It's spring in Chiswick.The camellias are pink with promise,and along the Thames the boat house doors are opening for rowing practice.Golden crowned daffodils grace the gardens around the neighborhood,all in celebration of a new season.
Filling a horseshoe bend in the Thames,Chiswick is one of west London's loveliest neighborhoods.Similar to village-likeHampsteadin the north and leafyRichmondin the south,the area is home to some of the city's best restaurants,antique shops,and lesser known aristocratic and artistic landmarks.
Given my love of food,I can think of no better way to start a day out in Chiswick than at the neighborhood's most famous restaurant,La Trompette.Michelin starred and thoroughly accoladed,it has long been on my list of places to eat in London.
The three-course lunch menu is surprisingly reasonably priced,and everything from the home cured bresaola with golden beets,smoked curd,and radishes to the caramelized suckling pig with creamed potato,king cabbage,roast parsnips,and quince lives up to La Trompette's reputation.
Appetite well attended to,I turn my attention to Chiswick's other highlights.Up on Chiswick High Road,the shops beckon.
The Old Cinema is one of London's best antique shops,and I spend the better part of an hour getting lost in the warren of rooms.M.C.Escher staircases take me up and down through split-level floors of soft velvety chairs,colorful printed fabric,and thick glass bottles as I imagine kitting out my flat to look like a vintage postcard.
Eventually The Old Cinema's eclectic maze of spaces eases me back out onto the street,and I walk past more antique shops,chi chi furniture stores,and vintage clothing boutiques before making my way down to the Thames.
When I get there,I find myself on the Chiswick Mall,a street full of some of London's most beautiful houses and riverfront gardens.The road turns up to the famous Fuller's Griffin Brewery,a London landmark from 1828 that offers tours on weekdays and has a shop selling everything from exclusive ales to cool vintage pub signs.
In the other direction is St Nicholas Church,another piece of Chiswick history with a moss-covered cemetery home to the tomb of 18th century painter,engraver,and satirist William Hogarth.
The peaceful churchyard is just down a startlingly pretty street and under an unfortunately horrible round威廉希尔真人娱乐场about from from Hogarth's House,which is now a museum.
I pop in for a look around,admiring his famousGin Laneprint,which represents the worst aspects of slum life in 18th century London.Next to it isBeer Street,which shows the peace that Hogarth believed could prevail if beer became the staple drink of the poor instead.Hmmmm…
Around the corner from Hogarth's House is Chiswick House.The former residence of the third Earl of Burlington,the 18th century neo-Palladian house and its extensive gardens are now an English Heritage property.The gardens—which were the birthplace of the English Landscape Movement and inspired New York's Central Park—offer daily access to the public year-round,and this month the annual Camellia Show is on in the impressive greenhouse.
I take in the pink and red blossoms under the thin white ribs of the glass dome,then walk along the garden's paths and over its bridges,stumbling upon historic temples and their corresponding water features as I go.
I also stop into Chiswick House,which is open on weekends this month in honor of the Camellia Show.Its symmetrical rooms will be discoverable from Wednesday to Sunday from the end of this month,and my sneak peek at this year's opening reveals sumptuous jewel-tone wall coverings,lots of period paintings,and rich rooms with great views over the gardens below.
Leaving the museum,I head back to the Thames path for a drink at The Dove,one of the riverside pubs between Chiswick andHammersmith.Dating back to the 17th century,the pub has been frequented by the likes of Charles II and his mistress,Nell Gwynne,and is in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the smallest bar room in the world.But its real appeal is the cozy historic ambiance and riverfront terrace,two options fitting for spring's atmospheric vicissitudes.
Drink finished,I end my day out in Chiswick with a walk along the river,past the pretty parks freckled with fresh spring flowers,and back home to my own neighborhood.I never imagined there was so much to see and do in Chiswick,from the excellent restaurants to the great shopping and landmarks.It merits a trip back in the long days of summer,and I will definitely return for more.