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Hammersmith has to be your next West London trip. West is best and Hammersmith is blessed with riverside walks, gorgeous green spaces and new shopping spaces (hello IKEA!).
Look around and you’ll also discover several ‘villages’ in and around Hammersmith, with top dining and historic pubs.
We lived in and around Hammersmith for almost a decade and it still remains one of our favourite places in London.
From rooftop and riverside bars to top London theatres and tasty food markets, here is our guide to the 25 best things to do in Hammersmith, West London (2023)
Things to do in Hammersmith
Table of Contents
1. Hammersmith River Walk
As former Hammersmith residents, possibly our favourite thing to do in Hammersmith was to go for a pleasant stroll along the River Thames.
This area is one of the most affluent places in London and there are many beautiful homes and historic pubs all along this stretch of the river (particularly around Lower Mall).
It is incredible that you can escape the hustle of busy King Street and walk through the side streets of Hammersmith to arrive in one of the most beautiful riverside spots in London in a matter of mere minutes.
The best stretch of the Hammersmith Riverside walk along the Thames starts from Hammersmith Bridge and nearby Riverside Studios, taking in Lower Mall, Furnival Gardens and finishing in Upper Mall. You also easily continue the walk (it is quite flat) all the way to Chiswick and neighbouring Strand on The Green.
Genuinely, this riverside walk (or cycle ride) in Hammersmith is an idyllic and peaceful spot. Reward yourself afterwards in one of the numerous bars along Lower Mall or past Hammersmith Bridge towards Fulham.
If you are arriving in Hammersmith by tube or bus, it is just a short five minute walk to the riverside.
To get there take the rear exit from Hammersmith Underground Station (between Tescos and the Craft Beer Bar Co) and then head across the road to Eventim Apollo. Walk down Queen Caroline Street through a quiet housing estate and you’ve arrived at the Hammersmith riverside.
2. The Dove pub, Hammersmith
The Dove in Hammersmith has a lot going for it as it is possibly the most well known pub and bar in Hammersmith.
Not only does The Dove have a fine riverside dining area and deck directly overlooking the Thames, but it oozes history throughout.
Charles II is said to have carried on his illicit encounter with Nell Gwyn here, plus the poet James Thompson wrote ‘Rule Britannia’ whilst at The Dove.
The Dove in Hammersmith lays claim to having the world’s smallest bar room which is located at the front of the pub (it can fit two or three peeps in at a squeeze).
Riverside pubs in London do not get any better than the Dove in Hammersmith.
Address: The Dove, 19 Upper Mall, London W6 9TA
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3. IKEA Hammersmith
Know your Norberg (table) from your Misterhalt (table)? Then good, as a little bit of Scandinavia comes to Hammersmith.
IKEA, the legendary Scandinavian furniture seller recently opened their first store in West London.
Hammersmith IKEA is a new concept and is an inner-city store that is MUCH smaller than most of the big IKEA warehouses usually found on the edge of towns. That said, they manage to fit so much stock into IKEA Hammersmith.
It is so easy to find too – just look for the bright yellow signs along King Street (it is part of the new LIVAT complex).
Best of all, they have a couple of cafes / diners so you can try the legendary IKEA meatballs and IKEA hotdogs for next to nothing (vegan versions of both are also available).
Address: IKEA Hammersmith, Livat Hammersmith Mall, 38 King Street, London W6 0YJ
4. Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith
OK, whilst it has officially been called the Eventim Apollo for a good few years now, most people still refer to it as the Hammersmith Apollo, in deference to the history of this legendary music venue.
Hosting huge music stars, comedy gigs plus regular TV recordings (many of which are free to attend*), the Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith is one of the best music venues in London.
The Hammersmith Apollo was originally a cinema and opened way back in 1932 as the Gaumont Palace Cinema (then renamed the Hammersmith Odeon in the 1960s). It is now a Grade II listed building.
Historic gig highlights at the Eventim Hammersmith Apollo include David Bowie’s very last ever gig performing as Ziggy Stardust, plus almost 40 gigs by The Beatles over the years.
