Hammersmith Bridge over the River Thames.
Stuart Bak

Things to do in Hammersmith London

With picturesque riverside pubs, several top-class theatres and concert venues and some of west London’s finest parks, there are plenty of things to do in Hammersmith year-round.

Out and about in Hammersmith

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In spite of weighing in at around 33 acres and having its own Tube station, Hammersmith's Ravenscourt Park remains one of west London’s best-kept secrets. Here, bright green parakeets dart between ancient lime and chestnut trees, their playful squawks a familiar sound to residents, while kids splash and play in the huge paddling pool and sandpit by the railway arches, open during the summer months. There’s a tranquil walled garden tucked away by the Paddenswick Road entrance, as well as a duck pond, playgrounds and a small garden center with a coffee shop.

The park is just a hop and a skip from the Thames Path, with wonderful riverside walks that stretch all the way from Greenwich in south-east London to the bucolic rolling hills of the Cotswolds. A gentle meander along this leafy West London stretch is particularly rewarding, with Kew Gardens, Richmond Park and Hampton Court Palace among the highlights easily reached by bicycle. Boat services also connect Kew to Hampton Court.

Hammersmith’s Furnivall Gardens is a fine riverside spot for people (and boat) watching. Get there early on balmy summer evenings to claim your spot on the grass and watch the local rowing clubs being put through their paces in the shadow of the mighty Hammersmith Bridge. This regal vision in moss-green and gold is one of the world’s oldest mechanical suspension bridges, and connects Hammersmith to the sprawling London Wetland Centre reserve, just across the Thames in neighboring Barnes.

Prints and pints

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No visit to Hammersmith’s riverfront would be complete without popping into one of its quaint old pubs to sample an ale or two from nearby Fuller’s Brewery. Just off Furnivall Gardens, The Dove offers a splendid sun terrace during summer and roaring log fires in the colder months. This 18th-century stalwart also lays claim to what was once the tiniest bar room in the world (as immortalised in the Guinness Book of Records, no less!), as well as links to hard-drinking literary heavyweights including Ernest Hemingway, Graham Greene and Dylan Thomas.

Other notable former neighbors include William Morris, textile designer and leading light of the Arts and Crafts Movement. You’ll find a pub named in his honor on King Street, Hammersmith’s main shopping thoroughfare, though teetotaller Morris may have raised an eyebrow at the association. Instead, make for Kelmscott House, the handsome riverside Georgian townhouse where Morris lived for nearly 20 years. Although now a private home, the basement and coach house serve as headquarters of the William Morris Society, which opens to the public on Thursday and Saturday afternoons.

A visit to the restored home of Morris’s friend and fellow Arts and Crafts pioneer Emery Walker, just a few doors along the riverfront, is also worthwhile for its bold prints, colorful pottery and exhibition room.

A little further west, Hogarth’s House is a little countryside oasis in Chiswick, just yards from the major road that connects west London to Heathrow Airport. Take a wander around the beautiful Mulberry Garden before stepping inside to see some of William Hogarth’s works, as well as exhibitions from other artists. Entry is free.

Take in a show

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Hammersmith’s Eventim Apollo has played host to rock, pop and jazz royalty in its near-100-year history, from Prince to Queen, The Beatles to Bowie, Kanye to Kylie. It’s also the place to get a few belly laughs with shows from international comedy stars. But don’t be fooled by the household names: this landmark Art Deco venue is no soulless stadium, with a relatively intimate theater atmosphere and a maximum capacity of only around 5,000.

Just round the corner, the Lyric Theatre hosts touring musicals, Christmas pantomimes and fabulous kids’ shows, as well as productions from up-and-coming theatrical groups. For ultra-local theater, check out the Chiswick Playhouse, an intimate 90-seat venue above The Tabard pub by Turnham Green Tube station. As well as dramas and musicals, the Playhouse frequently hosts low-key shows by big-name comedians as they polish their latest jokes for TV and stadium audiences.

Riverside Studios is a smart, contemporary space that showcases the best of independent film-making alongside the latest blockbusters. The venue boasts two cinemas as well as an exhibition space and studios for theatrical productions. Grab a drink before the movie in the Cinema Bar or enjoy a pre-theatre dinner in Sam’s Riverside, with views of the river and Hammersmith Bridge.

Good neighbors

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For such a compact urban neighborhood, Hammersmith really punches above its weight when it comes to things to do. Direct links to Heathrow Airport and central London mean it’s also ideal for reaching many of London’s other top attractions, while its closest neighbors are also no slouches.

Head up to Shepherd’s Bush for world-class shopping, dining and entertainment at the UK’s largest shopping centre. Westfield London boasts nearly 300 stores, around 100 restaurants and an impressive 20-screen cinema. Shepherd’s Bush also has a bustling street market and yet another renowned music venue in the 02 Empire.

Regal Kensington is home to the ultra-modern Design Museum, as well as Kensington Palace and Gardens, former home of Diana, Princess of Wales and now the official royal residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their family. From here, you can enter Hyde Park for strolls to the Serpentine lake and gallery, the Diana Memorial Fountain, Royal Albert Hall and smart shops and restaurants in Notting Hill.

Save on things to do in Hammersmith

Save on admission to London attractions and explore Hammersmith and beyond with Go City. Check out @GoCity on Instagram and Facebook for the latest top tips and attraction info.

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