With a population estimated at 1.6 million, it’s little wonder that West London, an area encompassing boroughs such as Kensington and Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham, and Brent – where The Collective Old Oak is located – is extremely vibrant. From museums and art galleries to trendy bars and restaurants to spend your evenings, and pretty parks to laze away the day, residents of the area and visitors are spoiled for choice for things to do – building up the argument for West being best. Here, we look at some of the most unusual and exciting things to do in the area.
Explore the Design Museum and Holland Park
Free to enter, the Design Museum (pictured above) is the largest museum in the world devoted to contemporary design in many forms, from architecture to fashion, graphic design to products. They also run a host of events throughout the year, from footwear designing workshops to entrepreneurship discussions and talks by designers.
It’s also handily located next to Holland Park, one of London’s best parks for wildlife spotting.
Holland Park has a stunningly beautiful Japanese Garden featuring peacocks and several acres of woodland – you’ll forget you’re in the middle of the city.
Design Museum, W8 6AG, nearest tube High Street Kensington. Holland Park is at W11 4UA
Rummage for treasures at Portobello Road Market
The UK’s largest antiques market, Portobello Road has over 1,000 dealers selling every kind of collectable you can imagine, as well as several stalls and shops selling bargain vintage clothing. When you’re done rummaging, grab an ethical vegan snack from Jake’s Vegan Steaks. They’re an all-vegan burger joint, where the meat is made from seitan, a wheat-based substitute.
During August Bank Holiday, the area is home to Notting Hill Carnival – an event running since 1966 led by the London’s Caribbean communities, it is attended by two million people and comprises sound systems, street parties and a whole load of fun.
Portobello Road Market, W11 1AN, nearest tube Ladbroke Grove. The Notting Hill Carnival happens every year on the last weekend of August.
Boogie on at Notting Hill Arts Club
This iconic basement night club famously played host to Creation Records (the record label of bands including Oasis) founder Alan McGee’s indie club night Death Disco, and has seen DJ sets from the likes of Courtney Love over the years. These days, it has a wide array of events, from gigs to film screenings and regular hip hop, house music and hip hop nights. It’s the perfect place to spend a raucous Friday night, but get there early as it fills up quickly.
Notting Hill Arts Club, W11 3JQ, nearest tube Notting Hill Gate
Stroll like a royal at Kensington Palace and Gardens
Owned by the Royal Family since the 17th century, this palace is now home to Prince William and Kate Middleton and their children, as well as Harry and Meghan – you might even be able to spot them! It’s currently running the Princess Diana: Her Fashion Story exhibition, a showcase of the famous dresses worn by the iconic Royal. The adjourning Gardens are ideal for a walk after you’ve explored the Palace – and if you’re feeling brave take a dip in the Serpentine, the UK’s oldest lido. It is the location of the annual Peter Pan Cup which has run every Christmas Day since 1864 and sees 70 bold outdoor swimming enthusiasts plunge into the freezing waters.
Kensington Palace and Gardens, W8 4PX, nearest tube High Street Kensington
Spot celebs over a cocktail at Bluebird Chelsea
Located on the trendy King’s Road, famous for being a fashion centre during London’s Swinging Sixties, this is a regular hang out of the cast of the popular reality TV show Made in Chelsea. Formerly an art deco car garage, it is now a large restaurant complex and bar overlooking the bustling road. It’s open until 1am on weekends, making it a great late night place to grab a few cocktails with friends. If you’re more of an early bird, there’s also weekend brunch events and Sunday lunches available. Bag yourself a window seat and spend an afternoon celeb spotting.
Bluebird Chelsea, SW3 5UU, nearest tube Imperial Wharf
Catch some air at Oxygen Freejumping
Bounce like Tigger and get an exercise fix with a difference at this specialist trampolining park, which has 150 interconnected trampolines in massive 27,000 square feet of space. You’ll be left grinning from ear to ear after spending an hour tumbling, somersaulting and bouncing through their various zones. The venue also has fitness classes and child-friendly family sessions too. They even host trampolining parties, where you can combine jumping with a fun night out.
Oxygen Freejumping, W3 0AF, nearest tube North Acton
Cycle the canal and have a bite at The Collective Bar + Kitchen
Take a leisurely cycle or hour-long stroll west along the canal from quaint Little Venice, and finish off at The Collective Old Oak to hang out in the lobby with your laptop, or perch in a deckchair by the canal to have a bite to eat. Their newly opened restaurant The Collective Bar + Kitchen serves up a range of homely Italian-inspired dishes, from home-made Tagliatelle with pine nuts and basil pesto to pizzas and stews.
The Collective Bar + Kitchen, NW10 6FF, nearest tube Willesden Junction