TOP TEN THINGS TO DO IN CHISWICK
Image above: Chiswick Flower Market, photograph Anna Kunst
1 Sunday Markets
Image above: Chiswick Flower Market, photograph Anna Kunst; Chiswick Antiques and Vintage Market, photograph Frank Noon
Three Sundays a month there are outdoor markets on Chiswick High Rd in Old Market Place outside The George IV pub. Nearest tube station Turnham Green on the District Line.
First Sunday of the month – Chiswick Flower Market has a mix of stall-holders including multi award winners at the Chelsea Flower Show Hardy’s Cottage Garden plants, long established bulb specialists Jacques Amand, experienced traders from Columbia Rd who’ve grown up in the market trade, side by side with new plant sellers who’ve recently set up their own business. Find a fabulous range of cut flowers and live plants: herbaceous perennials, shrubs, herbs, bouquets, bulbs and houseplants.
Read more about Chiswick Flower Market here: Chiswick Flower Market.
Second Sunday of the month – Chiswick Antiques and Vintage Market offers 40 or so specialist dealers providing a treasure trove for stylish homemakers: architectural salvage, old furniture, ironmongery, ‘kitchenalia’, memorabilia, ephemera, toys, and French brocante. Even if you don’t want to buy it’s fun to browse.
Read more about Chiswick Antiques & Vintage Market here: Chiswick Antiques & Vintage Market
Third Sunday of the month – Chiswick Cheese Market. Chiswick has long been an attractive place for foodies, with its abundance of good restaurants and independent cafes. The ‘curated’ cheese market enhances W4’s foodie reputation with cheeses from specialist cheese mongers and producers. A typical selection might be cheeses from Ireland, (buttery, rich, triple cream cheese with light citrus notes), Scotland (cows milk cheese from Aberdeenshire smoked over whiskey barrel shavings) and France (mountain cheeses from the French Alps) as well as vegan ‘cheese’ from Crystal Palace, ‘Italian’ cheese made in North Acton and accompaniments such as Ealing Relish and Putney Chutney.
Read more about Chiswick Cheese Market here: Chiswick Cheese Market
Every Sunday morning – Food Market Chiswick. These are all Johnny-come-latelys compared with the Food Market at Dukes Meadows, which has been quietly growing its reputation for fresh meat, fish and veg straight from the producers over more than 20 years. Pick up some street food and good coffee and have a wander through the meadows by the river.
Pavilion, Market Drive, Chiswick W4 2RX. Nearest train station Chiswick Rail station.
Read more about the Food Market Chiswick here: Food Market Chiswick
2 Chiswick House & Gardens
Image above: Chiswick House
Just across the road from the Food Market is Chiswick House with its 65 acres of beautiful gardens free to walk in and stunning in any season. The House, built in 1727-29 by the third earl of Burlington to show off the stash of art works he collected on his European tours, is itself a Neo Classical art work built in the style of Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio and the Gardens, created with the aid of landscape gardener William Kent, are dotted with Classical statues and bits of architecture. The conservatory boasts the oldest collection of heritage camellias housed under glass. The Gardens provide the venue for annual events such as Giffords Circus, Luna open air cinema and Pub in the Park.
Burlington Lane, Chiswick, W4 2RP. Nearest train station Chiswick Rail station.
Read about the history of Chiswick House Gardens here: 300 years of Chiswick House Gardens
3 Walk by the river at Strand on the Green
Images above: Bull’s Head, Strand on the Green, photograph Anna Kunst; Stand Up Paddleboarding, photograph Active 360
As many people discovered during the 2020 lockdowns, it’s rather nice just to go for a walk by the river. Nowhere nicer than at Strand on the Green, just along from Kew Bridge, with its picturesque Georgian houses and oldie worldie waterside pubs, the Bell & Crown, City Barge and Bull’s Head. For the energetically inclined, you can go paddleboarding with Active 360, based in one of the arches at Kew Bridge. Or if you catch the tides right, you can walk across the bridge and get a boat from Kew Pier up river to Hampton Court.
Nearest train station Kew Rail station.
Read more about Strand on the Green here: Strand on the Green
4 Jazz at The George IV
Image above: Jazz at The George IV, Jo Harrop
Every Thursday night in the Boston Room of George IV pub you will find an exciting variety of some of the best jazz musicians in London. New Orleans jazz (Mississippi Swamp Dogs; Dom Pipkin); Blues (The Blues Engineers); Gypsy Jazz (Trio Manouche); Latin jazz (Giulio Romano; Joanna Eden band); jazz with a bit of soul and reggae (Shireen Francis); tributes to jazz in the musicals (Jo Harrop); Duke Ellington (Sarah Moule Trio); Steely Dan (Stealing Dan & Don) and Leonard Cohen (Barb Jungr).
