With miles of rivers, canals, nature reserves, and open spaces, Hounslow in West London is a desirable location to live and work. Wedge-shaped Hounslow always has been something of a conduit to and from the West. It’s pleasantly suburban and leafy, yet impressively well-connected. Following the Thames, along which much of its early settlement arose, the borough’s westernmost edges border Heathrow Airport and the fringes of Surrey, while the Great West Road takes you all the way into Shepherds Bush, Kensington, and the heart of London.
Although Heathrow Airport itself falls entirely within the London Borough of Hillingdon, its perimeter abuts the Hounslow border, so aviation and associated retail and other ancillary industries have long been key to Hounslow’s local economy. As well as aviation companies such as Air France-KLM and Menzies Aviation, the borough is also home to the headquarters of GlaxoSmithKline, Sky Plc, DHL Air UK, JC Decaux UK and to Fullers brewery.
Just a glance at the map shows how much of the borough’s development is the result of its transport connections as industry developed along the Grand Union Canal, The Thames, and The Great West Road (M4) – and these connections are as important as ever today, with the M4/M25 providing a rapid conduit into the heart of London and outward to Heathrow and the world. In commuting terms, the borough’s still well-served by Old Father Thames, with the river service between Hampton Court and Westminster Pier stopping at Kew Gardens Pier. And then there are no fewer than seven national rail stations and eleven London Underground and Overground stations.
Considering it’s far from the biggest of London’s boroughs, Hounslow is very well provided-for in education terms with no fewer than 53 state primary schools, 20 state secondary schools, seven special and alternative schools and seven independent primary/prep schools as well as senior/all-through schools such as the Arts Educational School and the International School of London.
As the locals say, this is the real West London. What that means is a pleasant, predominantly residential borough – about a quarter of which is parkland of various sorts – including major green spaces such as Chiswick Gardens, Gunnersbury Park, Gunnersbury Triangle Nature Reserve and lots more. The Thames itself and various tributaries provide even more scenic outdoor space to enjoy, including the likes of Kew Gardens and Hampton Court across the river in the London Borough of Richmond-Upon-Thames.
As you might expect so close to Europe’s busiest airport, the retail scene is very healthy, with all the major brands represented at The Treaty Shopping Centre in Hounslow and a host of funky and quirky independent shops in chic Chiswick High Road. The eating out’s great in the borough too, with pretty much every taste and every budget catered for – and Chiswick in particular boasts a wide selection of international cuisine, including big names like Franco Manca and Zizzi as well as excellent Indian and South Asian restaurants.