It’s noisy, chaotic and – at times – a little bit aggy, so you might be wondering why the hell Uxbridge Road in Shepherd’s Bush counts among London’s best bits. Well, for a start, it’s a living and breathing warts-and-all example of the ever-changing capital as depicted in Julien Temple’s ‘London: A Modern Babylon’, a vibrant home to as many nationalities as a UN Summit, a cultural hotspot (Bush Hall and Bush Theatre are residents, and Shepherd’s Bush Empire is close by), a shopping destination (take your pick from the monolithic Westfield or the old-school street market) and a great place to eat your way around the world on the cheap.
It’s long been home to London’s Irish and Caribbean communities, and nowadays you can find everything from Polish and Afghani to Syrian and Somali shops and restaurants lining the stretch between Shepherd’s Bush Green and Askew Road. While the Beeb has passed on much of nearby Television Centre to luxury developers, you’ll still find plenty of music, film, literary and media types in the area. Thankfully though, it’s not all middle-class interlopers and estate agents banging the drum for the G-word – Uxbridge Road still has an authentic, grimy edge, and is all the more interesting for it.
Head to The Princess Victoria, a beautifully restored Victorian-boozer (and former Time Out Love London Awards winner), for its huge selection of gins, a discerning wine list and a snug vibe that’ll make you want to linger long into the night.
Need a quality caffeine kick? Decent coffee shops are pretty thin on the ground in this neck of the woods, so you’ll need to take quick detour off the main drag for a textbook flat white at the cute Hummingbird Café on Oaklands Grove.
Back down near Shepherd’s Bush Green, The Defector’s Weld is now in the hands of Young’s but still offers one of the best selections of craft beer in west London.
Fancy something stronger? Head just over the road and take advantage of happy-hour prices (6pm-8pm daily) at the five-star Dorsett Hotel bar. Their stellar negronis are the best you’ll find round these parts.
One of a number of shops and restaurants offering Damascene food, Abu Zaad packs in families, couples and groups of mates, attracted by its huge platters of grilled meats, traditional Syrian cooking and bargain prices.
Join the likes of past patrons Rihanna and Amy Winehouse in checking out no-frills Jamaican takeaway Ochi. The curry goat and rice and peas is well under a tenner and is big enough to feed two.
Get stuck in to dim sum at Shikumen, one of the capital’s best Chinese restaurants. The crispy duck and juicy king prawns coated in a sticky pumpkin sauce are unmissable.
Check out the diverse programme of award-winning works and new writing at Bush Theatre, a small space with some big ideas.
Damasgate is the spot for Middle Eastern ingredients, like pomegranate molasses, rose water and ras-al-hanout, at prices to put the big supermarkets to shame.
The future of Shepherd’s Bush Market remains uncertain, so show your support for one of London’s oldest markets by rummaging through the stalls and stocking up on everything from colourful fabrics to fresh fish and falafel wraps.
If you only do one thing…
Catch a gig at Bush Hall, undoubtedly one of the capital’s prettiest small venues. The opulent room has a stellar range of music and comedy to match its fancy surroundings.
Fancy a change of scene? Here are 15 reasons to go to Chatsworth Road.