Shepherd’s Bush may not compare to the clean-sweeped streets of Notting Hill or Holland Park. This West London district certainly isn’t noted for the opulence found in its surrounding counterparts. There are few glamorous sights or tourists and even fewer popular tourist attractions. Instead, Shepherd’s Bush is recognised (though not nearly enough) for its rawness, edgy establishments, and humble cultural arts venues. You probably won’t find yourself here unless you’re planning a trip to nearby Westfield Shopping Centre, or you’ve booked a concert at local O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire. It’s recommended that you give this little district a visit regardless, particularly if you’re after an authentic experience of what life in London, without all its tourist-friendly gloss, might actually be like.
There are plenty of charity shops, fabric shops, and shops selling ethnic-geared goods on both sides of the road. If the busy hubbub of Westfield is too much for you, these smaller shops should offer plentiful variety.
Also of note is Shepherd’s Bush Market. Walking the length of this market will acquaint you with a huge range of unique stalls, with plenty on offer of the local flavour, from Reggae and Dancehall CD’s to vintage clothing. The vendors are friendly and knowledgeable about their wares, so don’t forget to bring cash and a carrier bag!
The O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire is where you’ll most likely go if you’re seeing live music. It’s a great venue, and holds frequent concerts for artists from all kinds of genres and backgrounds. There’s even a VUE cinema nearby, showing all the latest cinematic releases, and boasting chairs that are by far larger and more comfortable than those you’ll find in the Odeon.
Those who want a more humble alternative to the large padded-out West End shows can enjoy a performance in the Bush Theatre or Bush Hall. These performances are intimate and quite special, foregoing all the high-budget theatrics you may be used to seeing in the more extravagant West End venues.
After a show, why not enjoy a meal at one of Shepherd’s Bush quietly reputed ethnic restaurants? Here you’ll find some of the best Polish restaurants in the city, and a former Victorian gin palace is also a potential highlight. The venues are less noisy than a meal at the nearest Five Guys or Wagamama, most likely cheaper, and almost certainly more flavourful, being made from a range of good natural ingredients.
Shepherd’s Bush is an endlessly interesting place for those who care to dig deeper. There’s plenty of details that lend the place its low-key charm. When you’re done exploring, why not look into some London hotels deals and special offers? The most recommended choice in this area is Park Grand Paddington Court London Hotel.