Most visitors experience West London en route to or from Heathrow Airport, either from the confines of the train or tube (which runs overground at this point), or the motorway. The city and its satellites seem to continue unabated, with only fleeting glimpses of the countryside. However, in the five-mile stretch from Chiswick to Osterley there are several former country retreats, now surrounded by suburbia.

The Palladian villa of Chiswick House is perhaps the best known. However, it draws nothing like as many visitors as Syon House, most of whom come for the gardening centre rather than for the house itself, a showcase for the talents of Robert Adam, who also worked at Osterley House, another Elizabethan conversion.

Running through much of the area is the River Thames, once the “Great Highway of London” and still the most pleasant way to travel in these parts during summer. Boats plough up the Thames all the way from central London via the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew and the picturesque riverside at Richmond, as far as Hampton Court.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

London features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Alternative London: off the tourist trail

Alternative London: off the tourist trail

As a tourist in London, you won’t be short of company. The capital has the three most popular free visitor attractions in the UK (British Museum; National Gal…

11 May 2018 • Neil McQuillian insert_drive_file Article
8 things you didn't know you could do in London

8 things you didn't know you could do in London

You've stood at the railings of Buckingham Palace, squinting to see if you can glimpse an elderly woman through the windows. You've taken a selfie with a Beefea…

25 Apr 2018 • Greg Dickinson insert_drive_file Article
An expert’s guide: the best area to stay in London

An expert’s guide: the best area to stay in London

Historic, sprawling, sleepless: London is a wonderful place to visit. Monuments from the capital’s glorious past are everywhere, while you’ll also find cult…

18 Apr 2018 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right