If you fancy a sneaky pint before a gig at the Eventim Hammersmith Apollo, your best bet is the The Craft Beer Co. in The Broadway shopping centre (a one minute walk away from the venue). Although as you’d expect, it gets VERY busy on gig nights – so buy a large round when you get to the bar so you don’t have to keep going back!
*find out how to bag free TV recording tickets to Hammersmith venues like Eventim Apollo and Riverside Studios in our best free things to do in London guide.
Address: Eventim Hammersmith Apollo, 45 Queen Caroline Street, London W6 9QH
5. Livat Hammersmith (formerly King’s Mall)
IKEA have shaken up the shopping scene in Hammersmith. Not only have they opened IKEA Hammersmith, they have also transformed the former King’s Mall into one cool looking shopping centre – Livat Mall!
“Livat” means a ‘lively happening’ in Swedish with Livat Hammersmith aiming to be a place where people can meet, eat and experience new things.
Most of King Mall’s previous anchor tenants are still here like Primark, H&M and Lidl, plus Livat provide special activities like craft sessions for kids during half-term.
You may think you could take it or ‘Livat’ but it is good to see new investment and retail stores in the heart of Hammersmith.
Address: Livat Shopping Centre, 38 King Street, London W6 0YJ
6. Lyric Square, Hammersmith
As well as being home to the Lyric Theatre, Lyric Square is a nice spot to enjoy a coffee (or pint!) in the sun, as it is dotted with shops and cafes all around the edges.
You can grab a coffee from Pret A Manger and enjoy it on their terrace in Lyric Square. Next door, Wetherspoons (The William Morris J D Wetherspoon) have a beer garden in Lyric Square, plus there are several independent cafes like Outsider Tart and Blanche Eatery.
Best of all in the summer months, Lyric Square (courtesy of Hammersmith and Fulham Council) often host special screenings of big sport events like Wimbledon Lawn Tennis and the World Cup football / Euros.
This usually involves a big television screen and dozens of deck-chairs; enjoy (we alway ‘wax ‘Lyric-al’ about these outdoor events in Hammersmith).
Address: Lyric Square, Hammersmith, London W6 0ED
7. Hammersmith Food Market
Lyric Square is also home to the Hammersmith food market, which takes place every Thursday and Friday between 8am and 5pm.
The Hammersmith Food Market is always a popular place to pick up lunch or for a takeaway snack. There are usually 10 to 20 stalls selling all types of street food from falafel wraps to hog roasts or sweet treats.
Address: Hammersmith Food Market, Lyric Square, Hammersmith, London W6 0NB
8. The Rutland Arms pub, Hammersmith
Talk about a picture postcard setting. The Rutland Arms overlooks the River Thames and is one of the best pubs along the Lower Mall in Hammersmith.
With ample seating outside and a classic British pub grub menu, the Rutland Arms in Hammersmith also has an upstairs dining and pub area, with incredible views of Hammersmith Bridge.
Walk along the Lower Mall any sunny days and you’ll always see the picnic tables and chairs outside The Rutland Arms packed with pints and punters.
Address: The Rutland Arms, 15 Lower Mall, London W6 9DJ
9. Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
Riverside Studio is a stalwart of the Hammersmith arts and culture scene. Hammersmith is blessed with two of the best theatres in London (Riverside Studios and The Lyric Theatre).
Overlooking the River Thames and in the shadow in Hammersmith Bridge, Riverside Studios has been around for decades but the Riverside Studios you can see today is pretty new (it was re-built in the last couple of years).
The old Riverside Studios were knocked down to build new riverside apartments but new studios subsequently reopened in this plush development.
As well as theatre and TV studios and a state of the art cinema showing both big Hollywood movies and arthouse flicks, Riverside Studios in Hammersmith is also home to the rather nice Riverside Bar and Restaurant (plus ice-cream kiosk!) with a terrace directly on the Thames path / riverside.
Watch a movie, catch a show and then enjoy a pint or coffee in the bar – Riverside Studios has lots of things to do in Hammersmith.
Address: Riverside Studios, 1 Queen Caroline Street, London W6 9BN
10. Hammersmith Bridge
At the time of writing (February 2023), poor old Hammersmith Bridge has been closed to traffic for several years after a series of cracks were discovered.
