Chiswick On A Shoestring

Urban myth or real possibility - Lucy Metherall investigates

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Chiswick is not an area most of us would instantly associate with inexpensive leisure activities. Indeed, parting company with substantial sums of money can often seem like an inevitable part of getting out and about in W4.

Chiswick’s tantalising array of restaurants, coffee houses and upmarket boutiques are, however, by no means the only leisure attractions within walking distance of W4. Armed with a camera and plenty of determination, I set out on a mission to prove that it is possible to enjoy a day out in the Chiswick area without breaking the bank.

My first stop took me slightly out of W4 to Shepherd’s Bush Market on Goldhawk Road. Though smaller and catering to a less trendy clientele than other London markets such as Portobello and Camden, Shepherd’s Bush Market has deservedly become a bit of a West London institution. Love it or hate it, the market is a vibrant and multicultural place that has attracted bargain hunters in their droves since its birth in 1914. Whatever you’re hunting for, be it household utensils, Indian jewellery, African music, Halal meat or textiles, you’re unlikely to be disappointed. And, with stallholders often willing to participate in a spot of haggling, Shepherd’s Bush Market can prove a soothing antidote to shopping in W4.

My next destination was Fuller’s Brewery, located a stone’s throw from the Hogarth Roundabout. A brewery has stood on this spot since Oliver Cromwell’s time and Fuller’s have been brewing their award winning beer here for well over a hundred years. Fuller’s aficionados and those curious to learn how Fuller’s famous amber liquid is produced can arrange to go on a ninety minute tour of the Griffin Brewery. At just £6 for adults and £4.50 for non-drinkers and under 18s, a tour of Fuller’s brewery is a low-cost outing which promises to enhance your understanding of the brewing process and, perhaps most importantly, provides the perfect excuse to indulge in some of London’s favourite beer.

A few minutes away, on the south side of the Great West Road, is another local historical gem. Hogarth’s House was the country home of the great eighteenth century satirist William Hogarth. This modest house suffered bomb damage during World War Two but has since been restored to its former glory and is open to the public free of charge. As well as detailing Hogarth’s life and work, the exhibition offers visitors a fascinating insight into what life would have been like in Chiswick back in Hogarth’s day when it was still a farming and market community.

And, for those of you for whom local historical attractions situated along the A4 all sounds like rather hard work, don’t forget the Palladian splendour of Chiswick House Grounds and the enduring allure of a stroll, a cycle or a picnic by the Thames. And if, despite my best efforts, all this has simply confirmed your suspicions that there really is little to do in Chiswick on a shoestring, don’t despair – whatever Chiswick may lack in budget activities, it at least has good public transport links….

More info:
Shepherd’s Bush - Nearest tube: Shepherd’s Bush, Goldhawk Road
Market Trading hours:

Fuller’s Brewery – Chiswick Lane South W4 2QB
Tours must be pre-booked on 020 8996 2063
Tours available: Mon, Weds, Thurs and Fri at 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm. Duration of tours: Approx. 90 mins.
No admittance to Under 14s. No tasting for Under 18s.
More info:

Hogarth’s House – Hogarth Lane, Great West Road, W4 2QN
Tel: 020 8994 6757
Open Tues-Fri 1pm-5pm April-Oct and 1pm-4pm Nov-March
Open Sat + Sun 1pm-6pm Apr-Oct and 1pm-5pm Nov-March
* Hogarth’s House closes for all of Jan.
Entrance is free but donations are welcomed.

Parking is available at Chiswick House Grounds.

August 22, 2007