West London

West London encompasses some of the most attractive and desirable real estate in London, particularly the Georgian stucco villas in hyper-gentrified Notting Hill, where Portobello Market remains a big draw. Further southwest, there’s much to appeal to both residents and visitors; classic days out include trips to the glorious greenery of Kew Gardens, Barnes Wetland Centre, Richmond Park and Wimbledon Common, and visits to Hampton Court Palace or the many grand houses around Chiswick and Richmond. These areas started life as rural retreats and something of that atmosphere lingers in these parts, the closest London comes to the countryside.
Notting Hill

Notting Hill has long been known as a melting pot in which several races and extremes of just about every social class rub shoulders. Grand Georgian townhouses at the Holland Park end contrast with their run-down counterparts just to the north. With sky-high prices, it is one of London’s most trend-conscious areas. Built on the site of a pig farm named for an English victory over Spain at Porto Bello in the Gulf of Mexico in 1739, Portobello Road hosts a famed and major antiques market. The road actually accommodates three markets: antiques, food and one mixing bric-a-brac with cutting-edge fashion. On the August bank holiday each year Ladbroke Grove is the parade route for for the Notting Hill Carnival, a three-day Caribbean festival that has been held since 1966.
Chiswick

This once rural area has two grand houses worth visiting. Off the Great West Road, Hogarth’s House is the modest residence of the father of political cartoons, William Hogarth (1697–1764) and displays his beautifully executed engravings, including The Rake’s Progress, in an otherwise empty house. The romantic 18th-century villa and gardens of Chiswick House are rather grander.

Wimbledon

This southwest suburb hosts the famed tennis tournament in June/July; its history is captured in the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum, which has a rich collection, ranging from Victorian tableaux to Bjorn Borg’s racket. Ground tours can be booked. Wimbledon’s village is a quintessential West London enclave of chic boutiques and family-friendly cafes, bordering the wilder Wimbledon Common, a partly wooded expanse with nature trails.

This southwest suburb hosts the famed tennis tournament in June/July; its history is captured in the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum, which has a rich collection, ranging from Victorian tableaux to Bjorn Borg’s racket. Ground tours can be booked. Wimbledon’s village is a quintessential West London enclave of chic boutiques and family-friendly cafes, bordering the wilder Wimbledon Common, a partly wooded expanse with nature trails.

Richmond

Richmond Park, at 2,345 acres (950 hectares) is the largest of the royal parks, and is grazed by herds of red and fallow deer who enjoy the bracken thickets and gather beneath the huge oaks. Rhododendrons and azaleas make the Isabella Plantation a particular high spot in May. 17th- and 18th-century buildings line Richmond Green, the handsome town centre. Richmond Bridge is the oldest on the river, and the waterfront is always lively.

Richmond Hill provides a grand view of the river. Below, along the towpath, is Ham House, a richly furnished 1610 Palladian building with stunning gardens. From here, you can take a foot ferry across the river to Marble Hill House and its lovely park in Twickenham.

South of Richmond lies Hampton Court Palace, which boasts splendid, mature gardens and the famous maze.

Barnes

Barnes, protected from the bustle of neighbouring Hammersmith by the natural boundary of the river, is a well-heeled village with several good pubs. Next to the pretty common is the London Wetland Centre, a habitat for rare wildlife. Birds, butterflies and water voles are among the creatures inhabiting the ponds, rushes and gardens.

Kew

Kew is synonymous with its Royal Botanic Gardens. The 295-acre (120-hectare) gardens, established in 1759, form a formidable repository and research centre. It is also very beautiful, with grand glasshouses, including the Palm House and Waterlily House, the Orangery, a mock Chinese pagoda, and the 17th-century Kew Palace, built for a Dutch merchant.

Kew is synonymous with its Royal Botanic Gardens. The 295-acre (120-hectare) gardens, established in 1759, form a formidable repository and research centre. It is also very beautiful, with grand glasshouses, including the Palm House and Waterlily House, the Orangery, a mock Chinese pagoda, and the 17th-century Kew Palace, built for a Dutch merchant.