For a period, Hammersmith Bridge was also closed to pedestrians and cyclists but it has since reopened meaning you can now get across the River Thames (neighbouring Castelnau and Barnes are lovely to walk around – very leafly with nice pubs).
Historic Hammersmith Bridge (the second such bridge on this site) was constructed in the 1880s and is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the world. Today this Hammersmith landmark is grade II listed with more repairs set to take place in 2023 (if they can decide who will foot the bill).
For now, make the most of the temporary beer garden that the closure of Hammersmith Bridge has allowed The Old City Arms pub to create. Here you can enjoy ice cold pints and tasty Thai food, plus if you squint hard enough, the bridge and river setting here could seem like the banks of the Seine in Paris (probably).
Address: Hammersmith Bridge, Hammersmith, London, W6 9DF.
11. Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith
Starting life as a music hall in the back streets of Hammersmith in the 1890s, the current Lyric Theatre was relocated to its current King Street site in the 1970s, after a successful public campaign to keep it going. The theatre also incorporates some of the former theatre elements at the new site.
The Lyric Hammersmith stages dozens of shows and live performances every year, as well as a highly successful pantomime at Christmas (one of many Christmas events in London).
As a former resident of Hammersmith, we liked how heavily invested in the community the Lyric Theatre was, with discounted or free tickets made available to certain Hammersmith residents.
As well as an award-winning theatre, the Lyric has a stunning rooftop bar overlooking the surrounding area – more on this later in our ‘best things to do in Hammersmith’ list.
Address: The Lyric Theatre Hammersmith, Lyric Square, King Street, London W6 0QL
12. Lower Mall
Perhaps the most lovely looking part of Hammersmith, the Lower Mall is a picturesque place, almost like a village in the heart of West London.
Here you can enjoy pints or meals in several riverside pubs such as The Dove, The Blue Anchor and The Rutland Arms,
You can also admire the architecture of the beautiful riverside homes and gardens along Lower Mall, plus enjoy the wisteria hysteria in the summer months.
With prime views of Hammersmith Bridge and neighbouring Castelnau across the river, Lower Mall in Hammersmith is one of the best hidden and historic gems of London.
Address: The Lower Mall, Hammersmith, W6
13. Furnivall Gardens
Just along from Lower Mall brings you to Hammersmith’s Furnivall gardens, a popular green park that is a perfect picnic space in the summer months.
Furnivall Gardens is a nice spot to watch riverside life in Hammersmith with numerous house boats moored in front, plus enjoy a takeaway pint (or two) from The Dove pub.
The old lamp facing Furnivall Gardens by Westcott Lodge was actually donated in the 1960s by the former Mayor of West Berlin to mark Hammersmith’s twinning with West Berlin.
Furnivall Gardens is also one of the most popular spots in Hammersmith to watch the annual Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge with a big screen to watch the start of the race before they row past the gardens themselves.
Pop up bars and food vans rock up to Furnivall Gardens during the Boat Race, and other live music events are sometimes held in Furnivall Gardens in the summer months.
Address: Furnivall Gardens, 52a Rutland Grove, London W6 9DG,
14. Broadway Shopping Centre
Broadway in Hammersmith has been a bastion of the shopping scene in the local area.
Broadway Shopping centre is always buzzing as it also doubles as the entrance to both the main Hammersmith London Underground Station and the Hammersmith Bus Station.
The ground level of Broadway Shopping Centre has lots of famous UK high street chains like McDonalds, Pret A Manger, Leon restaurant and McDonalds, plus all manner of international food stores (the Portuguese egg tart shop always smell amazing).
On the top floor of Broadway Shopping Centre you’ll find the Hammersmith Bus Station, ‘cut’ price barbers and a couple of cheap cafe kiosks – so there is always plenty to do here if you are waiting for a bus or tube.
Address: Broadway Shopping Centre, Hammersmith Broadway, London W6 9YE,
15. King Street, Hammersmith
King Street is effectively Hammersmith’s High Street, with a good mix of high street shops, traditional pubs and lots of cafes and restaurants.
