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 Airport, 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.
Like all the other districts of outer London, West London is itself made up of numerous suburbs, villages and satellite towns. Several areas of West London are particularly popular with travellers and backpackers, for their attractions, their facilities and their many accommodation options:
(from inner to outer London)
Paddington - Centered around Paddington Station, includes Bayswater and Queensway.
Wembley - Site of the famous Wembley Stadium, the home of English football, and Wembley Arena, a major entertainment venue.
Hounslow - A working class suburb with many of the residents employed at nearby Heathrow airport.
Uxbridge - A vibrant area on the edge of London, good shopping experience and good transport links to the West End.
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 Natural History Museum - The dinosaur exhibit complete with life-sized roaring T-Rex is popular with kids (and adults), but the museum really excels with the galleries devoted to mammals, insects and the human body. There is also a new wing where groups can tour a research facility and the Museum's historic stocks of pickled specimens (well worth a visit, but not for the squeamish!) - free entry.
Science Museum - Packed with science and industry; there are galleries devotes to many subjects, including space, nuclear physics, genetics, and computing; the top floor is, appropriately, taken up with the history of flight and many historic aircraft, including a Spitfire and a Hurricane.
The Victoria and Albert Museum - Highlights the decorative arts such as fashion and furniture - admission free.
Portobello Road - Claimed to be the world's largest antiques market. For antiques, souvenirs and other knick-knacks or simply a walk through time. At night this is one of the best pick up areas in London, at least for women needing men anyway.
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.
Royal Albert Hall - Landmark location of many world-renowned concerts (Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin), still plays host to top shelf entertainment. In summer, the BBC Proms are a varied classical music festival, and first-come first-served standing tickets can be had for £5 (2006 price). Doors open 30mins before the performance (which generally begins at 7.30pm) but a queue starts earlier, around 6pm for a 'normal' concert and considerably earlier if there are big-name performers. Seated tickets are also available for £20-£50; often there are some still available on the night. Special rules restrict entrance to the famous Last Night in September; you will not be able to get in without attending at least 6 other Proms!
Chiswick, Kensington and Fulham are the areas of West London with the widest range of options.
Rodizio Rico, 111 Westbourne Grove, ☎ +442077924035, . A Brazillian all you can eat meat (with limited veggie options) buffet. The meat is imported from Brazil and barbequed on site. The meat it delivered on your table on the skewer the waiter then cuts a portion of and you put on your own plate. The meat is fantastic and it just keep coming. This place is highly recommended.
You will never be short of a pub in West London, with hundreds of great venues from Ealing to central London and beyond. Upmarket bars and clubs are also plentiful.
Lincoln House Hotel. A three star bed and breakfast situated in the heart of London (Marylebone), a few minutes walk from Madame Tussauds, Oxford street and the Sherlock Holmes Museum, and only 2 minutes away from an underground station. Average price is £79 per room per night.
Avonmore Hotel, 66 Avonmore Road, W14 8RS, Tel. + 44 (0) 20 7603 4296 / + 44 (0) 20 7603 3121, Fax. +44 (0)20 7603 4035, . Small budget hotel situated close to the West End.
Kensington House Hotel, 15/16 Prince of Wales Terrace London W8 5PQ, . Boutique townhouse rooms and accommodation just off High Street. Attractions are a short walk away and include Kensington Gardens, art galleries, museums and cafés.