Walking from West Acton to North Ealing tube station and further towards Ealing Broadway is like travelling in time. Each part of this walk is from a different period of history. You won’t be bored.
I love this walk even though it’s a short one. When I used to live in West Acton I walked that way very often, either to simply relax, explore the neighbourhood or take a train from a different station. Using as many different stations as possible when travelling regularly on the same route is one of my favourite ways of brightening up my daily routine. Once, I walked this way FOUR TIMES within a day. I went shopping to Ealing Broadway and when I reached there I realised I forgot my money. I had to go back home and go to Ealing Broadway again…
It’s a really nice area for a stroll. I’m not sure if it’s because of how peaceful it is or because of its distinctive architecture or ornamental garden and trees along the streets, or all those things together but there’s definitely something about it. It’s a bit like an enclave within the city or a town with its own distinctive character from the rest of the borough.
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The tale of two stations
When you see West Acton station you feel like you were taken back to 1930s. That’s when it was rebuilt. I won’t be surprised if somebody says this station is ugly. After all not everyone likes modernist architecture. but if you look closer, you’ll see its beauty – light shining through the glass and solid brick construction towering over the neighbourhood. The building we can currently admire was built in late 1930s and the station opened several years before in November 1923.
If you walk only 500m down Queens Drive you’ll find yourself in a completely different time in history. North Ealing station represents beginning of the 20th century. This extension of the underground was, together with the existing tracks between Ealing Common & Acton Town, the first section of the underground’s surface lines to be electrified and operate electric instead of steam trains. Other stations on that route were rebuilt to represent “Holden” style (travel one station towards West to Park Royal to see for yourself what does it mean) but North Ealing wasn’t. That’s why it retains a bit rural look.
Every time see the station building in this green leafy area, I feel as if I was transported not only in time but also in a space to a tiny village in rural England, where train stops once day. That’s why I like travelling from this station. It makes me feel more relaxed. It’s not only one of my favourite stations – also film makers like it for its atmosphere.
When you’re around make sure you use the toilet at this station, however weird it sounds. That’s because the toilets also retained their original look.
In between those two stations you’ll find Hanger Hill Gardens Estate. This estate of mock-Tudor houses was built in two phases between 1928 and 1936. It hides between Queens Drive, Vale Lane, Princes Gardens, Tudor Gardens and Links Road. It comprises of around 500 mostly two storeys houses and blocks of flats and courts looking like they were built some time in 1500s. Interestingly, before the estate was built the site had been used as an aerodrome and for aircraft manufacture.
Towards Ealing Broadway
If you would like to go back to present times, cross Hanger Lane and keep walking straight ahead. You’ll come across some of the prettiest and the biggest houses in London. They’re all worth looking at. In front of some of them you may find such gems like this cute old car.
When you reach the end of Madeley Road, turn left at the roundabout and after a few minutes you’ll find Electric Coffee. I think it’s the best coffee house in the area. And that’s not only my opinion as it has been voted the best local café in Time Out voting two years in a row. They have minimalist interiors, delicious coffee and food. The place is a perfect place to simply relax after such a walk.
If you prefer not to walk any further and stay in North Ealing you can have a cuppa at 11 Coffee & Co, a fairly new place in the area. Also, if you’re visiting London, check out Hotel 55, steps from North Ealing underground station. It’s cosy and contemporary hotel that is a great starting point for exploring the rest of London.
PS. When you’re around West Acton station and you like sushi make sure to visit Yo Yo Kitchen. Their chef, who used to work in the most expensive London hotels and restaurants and served Japanese treat to many celebrities, now serves amazing sushi in this little sushi bar. I can tell you – IT IS GOOD! you can also buy sushi ingredients to make your own at home. And don’t forget to try green tea cake. Yummy. You can read my review of Yo Yo kitchen on Weekendnotes.com
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