Popular shops along Hammersmith’s King Street include TK Maxx, Poundland, Primark, H&M and Superdrug (plus bookies and amusement arcades galore).
You’ll also find all your chain coffee shops along King Street like Costa, Pret a Manger and Caffe Nero, plus fast-food chains like KFC and also London’s very first Taco Bell. Greggs is also a popular bakery too.
Recently, a lot of work has been done in the King Street area to install a large cycle lane which takes up most of the main road here.
Whilst it is great for cyclists, it does mean the area gets easily snarled up with traffic, especially as this is main route for buses away from Hammersmith bus station.
Address: King Street, Hammersmith, London
16. The Blue Anchor
Next door to The Rutland Arms and equally popular with stunning riverside views, The Blue Anchor has been a drinking establishment since the 1720s and hasn’t changed all that much over the years.
Quaint and cute inside with an upstairs River Room (great views of the Thames) and downstairs a wood-panelled snug and bar, most people prefer to drink on the wooden benches outside on the towpath. Blue Anchor was also used as a filming location for the Gwyneth Paltrow movie Sliding Doors.
Address: The Blue Anchor, 13 Lower Mall, London W6 9DJ
17. Brook Green
Shhh. We’ll say it quietly but we think Brook Green is one of West London’s best kept secrets and one of our favourite spots to go for a pint or morning fry-up.
Brook Green is just a short 10 minute walk from both Hammersmith and Shepherd’s Bush Green.
Based around the gorgeous green itself, there are some fantastic bars and pubs in Brook Green (the Queen’s Head and Brook Green Hotel stand out) plus it is a prime picnic spot as you can get takeaway food from the nearby cafes or chippy.
Goldhawk Road favourites Bears ice-cream also now have a small ice-cream and dessert shop on Brook Green itself next to the tennis courts- n-’ice’!
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18. Brackenbury Village
Home to a small parade of shops and rows upon rows of gorgeous terraced houses, you could be forgiven for forgetting you are still in London when ambling around Brackenbury Village and Brackenbury Road.
The best Brackenbury Village places to visit include the Daily Shot cafe and coffee bar (complete with cute parklets outside for alfresco dining) and Poppy’s Thai 3 (a famous West London Thai restaurant with several branches around Hammersmith).
There is also an old school Sisi DIY shop on the corner of Brackenbury Village which is well loved by the locals.
The Andover Arms is also based in Brackenbury Village and is one of the best pubs in Hammersmith. We first discovered The Andover Arms years ago when it rated very highly on Tripadvisor for pub food.
This cute and cosy neighbourhood pub spills out onto the streets in the summer months and The Andover Arms often plays host to music / live jazz evenings, with Fullers amongst the core range on draft.
Address: The Andover Arms, 57 Aldensley Road, Hammersmith London W6 0DL
19. The Gate Hammersmith
Nicely nestled along Queen Caroline Street (just between the Hammersmith Apollo and the River Thames), The Gate Hammersmith is one of West London’s best known vegetarian / vegan restaurants and is also one of the longest running.
Hammersmith Gate opened in 1989 and was the very first Gate restaurant (there are several Gate vegetarian restaurants in London now including Islington and Marylebone).
The Gate Hammersmith is blessed with a secret garden for outdoor dining. Signature dishes at the Gate Hammersmith include Green Dragon Salad, Aubergine Schnitzel and Katsu Curry made with Seitan steak.
Address: The Gate Hammersmith, 51 Queen Caroline Street, London W6 9QL
20. Lyric Theatre bar
A ritzy rooftop bar housed in the Lyric Theatre complex and overlooking Lyric square, this is a popular meet-up in the warmer months both for pre-theatre drinks or as a general meeting place in the centre of Hammersmith.
For us, this is all about the summer cocktails and light bites, with a unique view of King Street and Lyric Square. If you time it right, coincide your visit to the Lyric Theatre bar when the pop-up big screen in Lyric Square is in-situ, so you can watch Wimbledon or the World Cup.
Address: Lyric Square, King Street, London W6 0QL
21. Hammersmith Grove
One of the nicest residential areas in Hammersmith is Hammersmith Grove, a tree lined avenue that is also the nicest way to walk between Hammersmith and Goldhawk Road (and to get the all the nice delis and cafes along Askew Road).
