Like food, craft beer and independent shopping? Act on impulse!
Why go there?
Acton has always had a bit of a ‘meh’ reputation. The local joke was that, with its excellent transport links, at least it was easy to escape. But as a new generation has flocked here in search of affordable rents, the place is flourishing. It’s now teeming with lush parks, cosy pubs, lunch hangouts and independent shops.
Let’s start with the culture.
Acton folk love a park. Gunnersbury Park is gorgeous and houses a museum which was the one-time residence of the Rothschild family, but if you want to keep it super-local, head to Acton Park. During the autumn it’s one of the prettiest green spaces in west London, with a chilled café, tennis courts, playgrounds and even a bowling green with a pavilion. Then, head to Acton Market (Crown Street), every Friday to Sunday, where you can pick up weird jams, fresh bread, local art, and some proper fruit and veg. For shops, walk up Churchfield Road, where you’ll find English Butchers (manned by an Aussie called Tim), Park and Bridge, an awesome little wine shop, and the brilliant unnamed antique store.
I’m entertained, but starving.
Stay on Churchfield Road. For a healthy lunch in comfortable surroundings, try the shabby-chic vibes of The Blend House, which serves everything from detox smoothies to salmon tartlets, or perfect raw fish from Hasu Sushi. If you’re after something more comforting, hit up Bake Me for ice cream, waffles and homemade Greek pastries. L’Oriental has become a famous local institution for cheap and tasty Lebanese food at night. Acton also has a host of great pubs with impressive kitchens, and The Rocket or The Station House will happily sort you out with a local pint and some solid gastro grub.
How about some late-night boozing?
Acton isn’t exactly the hedonistic club capital of Ealing, but it’s got a fair few watering holes. Aeronaut (High Street) is a circus-themed pub and bar with a lively Friday-night atmosphere. But if you prefer something a bit more mellow or romantic, then intimate wine bar Vindinista (Churchfield Road) has a huge collection of unusual and independent bottles.
And if I only do one thing?
It shouldn’t be all about the booze, but Acton is starting to garner a bubbling reputation for microbreweries. Dragonfly Brewery at The George & Dragon can be found on the high street, and in the winter it’s a cosy place to drop by for a craft beer, a traditional candlelit interior and maybe some calamari fritters.
By Joe Zadeh, who is tired of your damn Acton puns.
Fancy a change of scene? Take a look at the best bits of Mile End.