Acton Area Guide
What’s it all about:
It may have more stations than any other place in the Capital, but Acton has long played second fiddle to its more well-known neighbours, Chiswick and Ealing. Now it’s stepping out of the shadows and into the limelight, with regeneration projects galore set to transform the area into a real destination of choice. Acton means ‘oak farm’ in Anglo Saxon and the motif is everywhere, from the Oaks Shopping Centre to a huge mural of oak trees in the high street. It was also where most of the Capital’s laundries were based in the 17th century, earning Acton the nickname ‘Soapsuds Island’. Now it has fantastic transport links, with four Tube and three railway stations, and the prospect of a link to the Crossrail and HS2 networks at Old Oak Common. The area retains much of its Victorian terraced housing which, along with newly refurbished leisure facilities, diverse shops and a good choice of schools, makes Acton a magnet for families and young professionals alike.
Culture & Development:
Eating: There are lots of restaurants clustered around the Acton High Street and Churchfield Road area. Locals flock to North China for its shin of beef and dumplings, and Ting Tong Thai for some spicy noodles. Towards Ealing is Persian Nights offering live music and belly dancing, or those with a craving for spice could head for Anokha. If a freshly cooked kebab is what you hanker after, then Woody Grill is the place to seek out.
Culture: Five minutes away on the Tube in Turnham Green is the Tabard Theatre, which produces theatre of all types, as well as being a regular comedy venue for some of the biggest names on the circuit. Or, if you’re thinking of being more hands on, head over to Questors Theatre, five minutes away in the other direction in Ealing, the biggest amateur theatre company in the country. For movies, head to the nine screen Vue Cinema in Park Royal.
Events: The London Mela takes place in nearby Gunnersbury Park each summer and in 2014 attracted more than 90,000 visitors. This free Asian festival features music, dance, theatre, children’s events and a huge food market. The Acton Carnival takes place in July and celebrates blues and jazz. The London Transport Museum uses its depot in Acton for storage, but guided tours of the historic vehicles are available.
Primary schools: All but one of Acton’s state primary schools are rated “good” or better by the Ofsted education watchdog. “Outstanding” primary schools include Ark Priory Primary Academy in Acton Lane and Holy Family RC in Vale Lane.
Comprehensive: The picture is more mixed at state secondary level, with the local co-ed comprehensive, Acton High, put into “special measures” last year. The Ellen Wilkinson School for Girls (ages 11 to 18) in Queen’s Drive is rated “good”.
Private: Private primary and preparatory schools are: Greek Primary School of London (co-ed, ages four to 11), run by the Greek Government and following the Greek National Curriculum, in Pierrepoint Road; London Bunka Yochien (co-ed, ages two to six) a Japanese school in Horn Lane; Orchard House (co-ed, ages three to 11) in Newton Grove in Chiswick, and Chiswick & Bedford Park Preparatory (co-ed, ages three to 11) in Priory Avenue, Chiswick.
The Japanese School in London (co-ed, ages six to 15), a fee-paying school run by the Japanese Government, in Creffield Road; Barbara Speake Stage School (co-ed, ages four to 16) in East Acton Lane; The Eden School (co-ed, ages two to 18), a Seventh-Day Adventist school in Park Place; the International School of London (co-ed, three to 18) in Gunnersbury Avenue, which teaches the International Baccalaureate; and King Fahad Academy (co-ed, ages three to 18) in Bromyard Avenue, an Islamic school, also teaching the International Baccalaureate.