Hammersmith Grove has a gorgeous parade of shops and bars; The Grove Tavern is particularly nice and often does live comedy (it also has a little outside beer garden). If we recall rightly, the Grove Tavern also has a random photo wall of famous people who have visited like Alan Sugar and Adrian Chiles.
Nearby, Brackenbury Wine Rooms is one of Hammersmith’s best restaurants and renowned for its fine dining and incredible wine selection.
Once a year, the Hammersmith Grove residents hold a street party / yard sale where all of Hammersmith’s Groves neighbours sell their unwanted items. We visited the Hammersmith Grove resident street one year and saw local legend Bill Bailey selling his unwanted board games. He has also judged the local dog competition in previous years too.
Address: Hammersmith Grove, London W6 0NQ
22. The Bottom TV series bench / tribute to Rick Mayall
The beloved British sitcom Bottom starring and written by the late great Rik Mayall and Ade Edmondson was set in Hammersmith.
The title sequence was actually filmed in Hammersmith when they were building the Broadway Shopping Centre (so strange to see it as a building site in Bottom).
The Bottom TV series lasted for 3 seasons and was accompanied with various live theatre tours and a (terrible) movie – it is still shown today and its ever so rude legacy lives on.
Rik Mayall sadly passed away in 2014 and in his honour, some fans bought and got permission to install a bench exactly in the same location as it had appeared in the Bottom TV series intro.
The Bottom bench is a beautifully low key tribute and has a brass plaque. Even today, we sometimes see flowers that have been laid at the Bottom bench.
The Bottom bench / Rik Mayall tribute, junction of Queen Caroline Street and Hammersmith Bridge Road, Hammersmith.
23. Watch the annual Boat Race from Hammersmith
The celebrated annual Oxford vs Cambridge boat race can easily be watched from the Hammersmith riverside.
Every year in March (exact dates differ each year), the Oxford and Cambridge men and women’s boat team take on the 4 mile course, along the River Thames in West London, from Putney to Mortlake (and via Hammersmith).
The first boat race between Oxford and Cambridge took place in 1829 and since 1856, it has become an annual event. So popular is the Boat Race in the UK that it is televised live to millions on the BBC.
The best spot to watch the boat race in Hammersmith is along Lower Mall or Upper Mall or from Hammersmith Bridge itself. Also, Furnivall Gardens often has pop-up bars and a big screen to catch the racing from the start.
We got there about 20 minutes before the race started last time and still managed to secure a front row spot right by Hammersmith Bridge.
The 2023 Oxford Cambridge Boat Race takes place on Sunday, March 26, 2023.
24. Eat the tastiest pad Thai in West London
We’ve been visiting Latymers for over a decade, and now even though we’ve moved out of west London, we still return to Latymers every time we are back in Hammersmith.
Popular with locals and nearby office workers (Virgin Media head office is right next door), Latymers Hammersmith is a nice Fuller’s Brewery pub made all the better by the incredible Thai food. There is even a dedicated Thai style dining area at the rear of Latymers pub.
Address: Latymers, 157 Hammersmith Road, London W6 8BS
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Our final thing to do in Hammersmith
25. Hammersmith as a filming location
Finally, Hammersmith is a popular London filming location and Hollywood has often come knocking in this part of West London. In recent years, big movies such as James Bond (No Time to Die), Bohemian Rhapsody and Sliding Doors have all filmed along the Thames Path in Hammersmith.
The former Riverside Studios also used to be where the very early episodes of Doctor Who were filmed so they would often shoot along the Hammersmith riverside. Iconic TV show TFI Fridays was also filmed here in Hammersmith.
More recently in 2022, Hammersmith Bridge and the riverside walk along Lower Mall was used for a pivotal scene in Netflix’s The Sandman (the riverside walk with ‘Dream and Death’).
In addition, parts of Killing Eve were filmed in Furnivall Gardens, and Netflix’s The Crown also shot scenes at St Paul’s Church in Hammersmith.
So next time you are in Hammersmith, follow in the footsteps of Hollywood and see if you can spot these Hammersmith filming locations.
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