Highgate Cemetery

Wandering down Highgate Hill - and you only ever want to walk down this hill, it was, after all the site of Europe's first cable car in

WALK FACTS

Start Hampstead tube station End Archway tube station Distance5 miles Duration Three hours Fuel stop Boogaloo (p289)

the late 19th century - you can walk down Swain's Lane to London's most famous burial ground (p170). Here lie Karl Marx, George Elliot, Christina Rossetti and recent arrival Alexander Litvinenko in some wonderful surroundings. Be sure to take the West Cemetery tour as while it's a pain to have to visit in a group, it's only here that you understand why High-gate is London's most desirable place to be dead.

Eating p266; Drinking p291; Shopping p230; Sleeping p356

The sprawl west of Hyde Park in all directions is one of the most vibrant areas of London and few parts of the capital can boast the area's sheer variety: its rampant multiculturalism (the Caribbean community in Notting Hill, the Poles in Hammersmith and the Australian home from home in Earl's Court), its exciting bars (check out Portobello Rd or Westbourne Grove) and its grand parks and mansions (wander the back streets of Holland Park to see how the rich and famous really live).

To the west of Primrose Hill are the very well-off, more urban-feeling areas of St John's Wood and Maida Vale - both sites of gorgeous mansions, charming canals and boutique shopping.

The status of the famous Notting Hill Carnival reflects the multicultural appeal of this part of West London, into which West Indian immigrants moved in the 1950s. After decades of exploitation, strife and the occasional race riot, the community took off in the 1980s and is now a thriving, vibrant corner of the city and an emblem for multicultural London. Although there's not a lot to see in Notting Hill - and it's nothing like its portrayal in the eponymous, saccharine Richard Curtis film - there's plenty to do, with lots of highly individual shops, restaurants and pubs. Narrow Portobello Rd is its heart and soul and most well known these days for hosting one of London's best markets (see p232). The neighbourhood also gives its name to the Notting Hill Carnival, a highlight of London's summer (see p194). Trendy Westbourne Grove, roughly in the northeastern corner, is lined with distinctive shops, pubs, artists' galleries and studios.

Despite the shabby, incoherent architecture of Shepherd's Bush Green and the general chaos that rules here, this West London hub is a decent place to hang out and eat, especially since a slew of gastropubs opened in the last few years. The name reputedly comes from the fact that shepherds would graze their flocks on the common here, en route for Smithfield Market in East London, back when Shepherd's Bush was another rural village outside the city. Synonymous for many with the sprawling BBC Television Centre in nearby White City that opened in 1960, the area had actually become famous 50 years earlier as the site of the 1908 London Olympics, as well as the Great Exhibition of the same year. During the '60s, Shepherd's Bush was used as the setting for The Who's film Quadrophenia, so mods on pilgrimage are not an uncommon sight. Today Shepherd's Bush is a multiethnic place full of quirky cafés, bars and character.

As West London fades from the old money of Kensington into the urban sprawl of Hammersmith, the two meet seamlessly in Earl's Court, a hard-to-define no-man's-land. Its '80s nickname 'Kangaroo Valley' attests to the area's popularity with backpackers from Down Under, which is still the case today. In the 1980s Earl's Court was the original gay village, later overtaken by Soho, but still not forgotten today. Freddie Mercury lived and died at 1 Garden PI and remains the neighbourhood's most famous resident.

West Brompton is even quieter and less remarkable, but is home to one of London's most magnificent cemeteries and is pleasant for a stroll.

Hammersmith is a different story: it's a very urban neighbourhood dominated by a huge flyover and roundabout, with little to entice the visitor save some decent restaurants and the famously arty Riverside Studios (p316).

The Underground and buses are best for moving between the sights.

LORD'S CRICKET GROUND Map P175

@ 7616 8595; www.lords.org; St John's Wood Rd NW8; tours adult/child/concession/family £10/6/7/27; S tours 10am, noon & 2pm Apr-Sep, noon & 2pm Oct-Marwhen there's no play; -e- St John's Wood; ®

The 'home of cricket' is a must for any devotee of this peculiarly English game: book early for the test matches here, but also take the absorbing and anecdotal 90-minute tour of the ground and facilities, which takes in the famous Long Room, where members watch the games surrounded by portraits of cricket's great and good, and a museum featuring evocative memorabilia that will appeal to fans old and new. Australian fans will be keen to pose next to the famous little urn containing the Ashes, which remain in English hands no matter how many times the Aus-sies beat them.

