion restaurant with a more laid-back vibe that is currently recognised as the world’s 60th best restaurant by the Michelin guide. The menu completely changes every other day and is utterly dependent upon what produce is available in the area so consistently retains the element of surprise. Aside from the Michelin-star residents, there are also the well-known Ngon: an alcohol-free Vietnamese restaurant with a cheery demeanour and vibrant dishes, and Michael Nadra: a stylish Modern Euro eatery that offers a satisfying multi-course meal for a reasonable price. Not to be missed is Outsider Tart, a New York pie shop that creates pure art from peanut-butter bases, serves bigger-is-better American comfort food, and even bakes specialist dog treats for that special Mr. Waggles in your life.