Head west from Hammersmith, jump off the District Line at Turnham Green and you’ll step straight out on to the Terrace: a small street which links busy Chiswick High Road at one end to Chiswick Common at the other. This green and leafy road looks at first like the picture-perfect west London of a Richard Curtis movie – in fact Colin Firth’s house in ‘Love Actually’ is nearby. (Okay, and Colin Firth’s actual house.)
But there’s a lot more to TGT than celebrity sightings. It’s a mish-mash of styles, both swanky and simple: the neat Victorian terraces and slightly grim office blocks face a run of small, single-storey shops. As well as being home to Chiswick’s pram-pushers, yoga mat-carriers and media types, Turnham Green Terrace has nurtured a healthy brood of independent businesses. There are cosy, candlelit wine bars, fancy gift stores and restaurants, a tiny pub theatre and a coffee shop with a basement full of pinball machines – as well as some traditional butchers, bistros and delis.
You’ll also find a smattering of the obligatory high street chains: it wouldn’t be west London without a local Sweaty Betty, after all. But in this busy street the Oliver Bonases of the world are outnumbered by independents, and it’s a rare and lovely sight.
An ace flat white from Chief Coffee, before heading downstairs to the basement pinball lounge.
A large glass of pinot noir at Hack & Veldt, which transforms from a deli to a candlelit bar on weeknights. It’s open until 11pm and also hosts monthly supper clubs.
An X-large pizza from Pizza Street, for an authentic slice of New York City this side of the Atlantic.
Filo pastry mince pies and festive cheeses from Bayley and Sage, a treasure trove of a deli stuffed full of carefully picked treats.
Beef bavette and buttered kale at Charlotte’s Bistro, which was voted Chiswick’s favourite restaurant in the recent Time Out Love London Awards. Don’t skip on dessert.
Handmade Italian ice cream from Fouberts Gelateria: a long-running, much-loved Chiswick staple.
Sashimi at Sushi Bar Makoto, a small and simple establishment which is always packed.
Catch a play at The Tabard’s tiny theatre. The space above the pub attracts some brilliant comedy.
Get some fresh air on Chiswick Common. It’s home to tennis and netball courts and football pitches, as well as a children’s playground.
Embrace your literary streak at a W4 Loves Books event. The independent bookshop plays host to cheese and wine tastings, readings and book signings.
A free range, Surrey-reared turkey from Macken Brothers butchers. Join the queues for pigs in blankets, chestnuts and homemade gravy.
Soy candles and stocking fillers at Cassius & Coco’s west London branch.
Immune system boosters to ward off winter germs at Windfall, the local go-to for natural remedies.
Armfuls of quality organic veg from Natoora, which supplies Nopi.
Unusual wrapping paper and 3D Christmas cards at Postmark. This small stationery chain runs monthly Feel Good Fridays, where people can send a free card to a loved one… just because.
And if you only do one thing…
Stock up on greenery at Wheelers of Turnham Green. Come December, the garden centre alongside the tube tracks turns into a festive feast of firs and fairy lights in all shapes and sizes.