West London Area Guide
Acton, West Acton, North Acton, South Acton, East Acton, Park Royal, Hanger Hill Garden Estate & Gunnersbury Park.
What’s it all about:
It may have more stations than any other place in the Capital, but Acton has long played second fiddle to its more well-known neighbours, Chiswick and Ealing. Now it’s stepping out of the shadows and into the limelight, with regeneration projects galore set to transform the area into a real destination of choice.
Acton means ‘oak farm’ in Anglo Saxon and the motif is everywhere, from the Oaks Shopping Centre to a huge mural of oak trees in the high street. It was also where most of the Capital’s laundries were based in the 17th century, earning Acton the nickname ‘Soapsuds Island’.
Now it has fantastic transport links, with four Tube and three railway stations, and the prospect of a link to the Crossrail and HS2 networks at Old Oak Common. The area retains much of its Victorian terraced housing which, along with newly refurbished leisure facilities, diverse shops and a good choice of schools, making Acton a magnet for families and young professionals alike.
There are lots of restaurants clustered around the Acton High Street and Churchfield Road area. Locals flock to ‘North China’ for its shin of beef and dumplings, and ‘Ting Tong Thai’ for some spicy noodles. Towards Ealing is ‘Persian Nights’ offering live music and belly dancing, or those with a craving for spice could head for ‘Anokha.’ If a freshly cooked kebab is what you hanker after, then ‘Woody Grill’ is the place to seek out.
Five minutes away on the Tube in Turnham Green is the Tabard Theatre, which produces theatre of all types, as well as being a regular comedy venue for some of the biggest names on the circuit. Or, if you’re thinking of being more hands on, head over to Questors Theatre, five minutes away in the other direction in Ealing, the biggest amateur theatre company in the country. For movies, head to the nine screen Vue Cinema in Park Royal.
Between North and East Action Tube stations, the 155 hectare Old Oak Common is one of the biggest regeneration projects since the Olympics. There are plans to build ‘the Canary Wharf of West London’, creating 24,000 homes, 65,000 jobs and a Crossrail/HS2 railway hub. A redevelopment of the South Acton Estate is ongoing, with many of the old tower blocks already demolished and new housing constructed. The project will take 10 years to complete and eventually provide 2,500 new homes. There are also plans to redevelop the Oaks Shopping Centre.
Rail - Acton Central and South Acton are on the Overground and trains from either will drop you at Highbury & Islington in about half an hour. Acton main line station has trains to Paddington that take just 10 minutes. The area will also benefit hugely from the upcoming HS2 rail project. Old Oak Common Station will be a new super-interchange which will link HS2 with Crossrail and the Great Western Main Line. This will provide rapid onward travel to Heathrow Airport. The brownfield site is now one of the UK’s largest regeneration projects backed by the Mayoral Development Corporation. The plan is to create new homes, offices and commercial space.
Tube - East Acton, North Acton and West Acton stations are all on the Central Line, with journey times to the West End of about 20 minutes and to the City in half an hour. Acton Town is on the District and Piccadilly Lines, serving the City, Holborn and Victoria.
Bus - The following buses run through/from the area:
260 (White City)
266 (24 hour Brent Cross)
440 (Stonebridge Park)
487 (Willesdon Junction)