The ground itself is dominated by a striking media centre that looks like a clock radio, but you should also look out for

WEST LONDON

SIGHTS (pp174-76)

Kensal Green Cemetery 1 A1

Lord's Cricket Ground 2 E1

Blenheim Books 3 B3

Books for Cooks (see 4)

Ceramica Blue 4 B3

Coco Ribbon 5 B3

Honest Jon's 6 B2

Music & Video Exchange 7 C4

Portobello Road Market 9 B3

Rellik 10 B2

Retro Woman 11 C4

Rough Trade 12 B3

Travel Bookshop (see 3)

Arancina (see 27)

C&R Restaurant 13 C3

Churrería Española 14 D3

Costa's Fish Restaurant 15 C4

Couscous Café 16 D3

Electric Brasserie (see 41)

Geales 17 C4

Gourmet Burger Kitchen 18 C3

Green Olive 19 D2

Harlem 20 C3

Jason's 21 D2

Kensington Place 22 C4

Levantine 23 E3

Mandalay 24 E2

Mandarin Kitchen 25 D4

Notting Hill Farmers' Market 26 C4

Nyonya 27 C4

Ottolenghi 28 C3

Royal China 29 D4

Taqueria 30 C3

DRINKING B0 (pp2 77-96)

Castle 31 B3

Earl of Lonsdale 32 B3

Lonsdale 33 B3

Prince Alfred 34 D2

Twelfth House 35 C4

Warrington Hotel 36 D1

Westbourne 37 C2

NIGHTLIFE £3 (pp297-310)

Cherry Jam 38 D2

Neighbourhood 39 B2

Notting Hill Arts Club 40 C4

ARTS 0 (pp311-21)

Electric Cinema 41 B3

Gate 42 C4

Notting Hill Coronet 43 C4

SPORTS & ACTIVITIES (pp323-29)

Lord's Cricket Ground (see 2)

Porchester Baths 44 D3

Cardiff Hotel 45 E3

Colonnade 46 D1

Garden Court Hotel 47 C3

Gate Hotel 48 C4

Guesthouse West 49 C3

Hempel 50 D3

Leinsterlnn 51 C3

Lennox 52 C4

Miller's Residence 53 C3

New Linden Hotel 54 C3

Oxford London Hotel 55 E3

Pavilion Hotel 56 F3

Portobello Gold 57 B3

Portobello Hotel 58 B4

Royal Park 59 E3

Stylotel 60 E3

Vancouver Studios 61 C3

the famous weather vane in the shape of Father Time and the remarkable tentlike modern Mound Stand.

There's limited disabled access. Call ahead for details.

KENSAL GREEN CEMETERY Map P175

Harrow Rd, Kensal Green W10; tours £5; S tours 2pm Sun; -6- Kensal Green

Thackeray and Trollope are among the eminent dead folk at this huge and handsome Victorian cemetery, which made a name for itself in the 19th century as the place where the VIPs preferred to RIP. Supposedly based on the Cimetière du Père-Lachaise in Paris, the cemetery is distinguished by its Greek Revival architecture, arched entrances and the outrageously ornate tombs that bear testimony to 19th-century delusions of grandeur. Ambitious two-hour tours start from the Anglican chapel in the centre of the cemetery.

LEIGHTON HOUSE Mappl77

@ 7602 3316; www.rbkc.gov.uk; 12 Holland Park Rd W14; adult/concession £3/1; S 11am-5.30pm Wed-Mon; -e- High St Kensington

Leighton House sits on a quiet street near Holland Park, like a secret beauty that has to be sought out and appreciated. Designed in 1866 by George Aitchison, this was the home of Lord Leighton (1830-96), a painter belonging to the Olympian movement. The ground floor is decorated in an Arabic style, with the exquisite Arab Hall added in 1879 and densely covered with blue and green tiles from Rhodes, Cairo, Damascus and Iznik (Turkey) and a fountain tinkling away in the centre. Even the wooden latticework of the windows and gallery was brought from Damascus. The house contains notable pre-Raphaelite paintings by Burne-Jones, Watts, Millais and Lord Leighton himself. Restoration of the back garden has returned it to its Victorian splendour - as has work on the stairwell and upstairs rooms.

BROMPTON CEMETERY Map P177

@ 7352 1201; www.royalparks.gov.uk; Old Bromp-ton Rd SW5; tours £3; S 8am-dusk, tours Sun; ■©■ West Brompton

As London's vast population exploded in the 19th century, seven new cemeteries opened, among them Brompton Cemetery, a long expanse running between Fulham Rd and Old Brompton Rd. There is a chapel and colonnades at one end, modelled after St Peter's in Rome. While the most famous resident is Emmeline Pankhurst, the pioneer of women's suffrage in Britain, the cemetery is most interesting as the inspiration for many of Beatrix Potter's characters. A local resident in her youth before she moved to the north, Potter seems to have taken many names

WEST LONDON: SHEPHERD'S BUSH & EARL'S COURT

See West London Map p175

Round 'ond

Olympic

Kensington b V^/dS^P Southwest

rvalham Green

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