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101 things to do in London: west London

Explore the best things to do in west London and treat yourself to a better class of London attractions

West London may be home to some of the city’s more affluent inhabitants, but its highlights are much more accessible than its house prices. Here’s our pick of the best things to do in west London: from finding a tribute to Japanese green fingers in one of London’s major parks, to joining the capital’s biggest street party on the roads of Notting Hill, go west to find some of the city’s best things to do, darling.

RECOMMENDED: 101 things to do in London

The best things to do in west London

Bounce off the walls at Oxygen Freejumping

This massive trampoline park offers 150 interconnected trampolines for energetic people to bound around on to their heart’s content. Sure, you can take lessons in the trampoline academy, but you’ll probably have more fun flinging yourself at the walk-the-wall trampolines in one of the ‘freejump’ sessions. Bouncier than Tigger on a pogo stick.

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North Acton

Play ‘footgolf’ in Chiswick

Let’s face it, how many of us have time for a round of proper golf? In footgolf, the holes are bigger, fewer people have the experience to beat you and if you don’t come first you can blame the weird notion of kicking a ball around a golf course in the first place. Yes, it’s really just kicking a football around a golf course, and it’s as utterly daft and brilliantly amusing as that sounds.

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By: Isabelle Aron

Discover the tranquil Kyoto Garden in Holland Park

Holland Park has many great assets including sports facilities, play areas, woodland and an eco centre, but it also has a remarkable hidden treasure: a traditionally designed Japanese garden. Created as part of London’s Japan Festival in 1992, the garden has water features, Japanese trees and other pretty plants, and is carefully tended to ensure it remains a picturesque spot.

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Holland Park

Visit the Serpentine Gallery's summer pavilion

Every summer, Hyde Park’s Serpentine Gallery invites a different so-hot-right-now architect to design a temporary outdoor space for visitors to lounge around in. Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry and Ai Weiwei are among the more famous names to contribute work, which often makes the increasingly amorphous architecture of the city’s financial centre look like reserved office blocks by comparison.

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Party your way round the Notting Hill Carnival

This celebration of West Indian culture and Europe’s biggest street party always takes place on August Bank Holiday. Sunday is family day, and on Monday the streets get especially crowded so arrive by tube then walk to Chepstow Road, Ladbroke Grove or Westbourne Grove. Sound systems on the street and in the squares are a big draw, but some of best DJ sessions feature at the warm-ups and after parties.

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North Kensington

Have grown-up fun at the Science Museum

From daytime play for little ones to lates for geeky grown-ups, the Science Museum is a happily noisy home of scientific discovery that’s free to visit for one and all. Its latest feature is the new Wonderlab: Statoil Gallery, a state-of-the-art seven-zone area of the museum that’s ticketed, allowing you to see live experiments and shows, and get interactive away from the crowds. From moving exhibits and a chemistry bar to friction slides you can try yourself, it’s an exciting new addition for adults and school kids.

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See Charles II’s loo at Hampton Court Palace

The grand Tudor pile that Henry VIII ‘acquired’ from Cardinal Wolsey was later home to royal Stuarts and Georgians who also made their mark on the palace and the remarkable thing is, you can stand in the very rooms where history was made, walk down the corridor where Kathryn Howard was dragged screaming, see how George I’s chocolatier prepared the king’s favourite tipple and yes, where the monarch did his business. Top tip: the wintertime ghost tours are frighteningly good.

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Wave a Union Jack at the Proms

From mid-July to mid-September The Proms’ annual festival of classical music takes over the Royal Albert Hall and Hyde Park. For each concert there are about 1400 £5 standing tickets, but if you want to wave your flags at the famously rousing last night, apply by ballot online from mid-spring. Alternatively, for last-minute tickets on the day, join the queues on the Queen’s Steps.

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Walk among dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum

For everyone from T-Rex-obsessed toddlers to budding paleontologists, the Natural History Museum remains the ultimate destination for matters pre-historic. A left turn from the vast main entrance hall leads into the west wing or Blue Zone, where long queues form to see animatronic dinosaurs – especially endlessly popular T-rex. A display on biology features an illuminated, man-sized model of a foetus in the womb along with graphic diagrams of how it might have got there.

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Venture beyond the West End for fringe theatre at the Finborough

Maintaining the freedom of fringe arts in an intimate space above a pub, the award-winning Finborough Theatre company still manages to compete with theatreland’s bigger players for quality. The focus is on new writing or neglected plays from the nineteenth and twentieth century that would rarely been seen elsewhere, and productions regularly transfer to the West End.

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West Brompton

See an all-singing, all-dancing West End show

In London’s West End there’s an insatiable appetite for Broadway transfers like ‘The Book of Mormon’ and 'Kinky Boots', but there’s homegrown success, too: Andrew Lloyd Webber’s epic ‘The Phantom of the Opera’, Cameron Mackintosh’s ‘Les Miserables’ and the RSC’s ‘Matilda the Musical’ are among the hits. Last-minute tickets from the Leicester Square ticket booth are usually your best bet for a bargain.

Visit our London Theatre Tickets page to book now.

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Browse the riches of ages on Portobello Road

There are stalls selling veg and new goods through the week, but on Saturdays Portobello Market is at its best. At the Chepstow Villas end of the road you’ll find the antiques and bric-a-brac stalls. Don’t be fooled by the fold-out tables, this isn’t cheap tat, there are some serious treasures here. For secondhand goodies, head further along the road, beyond the Westway.

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Marvel at world-famous marbles in the V&A

Can’t get to Florence to examine Michelangelo’s David up close? An impressive five-metre-high reproduction is on show over in Kensington, in the V&A’s Cast Courts. Collecting plaster-cast reproductions of European monuments and works of art for the British public was popular in the nineteenth century, and present-day museum-goers are still benefitting from a practice of which the V&A was at the forefront. The high-ceilinged, light-filled galleries have become an invaluable record of many sculptures whose originals have been since damaged.

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How many things have you done?

The 101 things to do in London checklist

Living in London, it's amazing how many things we never quite get around to doing. See how many of the entries on our 101 things to do in London list you've actually seen and done...

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By: Phoebe Trimingham

Explore the full collection of things to do

Whether you’ve lived here all your life or you’ve just arrived at Heathrow, we're all spoilt for brilliant things to do in London. From picture-postcard attractions to hotspots in odd spots, by day and night, from art to wildlife, there are, in fact, many more than 101 things to do in London.

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By: Laura Lee Davies