West London is that part of Greater London that is located generally west of Central London and the West End (beyond Zone 1 on the Tube) and north of the River Thames. Several riverside areas south of the Thames, such as Richmond, Kew, Putney and Barnes, although properly part of South West London are often considered natural extensions of this area based on their geography and close associations (transport, culture) with West London as a whole.
West London's obvious popularity with travellers and short- to mid-term residents (backpackers, working holiday makers, etc.) can be explained by a number of factors, not least its proximity to Heathrow International, London's largest airport, and its multiple, easy transport connections with the West End and Central London.
The geography of West London is dominated by the River Thames as it winds its way eastward from the Lower Thames Valley towards the sea... The river is a focus of life for many in West London, a place for riverside walks, cycling, rowing, sailing and pubbing....
West London is itself made up of numerous suburbs and satellite towns. Of these, several quite distinct areas are particularly popular with travellers and backpackers, for their attractions, their facilities and their many accommodation options:
- Acton - an area popular with visiting Australians, New Zealanders and South Africans, both short and long term
- Chelsea - the heart of "Swinging Sixties" London
- Chiswick - leafy, trendy, affluent
- Ealing - transport hub, popular with Japanese visitors and residents
- Fulham - comfortable, affluent, trendy
- Hammersmith - major transport hub, retail and business centre
- Kensington - major retail strip on Kensington High Road; also Kensington Palace
- Notting Hill - trendy, affluent, made famous by the movie of the same name
- Shepherd's Bush - mixed and vibrant area, generally up and coming, undergoing enhancement and gentrification
- Wembley - site of the famous Wembley Stadium, the home of English football, and the Wembley Arena, a major entertainment venue
- Hounslow - a working class suburb with many of the residents employed at nearby Heathrow airport
West London enjoys multiple connections and throughways as the gateway of London to the west.
West London is well served by Tube connections with several lines running through and westwardly terminating within the area:
- Piccadilly Line (blue) - starts at Heathrow and runs into the West End and beyond
- District Line (green) - broadly following the Thames from East and Central London - divides at Earls Court, then again at Turnham Green to terminate variously at Richmond, Ealing and Wimbledon via Fulham and Putney.
- Central Line (red) - starting at Ealing Broadway, the Central Line runs into Central London along the line of Oxford Street and the A40
Although not as concentrated as Central London, West London's attractions are many... The various district articles list many of these, though several are located further afield or in more isolated areas:
- Syon Park , tel 020 8560 0881, House: open 24 March - 31 October, We, Th, Su, Bank Holiday Mondays, Good Friday, Easter Saturday 11am-5pm (last entry 4.15pm); Gardens: open daily except 25, 26 December 10.30am-5pm or dusk if earlier; Syon House & Gardens & Great Conservatory: admission adults £7.50, concessions/child £6.50, family £17.00, Gardens & Great Conservatory admission adults £3.75, concessions/child £2.50, family £9.00 - the stately home of the Dukes of Northumberland for 400 years, Syon House and its 200-acre estate are located between Brentford and Isleworth. The main house was built to a design by the English architect Robert Adams, the grounds laid out by Capability Brown. Well worth a visit.
Chiswick, Kensington and Fulham are the areas of West London with the widest range of options.