Is Chiswick too far from London tourist areas?

Hello, Is anyone familiar with the Chiswick area of London (Turnham Green or Chiswick Park tube)? If so, I'd love your opinion on how inconvenient a location this would be for getting to downtown "tourist" London?
We will be in London 7 nights and are planning to tour around London, + 2 day-trips to Bath and Salsbury. We have a good place to stay in Chiswick if we want, cheap, but spacious, clean, nice quality including breakfast (indirectly through friends of friends). But if we would lose a lot of time and convenience each day staying at this location, then I will decline and instead seek lodging closer to downtown. Thanks for any insight you may have!

Posted by Kevin
near Ringwood, Hampshire, UK
521 posts

One of my colleagues lives in Chiswick. We work together near London Bridge station. He says the commute is pretty good. Depending on exactly where you are in Chiswick you may be close to Gunnersby or Chiswick Park Underground stations. Gunnersby is on the Richmond branch of the District Line, so the trains only run every 10 minutes. Chiswick Park is on a different branch and trains are more frequent. In either case he says it takes 33 minutes to Embankment, which is on the north bank of the Thames, close to Charing Cross, Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery and so on. Alternatively, if we ever have hot summer weather he gets the overground train from Kew Bridge to Waterloo. Underground trains, especially full ones, get uncomfortably warm, and the overground train takes about the same amount of time to get to Waterloo. Whether it's convenient depends on where exactly you are staying. In any case, that's commuter territory, so the trains are going to be very busy until after 09.00 and again coming back from 17.00 until around 19.00. All the stations I've mentioned are in Zone 3. See the chart on this page for the costs of travel: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tickets/14416.aspx You will want to either get Oyster cards or 7 day Travelcards (but search this forum about that, if you buy them from a mainline railway station you can get 2 for 1 entry to many London attractions. That offer apparently isn't available if you buy them from a Tube station).

Posted by Nicole P
Truro, NS, Canada
705 posts

We've stayed with someone in Chiswick our last three stays in London (with couchsurfing). They live about 1 min from the train stn. So for us it was pretty convenient to catch a train in (tho it was kinda pricey and I think took about 20 min? Memory is a little fuzzy). I didn't realize until our last stay when they were doing work on the rail line that we could use our transit day passes (I think we had zone 1-3) to take the tube in (I think we used Turnham Green). It was further away from the house, but we were able to use the transit pass for the bus as well. I guess it comes down to money vs time, as always. I didn't mind the 20 or so min in too much(sometimes with a 15 min wait if we missed the train). We were able to walk to Kew Gardens which was pretty cool. We just like staying with the folks as we've stayed with them 3 times, it's like visiting old friends and is familiar. (And they are closer to Heathrow, since we always seem to stay with them before we are heading home, at the end of our vacation). In all honesty, tho, I would prob prefer being closer to not waste time as I usually want to 'get going and see stuff right now!!' (last trip upon arrival, we used airbnb and stayed with someone near the 'Oval' tube and it was way quicker of course, but we stayed with our Chiswick people on the return to London)

Posted by Rose
NYC
922 posts

I also know someone in Chiswick. It's about 15-20 minutes in on the District Line to South Kensington, which puts you near the V&A and easy striking distance to many points of interest in the West End. Chiswick is a very pleasant suburb, with beautiful historic churches, a fabulous Palladian villa (Chiswick House) open for visitors, good pubs, and a beautiful walking area along the Thames, with lots of rowing on the river. I typically stay near Sloane Square because I have a particular fondness for Chelsea, but if I was looking for a less expensive place a bit further out, Chiswick would be my first choice.

Posted by Liz
Spokane, WA, USA
30 posts

Thanks so much for all the information very, very helpful!!! (I needed to make a decision by the end of this weekend . . . ) (About 20 years ago I was living in Brussels, but at one point my company asked if I could take on a short-term assignment in London that lasted about 7 months. I ended up living in a beautiful (company-paid) furnished flat in Chelsea, while I worked in Covent Garden! That was the life! :-) My ideal location for this trip (bringing my family for the first time), would be to stay in Chelsea/Kensington, not too far from Kensington Gardens (where I used to enjoy walking). But I now have to evaluate paying at least twice as much, for much smaller accomodations, vs. a great Chiswick offer . . .

Posted by Leslie
Orange, USA
151 posts

We've stayed even farther out of London than Chiswick in order to have a larger space when we were traveling with our sons. For me the commute was worth the space and the quiet of the suburbs when looking at a 7 night stay. We were visiting things in the outer zones of Tube system anyway, so it wasn't an extra cost for the travel pass for us (another thing to consider).

Posted by Philip
London, United Kingdom
1687 posts

One thing nobody has explicitly mentioned so far is that unless you get a full seven-day Travelcard, travel will be significantly more expensive if you travel on Mon-Fri before 0930

Posted by Liz
Spokane, WA, USA
30 posts

Thanks very much for the latest postings with further advice. I did know it would be more expensive to have a tube pass outside of zone 1 & 2, but I hadn't thought about the fact that we might be MORE likely to feel the need to travel during "rush hour" (even more expensive) if we were further out vs. closer to downtown. Very good point to consider thanks! In the meantime, I just receieved an interesting email which might make Chiswick a moot point: I had earlier checked into summer accommodations at Imperial College in London: cheap, clean, with breakfast,one block from Kensington Gardens and short walk to either South Kensington or Knightsbridge tube (in other words, fantastic location) Earlier they had told me they had no room, but now they might have a place for all but one day of our stay. Anyhow, I haven't yet decided and possibly will stay half the time at Imperial College and half at Chiswick (since the one unavailable day is in the middle of our week!) Thanks again very much for your input, much appreciated!!

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8728 posts

With the new information that you know London so well I'd say, jump as the Chiswick offer. It doesn't take all that long on the District Line. Will you likely rise slowly and have a relaxed breakfast before setting out or will you be up with the lark? There are a number of advantages to being out of the Circle and along the river.

Posted by Liz
Spokane, WA, USA
30 posts

Thank you, Nigel, I appreciated your input. I had been increasingly leaning towards the Chiswick idea . . . No, our children (age 13 and 15) are not inclined to be up with the larks, so it wouldn't be bad to have a more relaxed start to the day. We will be taking a mid-morning flight from Gatwick after our last night, and did plan a couple of day trips to Bath and Salisbury so might have to go out earlier those days. But oerall, we will save money, have the most comfortable lodging, and might be fun to stay in a different part of London . . . Thanks again!

Posted by Rose
NYC
922 posts

This is turning out to be a fun twist. I have one half day, an overnight, and the following morning of an upcoming trip when I'll be coming back to London from the north. It will be a longish train ride, so I don't want to try to fly out trans-Atlantic the same day. This thread has made me toy with the idea of staying my last night in Chiswick. It would put me closer to Heathrow, and I could have a relaxing visit to Chiswick House, nice walk along the Thames, and enjoy the feeling of the neighborhood. I love how these boards have the power to influence our decisions by exposing us to other traveler's great ideas. Thanks, Liz!

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8728 posts

There are a few nice places to get a bite to eat near turnip greens (oops Turnham Green)Station, and (expensive) street parking is sometimes available, there used to be a really neat linens outlet nearby which has sadly closed,dearly missed.