Many of these musicians, who have played all over the world with the very top names in the music industry, have become regulars at George IV. Guitar maestro Antonio Forcione won best World music album for his album Joy with Seckou Keita and Adriano Adewale in the 2019 One World Music Awards. Music programme scheduled by Jazz promoter Larry Pryce of Live Music To Go in collaboration with The Chiswick Calendar.
The Boston Room at The George IV, 185 Chiswick High Rd, W4 2DR. Nearest tube, Turnham Green on the District Line.
5 Headliners comedy club
Image above: Simon Randall introducing the night’s line-up at Headliners Comedy Club
Headliners has been providing west London with live stand-up comedy for 20 years, much more cheaply than a night in the West End, but with all the same comedians who grace TV shows and international comedy festivals. Arthur Smith, Geoff Norcott, Paul Tomlinson, Jon Moloney, Joanne McNally, Jo Caulfield and Rich Hall have all become regulars. Friday and Saturday nights January to May and September to November.
The Boston Room at The George IV, 185 Chiswick High Rd, W4 2DR. Nearest tube station, Turnham Green on the District Line.
6 Theatre at the Tabard
Images above: Theatre at the Tabard; past patrons Kevin McNally and Phyllis Logan, who live in Chiswick
Studio theatre above the Tabard pub. This bijou theatre, seating only 100 people, offers an eclectic mix of plays, comedy and music shows often of a West End standard at suburban prices.
Theatre at the Tabard, 2 Bath Rd, Chiswick, W4 1LW. Nearest tube station, Turnham Green on the District Line.
7 Hogarth’s House
Image above: Hogarth’s House
The 18th century painter and satirist William Hogarth used his house in Chiswick as a country retreat away from the noise and bustle of his studio in what is now Leicester Square. He bought the house in 1749 and lived there for fifteen years with his wife Jane Thornhill until his death in 1764. They had no children of their own but fostered foundling children and made them mulberry juice from the tree which still bears fruit in the garden. The house, our of sight from the busy A4 behind a high wall near the roundabout named after him, is an unexpected jewel. Entrance is free and there are occasional exhibitions of his work. Nearest train station Chiswick Rail Station.
Hogarth’s House, Hogarth Lane, Great West Rd, London W4 2QN. Nearest tube station Turnham Green on the District Line.
8 Fuller’s Griffin Brewery tour
Images above: Fuller’s Griffin Brewery
Just across the roundabout from Hogarth’s House is the Fuller’s Griffin Brewery, now owned by Japanese brewing company Asahi. Visit the historic brewing site where the UK’s finest premium cask ale, London Pride, is made. Chiswick has been home to a brewery for over 600 years, with the Fuller, Smith & Turner partnership forming in 1845. The tour, starting in the brewery shop, tells the story of how the Griffin Brewery was formed and how it has developed, as well as showing you the genuine working brewery where more than 50 beers are brewed to this day. Finishing the tour by sampling a wide range of Fuller’s beers, ciders and soft drinks ensures the visit is well worth it. Tours operate Tuesday – Saturday. Nearest train station Chiswick Rail Station.
Griffin Brewery, Chiswick Lane South, W4 2QB Nearest tube station, Turnham Green on the District Line.
Read more about the tours and the history of the brewery here: Fuller’s Griffin Brewery
9 Chiswick Auctions
Images above: Rug and antiques at Chiswick Auctions showroom
Over the other side of Chiswick, into Acton, is Chiswick Auctions. The auction house sells everything from Asian art to designer handbags, photographs, paintings, books, jewellery and fine wines and has a stable of specialists ready to assess the value of you family heirlooms and interest you in buying somebody else’s. Auctions live in the showroom and online.
1 Colville Rd, W3 8BL. Nearest tube station Chiswick Park on the District Line.
10 Chiswick Book Festival
Images above: Director of the Chiswick Book Festival Torin Douglas hosting a panel discussing the work of Jane Austen; actor Imogen Stubbs reading
Only number ten because it only happens one week out of 52. But what a week! Think Hay Festival but you can get the tube home. It started in 2009 with speakers including Lady Antonia Fraser, Anthony Horowitz, Jacqueline Wilson, Lynn Barber and Michael Frayn and has kept up the same high calibre of speakers ever since. Various venues in and around St Michael & All Angels Church, Bath Rd, W4 1LW.
Nearest tube station, Turnham Green on the District Line.
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