Shepherd’s Bush will never be the same again. The giant new £1.6 billion Westfield shopping centre in W12 - the largest in London - will shift the luxury-shopping gravity westward and rival Knightsbridge.
- © Toby Melville
- © Alex Lentati
This temple to shopping with its vast undulating roof, designed to resemble a pebble dropped in water, has two huge department stores, 260 shops and 50 restaurants.
A giant, marble-floored atrium the size of a football pitch anchors the covered shopping centre but most of the restaurants are arranged around an external street and stay open until late, giving local residents a new night-time venue as well as daytime destination.
New transport links bring benefits to the area. There is a new Tube station at Wood Lane, on the Hammersmith and City line; the Tube station at Shepherd’s Bush on the Central line has been completely redesigned and now contains a new overground station on the West London line.
The shopping centre is acting as a catalyst for the regeneration of what was a largely derelict area between Westway and the West Cross route. A masterplan prepared by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas included more than 3,000 new homes, offices, a hotel, a school, cafés and restaurants.
Shepherd’s Bush, with its traffic jams and scruffy green, is not one of the capital’s most attractive areas but sits cheek by jowl with neighbourhoods that have their own individuality.
© Barry Phillips
The vast BBC buildings nearby mean that most of the streets between its headquarters in Wood Lane to the north and Hammersmith to the south have been densely populated with arty types since the Seventies.
Latimer Road on the east side of the West Cross route is separated from Notting Hill by an area of council housing and a number of radio station headquarters. The Crysalis music empire is here, as is Global Radio, the country’s largest commercial radio company with stations Heart, LBC, Classic FM and Capital.
The new stripy yellow Allford Hall Monaghan Morris-designed headquarters for Accessorize is there, too, and the Louise T Blouin Institute gallery in a former warehouse building.
There are pretty Victorian cottages and three-storey terrace houses around Treadgold Street, which sell for £550,000 and more. St James’s Gardens with its church, communal garden and village charm offers Notting Hill-style five-storey houses for about £2.5 million.
© Alex Lentati
With its colourful and bustling market, Shepherd’s Bush is lively and edgy. Large houses have long been converted into flats and many have been turned back into fine family homes between Uxbridge Road and Goldhawk Road.
One bedroom flats start at about £225,000; large family houses in popular Boscombe Road go for between £975,000 and £1.7 million; and between £700,000 and £1.1 million in nearby Findon Road.
Music- and theatre-lovers are well served. The Shepherd’s Bush Empire is a top London music venue; the Bush Hall offers eclectic music and comedy; while the Bush Theatre is one of London’s leading fringe theatres.
The Patio, a local Polish restaurant in Goldhawk Road, is a bit of an institution and the Bush Bar and Grill in the same street is reopening in November after a face-lift.
Brackenbury Village lies between King Street and Goldhawk Road, an enclave of mainly two- and three-storey houses with Brackenbury Road at its centre.
Two- and three-bedroom terrace cottages in a typical street such as Carthew Road sell for between £600,000 and £865,000, but expect to pay £1.5 million and more for a house overlooking popular Ravenscourt Park.
The Brackenbury is the kind of local restaurant every neighbourhood should have. Under the railway arches, next to the park, Ginkho Gardens is an adventurous garden centre selling mature trees and large pots.
Brook Green is a pretty open space off Shepherd’s Bush Road. A cluster of popular schools overlooks the green: the One World Montessori Nursery; Bute House, a girls’ prep school; and L’Ecole Française de Londres Jacques Prévert, a French primary school, plus top-performing St Paul’s Girls’ School.
The playground in the green is where parents of younger children gather after school. Large Victorian houses overlooking the green sell for £1 million to £2.5 million.
In the surrounding area there are more Victorian houses and some cottages. A three-bedroom cottage in Masbro Road sells for between £600,000 and £750,000.
Towards West Kensington there is a good choice of spacious flats in roads such as Sinclair Road, where prices vary between £200,000 and £500,000.
There are interesting shops along Shepherd’s Bush Road near Brook Green, such as Oliver Bonas. Holloways of Ludlow sells everything from old-fashioned light switches to Belfast sinks. Along Blythe Road, two interiors shops offer design services: Echo Interiors and Innes & Innes. The Havelock Tavern in Masbro Road is a favourite gastropub.
The Wallflower Estate
The Wallflower Estate is a pretty but little-known enclave of Arts and Crafts-influenced houses. Situated south of Westway and west of the giant White City estate, the streets are all named after flowers: Lilac Street, Clematis Street, Daffodil Street and Hemlock Road. Three-bedroom terrace houses sell for between £320,000 and £425,000.