1. Chiswick House
Chiswick House provides one of the finest examples of 18th century British architecture.
The house is Neo-Palladian in style and was commissioned by the third Earl of Burlington. The earl drew inspiration from Italy and the house became a suitably grand setting for his collection of paintings, furniture and travel souvenirs.
There is much to admire, from the beautifully painted ceilings to the classical gardens outside. Chiswick House still has a selection of the Earl’s original paintings, which can be viewed along with more contemporary pieces. There are also paintings depicting past family members as well as the house through the years.
The Italianate classical gardens are viewed as the birthplace of English landscape gardening. Both the house and the gardens were bold designs and provide visitors with new delights at every turn. The stunning conservatory is an attraction in its own right, and is home to the oldest collection of camellias in the country.
Chiswick House is open from late May to the end of October, while the gardens are open all round. The Chiswick House cafe looks out across the gardens and offers a good selection of food and drink, featuring produce from the house gardens. Locally sourced gifts can also be bought in the Chiswick House shop.
2. Emery Walker’s House
Emery Walker was a typographer and printer with close associations to the arts and craft movement.
This hidden gem on Hammersmith Terrace, near Chiswick Mall, preserves the interior of the house as it would have been when Emery Walker died in 1933.
The grade II listed house is one of the best examples of arts and craft interior design. Set over three floors, the house gives visitors the chance to explore the beautifully preserved rooms. English furniture from the 17th and 18th century sits beside middles eastern rugs, while an eclectic mix of knick-knacks fill the rooms with interesting curiosities.
Behind the house is a pretty walled garden leading down toward the river. The conservatory holds a collection of ceramics from Walker’s travels, which continues the arts and craft interior theme. As you walk around the house and garden what may strike you most is how much it still feels like a home.
The house can be visited through pre-booked tours, and the nearest tube station is Stamford Brook on the District line. There are not any toilets within the house, but visitors are permitted to use those of a neighbouring cafe.
3. Griffin Brewery
Fuller’s have been making their award winning ales at their Chiswick brewery since 1845.
You do not have to be a beer drinker to appreciate the history behind the brewery. Visitors are able to enjoy watching how traditional brewing techniques are coupled with modern machinery to produce Fuller’s popular range of ales.
The brewery is located on Chiswick Lane South, close to the river Thames. This is a unique chance to be shown around a working brewery by expert guides. If you ever had a question about the brewing process, this is the place to have that question answered.
The brewery tour can last up to two hours, with the chance to sample the products a highlight for many. This is not a brewery museum, as your guide will walk you through a working environment, allowing you a close up view of the whole brewing process right through to the end when the beer is packaged for distribution.
4. Gunnersbury Triangle Nature Reserve
This lovely nature reserve provides a green oasis in the heart of Chiswick. Birch, willow, grassland and ponds offer the perfect habitat for plants, insects, birds and small mammals.
Walkways allow you to wonder around the nature reserve at your own pace and appreciate the importance of nature within an urban environment.
The nature reserve is located on old railway land which was being eyed up for development. However, local residents and the London Wildlife Trust staged a campaign to protect the area as a landmark. The area was opened to the public as a nature reserve in 1985.
Gunnersbury Triangle nature reserve is open all year round and offers free access to the public. This little gem is easy to reach as it is opposite Chiswick Park tube station. Managed by the London Wildlife Trust, the nature reserve is designed for people to enjoy the whole year round.
5. Food and Drink
Chiswick has an excellent choice of cafes, pubs and restaurants in which to refresh yourself while exploring all the area has to offer. The following are some noteworthy mentions.
The Bell and Crown
This is a lovely riverside pub which makes the most out of its location on the picturesque Strand-on-the-Green. This Fullers owned pub has a country pub feel with views over the river Thames. The pub has a selection of menus including a main menu, brunch and sandwich menus, plus a Sunday roast which includes a vegetarian option. The little ones are not forgotten, with a children’s menu providing a good selection of their favourite meals.
Annie’s is an established Chiswick restaurant located on Thames Road. Classic brasserie-style dishes are a feature of the main menu, set alongside the daily specials. Drop in for a light and healthy lunch at the weekend, or a traditional Sunday roast. Annie’s is also renowned for its wine and cocktails. The wine list includes affordable options, while visitors can try the restaurant’s signature Blush Royale cocktail.
This award winning cafe first opened its doors in December 2015. From then it has gone from strength to strength, using fresh, local produce for their breakfast and lunch menus. This is a dog-friendly cafe on Devonshire Road whose tempting menus are available up to 4pm. Urban Pantry also has an extensive range of hot and cold drinks, juices, smoothies, wines and cocktails to enjoy. Bespoke made cakes can be ordered here, while you can also stock up on locally made condiments from their pantry store.
This traditional French Bistro is an award winning restaurant located on South Parade, Chiswick. This is authentic French food using the finest ingredients. The Prix Fixe menu offers two course lunches from £23.50 or two course dinners from £29.50. A separate Sunday menu is available which includes a roast with a choice of three meats. Enjoy an indulgent dessert and a Le Vacherin cocktail to complete your fine dining experience.
6. Hogarth’s House
This was the country home of painter, engraver and satirist William Hogarth, best known for his series of paintings concerning ‘modern moral subjects’.
Hogarth bought the house in 1749 and it is now a museum where the public can view a large collection of his works.
The house was first opened to the public in 1909 and underwent a refurbishment in 2011. Hogarth’s house is free to enter and opens from Tuesday to Sunday. As at present there is no step-free access to the house, and the first floor is only accessible by a narrow staircase.
