Guest travel tips

A Traveller’s Guide to Acton: The Best-Kept Secret in West London

Written by Diana Santos

Are you planning to visit London this year? It’s one of the most visited cities in the world – and there’s a good reason for that. Getting to the city is straightforward enough – but you can’t finalise your plans unless you know exactly where you’ll stay.

If you’re undecided, here’s a suggestion.

Go to the best-kept secret in West London – Acton!

Acton is a district in the western part of London. It’s mostly a part of the London Borough of Ealing but parts of it lie in the Boroughs of Hammersmith and Hounslow. What makes it special is the fact that it’s home to various railway stations – making it very convenient as a starting point in your London travels.

While it may not be as popular as Notting Hill or Kensington, Acton boasts of a rich history, incredible culture and hidden gems. It has a unique blend of historical structures and modern events – letting you have a bit of everything in one place.

In this article, you’ll discover what Acton has to offer and your accommodation options if you decide to make this your temporary home.

The History of Acton

The name Acton is believed to have come from the Old English words āc and tūn which translates to “Oak” and “Town” respectively. It was given the name because the original village was surrounded by several oak trees.

The very first mention of Acton was recorded in 1181. The place was one of the rural settlements along Uxbridge Road and it had several inns for travellers. By the 17th and 18th centuries, Acton became a popular summer residence for the gentry and courtiers in London. When the 19th century rolled in, Acton became an industrial hub of factories and even laundries, earning it the name “Soapsuds Island”.

During the 1870s, Bedford Park in southeast Acton became the site of a garden suburb – the first in England. After World War II, Acton was redeveloped to have more blocks of flats. When the 1920s rolled in, Acton was left heavily industrialised with car factories, weapons manufacturers and food companies flourishing.

Given this history, it’s not surprising that one of the distinct features of this district is the numerous railway stations connecting it to various places in the UK. It was during the 19th century when the railways started construction and it seemed to always pass by Acton.

A Look at Acton Today…

The Ealing borough is known for green spaces so Acton has more than enough outdoor space for nature lovers. Although it’s been developed over the years, you’ll find that the cost of living is more affordable.

As history would tell, Acton has always been a haven for travellers – since it’s right along Uxbridge Road. Until now, Acton is still a great spot for travellers since it has a great transport link – with seven stations to choose from. You can reach the centre of London in 10 minutes and Heathrow Airport in 20.

What else can you expect from the district of Acton?

The Food: Mix of British and Exotic Cuisine

Choosing to stay in Acton will satisfy gastronomic expectations. It has a healthy mix of local and exotic international cuisine that’ll delight your palate. You’ve got a historic pub called The Rocket serving classic British meals. There are also quite a few selections of Japanese cuisine, namely Yoyo Kitchen and Gochisou. You can also enjoy a unique dining experience at the Aeronaut and many see a few local celebrities at The Duke of Sussex gastropub.

The weekend farmer’s market is also a great way to expose yourself to the local produce. Here you can buy organic produce, artisanal cheeses and freshly baked bread.

The Culture & Arts: Evidence of the Past

You can’t visit London without trying to appreciate the rich culture. Fortunately, Acton has its share of scenes you can explore. Walk around and you’ll see relics and evidence of pagan worship. The London Transport Museum Depot is also worth visiting.

If it’s live music that you want, the Aeronaut will give you access to it. You can enjoy listening while eating and drinking to your heart’s content. The place also hosts comedy shows and even circus acts.

The Shopping Experience: High-street and Local produce

Shoppers would love the mix of high-street retail and local produce in Acton. The most prominent place to be is the Acton Market. You’ll get a wide range of goods from fresh produce, artisan delicacies, handmade crafts, vintage selections and a variety of street foods.

You can explore Churchfield Road to start your journey or you can go to the Oaks Shopping Centre to have a traditional shopping experience. Acton is near Westfield White City, the biggest shopping place in Europe so you might want to venture there if you want a huge selection of shops.

Must-See Events and Activities: Music, Parks and Sports

Apart from the live music and the historical places, you can also enjoy Acton Park. it has a pond, tennis court, playground and bowling green. You’ll also find the Puttin the Part Acton an enjoyable place. It’s a miniature golf course where you can spend a beautiful afternoon socialising with others.

Gunnersbury Park, The Woodlands Park and the Southfields Playing Fields are options that you can also visit.

There are a couple of open spaces in Acton that hold music festivals and weekend markets. Make sure you check out the local websites for a list of current events.

Where to Stay While in Acton

If you’re convinced that Acton is a great place to stay during your visit, we’ve got a couple of places that you can choose from. City Relay manage several Acton properties and here are some of the options in our listing.


This modern 2-bedroom apartment in North Acton is on the 36th floor and offers an incredible view of the city. It’s 250 metres from the North Acton Underground Station – making it easy to explore the rest of London during your stay.



This beautiful 2-bed flat in North Acton has all the amenities to make you feel at home – including a kitchen and a balcony with a view. It’s near the North Acton Underground Station so you can conveniently explore the city as you please.



This cosy-looking 2-bedroom flat is located in South Acton. It has everything you need in a home – plus a rooftop terrace where you can get fresh air. It’s within reach of famed restaurants in Acton.


If you want to look at other properties in Acton, check out City Relay’s property listing. In case you need assistance for a longer stay in London, get in touch with us. We can help you settle down and have a great stay.

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