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 galleries to bars, restaurants and pretty parks, residents and visitors are spoilt for choice. You heard it here first – West is 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 its many forms: from architecture to fashion, graphic design to products. They also run a host of events throughout the year, like footwear designing workshops, 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 several acres of woodland and a stunning Japanese Garden with peacocks! You’ll soon 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 antique market, Portobello Road has over 1,000 dealers selling every kind of collectable you can imagine, as well as many stalls and shops selling original vintage clothing. When you’re done rummaging, grab some finger food from one of the market stalls or get something fruity at Joe & The Juice.
Portobello Road Market, W11, nearest tube Notting Hill Gate
Notting Hill Carnival is an absolute must during August Bank Holiday. Running since 1966 and led by London’s Caribbean communities, it is attended by two million people and comprises sound systems, street parties, and a whole load of fun. Eat jerk chicken, sip on rum and watch the procession of incredible costumes.
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 and house music 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. You might even be able to spot them! There are plenty of exhibitions on here too so check the website to see what's on. 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
Dine at The River Cafe, a culinary institution
Set up by two fantastic ladies, Ruth Rogers and the late Rose Gray, The River cafe is a proper institution. It's now famous for its simple yet luxuriously delicious Italian food. Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall were trained here so you can imagine just how on point the flavours are. Prices aren't cheap but portions are generous, so go for lunch, eat pasta, drink wine and try not to think about the bill too much.
The River Cafe, W6 9HA, nearest tube Barons Court
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 restaurant The Collective Bar + Kitchen serves up a range of homely dishes, from home-made Tagliatelle with pine nuts to pizzas and stews.
The Collective Bar + Kitchen, NW10 6FF, nearest tube Willesden Junction