HAMMERSMITH is a mecca for antipodeans, if all roads lead to Rome then all Tube lines will deliver you to Hammersmith — well, four at least, and a whole lot of buses. After a month of calling this my neighbourhood, I’ve found there is more to be found here than a vast array of cafe chains and budget shopping outlets. Hammersmith is home to everything London does best; international food, cosy bars, river views and lazy ways to spend your Sunday.
1. World food on your doorstep
Every Friday, Lyric Square is jammed with stalls for its World Food Market. The smell of curry simmering in enormous pots, marinated meat grilling on the barbecue, freshly baked bread and roasting coffee fill the town and lure workers, shoppers and out of work travellers hungry for a meal and a shot of culture.
A staple on the Hammersmith events calendar, this market offers excellent chow at great prices.
2. A walk with a view
The River Thames skirts Hammersmith’s south western edge and the locals make the most of the wide path running its length. From morning to evening, joggers and cyclists weave in and out of sightseers as they all enjoy the view of swans preening on the bank and rowing teams at practice. Beholding the sights also makes for a good excuse while recovering from a stitch or strained hammy suffered trying to keep up with the better athletes on the route.
If you need a little longer to stop and breathe, the path from Hammersmith Bridge to Putney Bridge passes through several parks, full of sunbathers on a warm day.
Meander along at your own pace or choose from several free guided walks (Hammersmithlondon.co.uk).
3. Riverside watering holes
While you’re out for a riverside stroll, why not detour into one of a handful of pubs dotted along the bank and nearby streets. They’re at their best in summertime when crowds over flow from beer gardens to lap up the sunshine and breeze off the river.
A local favourite since 17th century, The Dove offers top-notch beer and food with a 180 degree view of the Thames from the deck, or if you’re lucky; the mezzanine. The Dove also boasts Britain’s smallest bar in a pub, so there’s no confusion over who is next.
A pub crawl through Hammersmith should also take in The Hop Poles and Swan on King Street for classic charm, nearby Belushi’s to mix with backpackers, the Old Suffolk Punch on Fulham Place Road to mingle with the locals, while further down the road is the ever popular Crabtree.
4. Art farty
Between the Lyric (Lyric.co.uk), Apollo (Hammersmithapollo.com) and Riverside theatres (Riversidestudios.co.uk), Hammersmith attracts more than its fair share of world-class entertainment.
Cheap or even free tickets are regularly on offer for early bird buyers or local residents.
5. Lazy Sunday brunch
Cheap, cheerful and with a seat always available, Cozco Latte on the corner of Fulham Place Road and Biscay Road is my perfect hideaway. Typical café fare is served with a smile and the staff don’t seem to mind how long you stay to enjoy the free Wi-Fi. You’ll need little more than spare change for a filling meal, making Cozco a never-fail choice for catching up or dining solo.