7 things to do in Hammersmith and Shepherd's Bush

Blogger Neil Barnes Neil Barnes of Backpacks and Bunkbeds
Music lovers flock to Shepherd's Bush and Hammersmith for its world-famous gig venues, including the Shepherd’s Bush Empire and the Eventim Apollo. It's also a major draw for shoppers who flock to the Westfield London shopping centre.

Just 12 minutes from Oxford Circus to Shepherd's Bush on the Central line, or 14 minutes to Hammersmith station from Green Park on the Piccadilly line, here are a few reasons why you should swing by this buzzy pocket of West London:

1. Shop 'til you drop

Flex your credit card in preparation for a trip to shopping behemoth Westfield London in Shepherd's Bush, where you'll find a whopping 265 luxury and high street shops, as well as department stores. Label lovers can find the latest trends in Westfield’s The Village where you’ll find all manner of luxury lines, from Burberry to Versace.

There are also a number of markets in the area where you can stumble across some treasures and bargains. Currently undergoing a major revamp, Shepherd's Bush Market specialises in fabrics and fresh food.  

2. Live music


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It's time to get your groove on! This corner of West London attracts gig-goers for its slew of live music venues. First stop, the O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire, where I've seen the likes of Feeder, The Wombats and Major Lazer light up the stage. Built in 1903, the venue was originally a music hall before becoming the BBC Television Theatre. The Grade II listed building was transformed into a music venue in 1991.

Around the corner, just past Shepherd's Bush Market, you'll find Bush Hall, which was first opened in 1904 and was used as a dance hall through the roaring 1920s. Restored to its former glory in 2001, this great looking venue boasts ornate chandeliers and period features.

A bit further down the road in Hammersmith, you'll find the Eventim Apollo, where everyone from David Bowie to Kylie Minogue has performed. Formerly an art deco cinema, the venue still homes its old Compton pipe organ.

3. Enjoy a show

For fabulous theatre shows, the Lyric Hammersmith is your first port of call. The theatre hosts big productions and children's shows. It also has a roof garden that hosts summer barbecues. 

4. Foodie scene

The Uxbridge Road is an emerging foodie destination. Enjoy a meal at award-winning Mexican restaurant Habanera. Most of the chefs are Mexican so you're guaranteed an authentic meal. Foodies should hotfoot it to pop-up street food area Market Yard, where restaurants are given a six-week run of the yard. Expect affordable, trend-defining cuisine with casual dining and a bar vibe.

5. See a football match

Football is a huge part of my love affair with this part of London. Despite a relatively large amount of personal agony watching QPR (Queens Park Rangers FC) play at Loftus Road Stadium over the years, I'd heartily recommend a day out here. Next to Westfield London shopping centre, Loftus Road Stadium offers a great family day out. Watch a football match in historic surrounds or go behind-the-scenes on a stadium tour.

6. Picnic in the park

If you're in search of rest and relaxation, head to Ravenscourt Park where you'll find cafes, children's paddling pools, basketball courts, a lake and even a Green Flag (that's an award for being awesome). Seriously though, this is a beautiful spot that's well worth a visit.

7. Alcoholic indulgences (in moderation of course)

The Rutland Arms pub

After exploring all of the places mentioned above, you will be feeling thirsty!

Shepherd's Bush Green is lined with a raft of fabulous pubs, my preferred establishment being the Defector's Weld for its real ales, homemade pub food, cosy upstairs snug bar and relaxed vibe.

Hammersmith has a slew of pubs around the town centre, but the real action takes place down by the river. On a sunny day, there is nothing better than sitting outside the riverside boozer, The Rutland Arms, and watching the world float by.