This is a hidden little gem highlighting Chiswick’s connection to the artistic world. Conservation work has also been carried out in the secluded garden, which is dominated by an ancient mulberry tree. Further work will see a single-storey studio added, where more events and educational activities can be held.
7. Kew Gardens
Just two miles from the centre of Chiswick are the iconic Kew Gardens. Founded in 1759, Kew Gardens offers visitors 325 acres of plant heaven within its landscaped gardens.
50,000 plants and 14,000 trees are located across the various garden designs which make up Kew.
There is so much to see within Kew Gardens. As well as all the stunning gardens and the arboretum, the glass Palm House is home to an incredible indoor rainforest. The Temperate House is the largest Victoria glasshouse, and contains a collection of rare and endangered plants. The Mediterranean garden offers a wonderfully diverse range of plants, as well as housing the King Williams Temple, which was constructed in 1837 for Queen Victoria in memory of her Uncle, King William IV who she succeeded.
Further experiences include a treetop walkway, the 17 meter tall Hive installation and the Great Pagoda, from the top of which you can enjoy stunning views across London. The Sackler crossing was installed in 2006 and is a curved walkway across the lake. The Chinese tupelo trees by the lake are a particular highlight during the autumn when they turn a deep shade of red.
Kew Gardens are open every day of the week and are just 30 minutes from central London. There are four access gates to Kew, all easily accessible however you travel. Kew Gardens Station on the District line is just 500 meters from the Victoria gate. Tickets to Kew Gardens are cheaper when bought in advance.
There is plenty of choice when shopping in Chiswick, with a fine selection of brands and independent stores. Clothing, lifestyle, food and gift shops all feature, with Chiswick High Road the main shopping hub.
LA Menswear and Oliver Bonas are two of the well known brands located in Chiswick, along with independent clothing store Aprilmae and Greige lifestyle boutique.
Chiswick is an excellent venue for book worms. Foster Books sits in the oldest building on Chiswick High Road and is a wonderful place to browse for books. The Book Case also sits on Chiswick High Road and has provided books at bargain prices to local residents since 1993. Waterstones can also be found on the same road.
The Old Cinema on Chiswick High Road is an antique and vintage department store where you can find all manner of interesting items. From furniture to homeware, jewellery to art, there is something for everyone set across 10,000 feet of showrooms.
9. Duke’s Meadow Park
Duke’s Meadow Park is a riverside park which provides facilities for a great family day out. The park is an example of good landscape sustainability, with a regeneration of the meadows introducing more bio-diversity. The park is located along Market Drive in the southern part of Chiswick.
The children’s play areas are a great attraction for families. This includes a shallow splash pool which the little ones will love during the Summer months. Right next to the water pool is a children’s adventure playground which caters for all ages. The slides, climbing opportunities and rope courses will entertain and engage your kids.
While the children are having fun there are plenty of grass mounds and shaded areas for the adults to relax. There are also 14 artistic studios you can explore within a converted pavilion, housing illustrators, painters and ceramicists. A food market is held every Sunday next to the adventure playground.
10. St Nicholas Church
There is documentary evidence of a church on the site of St Nicholas church since 1181. Chiswick village grew around the church, housing an agrarian and fishing community. This is a little treasure by the Thames, offering a connection to Chiswick’s rich history
The church was rebuilt between 1882 and 1884, with the exception of the tower. All visitors are welcome to attend services, where they will be able to admire the lovely stained glassed windows. The Chaloner monument in the Lady Chapel was erected in 1615 and is one of the most striking Jacobean funeral monuments in London.
The church graveyard is the last resting place of many notable people including William Hogarth, the architect William Kent, the artist Sir William Blake Richmond and Barbara Villiers, 1st Duchess of Cleveland and the mistress of King Charles II. Also buried here are Henry Joy, the trumpeter from the Charge of the Light Brigade and Frederick Hitch, who won a VC during the Battle of Rorke’s Drift.
11. More Suggestions
The leafy suburb of Chiswick offers a lovely day out, with plenty of places to visit. The following are a few more suggestions.
Chiswick hosts a number of markets showcasing the best in sustainable, British produce. The Food market at Dukes Meadow is held every Sunday, with an array of stallholders providing the best in British produce. The name Chiswick originates from the Old English for cheese farm, and a cheese market on Chiswick High Road maintains the heritage. The first Sunday of the month sees a colourful flower market held in Old Market Place by the King George IV pub.
The Chiswick Playhouse stages plays and hosts stand up comedy. Formerly known as the Tabard, this is an intimate 90 seat theatre which is great for watching up and coming talent, as well as established comedians trialling their routines ahead of a tour. Tickets for this first class entertainment can be bought from as little as £10, though there are concessions which may reduce the cost further.
Syon House and Park
Syon House is a stately home just over two miles from the centre of Chiswick. The house is the London country home of the Duke of Northumberland and has been in the same family since the late 16th century. The house is set within Syon Park, 200 acres of spectacular landscaped gardens and parklands. From the moment you enter the house in to the stunning great hall, through to exploring the gardens and Great Conservatory, you can not help but be struck by the sheer splendour of Syon House and Park.
The Luna Cinema
The Luna Cinema group stage screenings of classic films in prestigious open air settings. The grounds of Chiswick House will host the Luna Cinema between 18th and 21st August in 2021. Romeo & Juliet, Knives Out, Grease and The Greatest Showman are the movies that will be screened. Open cinema has a special feel and atmosphere, not just any night at the cinema. Food and drink stalls will keep you refreshed as you sit and enjoy a classic film beneath the summer evening skies.