Hammersmith has a lot going for it. Not only is it one of the best places in west London for live music, thanks to the Eventim Apollo, but Hammersmith’s restaurants also boast some seriously global – and seriously tasty – cuisine, reflecting the international nature of its residents. As well as gigs from top bands at the Apollo, culture vultures should head to the Lyric Theatre, which also features a great roof terrace for sunny days. And then there are the clutch of riverside pubs, which give another reason to while away an afternoon – or even a whole day and night – in Hammersmith.
The best bits of Hammersmith
14 reasons to go to King Street, W6
First things first, there’s no regal connection here – it’s named after John King, a seventeenth-century Bishop of London. But King Street reigns supreme in the realm of (more humble) west London shopping streets. Tattier than Chiswick High Road but buzzier than Shepherd’s Bush Road, what this mile-long stretch lacks in cool it makes up for with retail credentials. There’s not a single third-wave coffee shop or concept store in sight. Instead, it’s packed with bargainous high-street staples and seriously sparky independents. Then there are the restaurants. Oh, the restaurants… Dotted between the chain joints are some real neighbourhood gems. Anyone living within walking distance is quite right to be smug about their situation. However, with not one but three tube lines pulling into Hammersmith, it’s easy enough to reroute your night and grab a seat at one of King Street’s global dining establishments. A special shout-out (mainly for its name) has to go to Credit Munch, a low-key sandwich bar that’s essentially King Street’s spirit animal. A new development of homes, offices and a Curzon cinema could soon take the area from unassuming to in-yer-face, but here’s hoping my beloved strip retains its gritty charm. If you like shopping at a snip, ogling brutalist concrete and eating and drinking like a king – well, you’ve found your domain. Drink this A photo posted by The Salutation (@the_salutation_hammersmith) on Jul 1, 2014 at 6:23am PDT A good ale at Grade II
The Boat Race: everything you need to know
As quintessentially British as a cup of tea and a stiff upper lip, the annual Boat Race is back on Sunday April 2 2017 and will see academic titans Oxford and Cambridge battle it out once again in an oar-some rowing race on the Thames. But if – like the majority of the 300,000 people expected to line both banks of the river – you’re really there for the all-day booze fest. Here’s our ultimate guide to the Boat Race 2017, so you can at least sound like rowing pro whilst you sip your Sauvignon.
Restaurants in Hammersmith
101 Thai Kitchen
The cooking at this no-nonsense Hammersmith establishment is largely from the Isan region of north-east Thailand and includes multiple versions of green papaya salad, embellished with anything from salted duck egg to sausage. Also expect various southern dishes such as sour prawn curry or turmeric-marinated sea bass prepared by cook Auntie Bee. Staff treat locals with congeniality.
A converted artist’s studio behind the Hammersmith Apollo provides the setting for this branch of the Gate mini-chain. Expect colourful, nourishing, eclectic dishes with plenty of ambition and serious veggie and vegan cred, including meze platters (salty feta fritters, mushroom ceviche, featherlight artichoke tempura) and global big-hitters such as aubergine ‘teriyaki’, raw pad Thai or wild mushroom risotto cake. Excellent puds too.
Kerbisher & Malt
Perched at the zenith of London-based fish and chippery, this branch of scrubbed-up Kerbisher & Malt goes that extra mile for its loyal Brook Green customers. High-quality fillets are freshly dunked in floaty-light batter, chips are double-fried, the rich tartare sauce is made in-house, and the onion rings are pickled, adding an appealing vinegary tang.
Many Iranian restaurants strive to emulate the informality of the dinner parties at which so much of their nation’s cuisine is served. Not so with Mahdi, a sprawling space exotically festooned with carved wood, embroidered fabrics and even a stuffed peacock in one corner. To eat, bypass Western dishes such as chicken Caesar salad in favour of authentic meze, grills, kebabs, rice and stews. Portions are humongous.
Another live music emporium that began life as an art deco cinema, this 1930s building had a big refit in 2002 and still features the original 1932 Compton pipe organ. It now doubles as a 3,600-capacity all-seater theatre and a 5,000-capacity standing-room-only gig space, hosting everyone from Kenny Rogers to Slipknot.
William Morris Society and Kelmscott House Museum
On Hammersmith riverside, this small museum is where William Morris, socialist and founding member of the Arts and Crafts movement, spent the last 18 years of his life (1878-96), and which he described to his wife Janey as 'the most beautiful house in London.'
Bars and pubs in Hammersmith
The perfect weekend in Hammersmith
Love London Awards: last year's winners
Ravenscourt is less a traditional park, more a secret garden. While larger than your average private acreage, it has a refreshing local feel and is suitably off the beaten track. Even in the height of summer it remains blissfully calm, part of the reason being that west London is awash with big-name parks with Hyde and Holland being the main attractions. Ravenscourt Park's Walled Garden is an extra hidden gem. Tucked away in the north-east corner, it exudes a Zen-like charm and is the perfect place to wile away an afternoon. If staring at plants isn't your thing, then there are passable tennis courts, a bowling lawn and a putting green. Kids are well catered for with a nature trail and four play areas which feature a paddling pool, a rope and post fitness circuit and an adventure playground with fort-style climbing frames, slides and a popular basket swing (adults are often seen commandeering the seriously fun rope slide). Annual events include a spectacular bonfire night, Carter's Steam Fair and an alfresco opera season.