What’s going for it? Walking along the Thames, from Kew to Twickenham, you’d be momentarily excused for wondering where you were. Brentford is an odd place, as if some deranged, power-filled local politician had spliced, say, Putney with the lower reaches of Pudong. It has all the usual accoutrements of a west London suburb: a pleasant enough old, bricky centre, snug pubs, a gigantic stately home, Georgian townhouses and lovely walks by the Thames, all chucked together with luxury gyms and 80s offices housing financial advisers. But recent years have added beefed-up apartment blocks and the shrink-wrapped offices of today’s economic masters, Sega, JC Decaux, GSK and Sky. Brentford’s finer moments are the grungier ones, the lower reaches of the Brent, where buddleia and elderflower burst from the paths and houseboats flaunt their blooms in recycled Belfast sinks. At spots like this you can scrape away the banal present to see the town’s origins, a place older than London, where ancient travellers and tribes once met to trade, I don’t know, amulets and barley, at the ford across the Brent.
The case against It’s definitely not a beauty, though it might have been. Overdevelopment and traffic choke the place.
Well connected? Trains: six or seven an hour to Waterloo (25-55 mins). The Piccadilly line runs just to the north, at Northfields, South Ealing and Boston Manor stations (30 mins to central London). Driving: you have the pleasure and pain of the M4 running past, so the M25 and Heathrow airport are close at hand.
Schools Primaries: St Paul’s CofE, Our Lady and St John’s Catholic, Green Dragon and Marlborough are all “good”, says Ofsted, with nearby Lionel “outstanding”. Secondaries: Brentford School for Girls is “good”, Gunnersbury Catholic (boys) “outstanding”.
Hang out at… The Griffin, over a nice pint.
Where to buy You have a seemingly endless supply of apartment blocks, especially along the Thames and, for those who like to be three minutes closer to a motorway, near the M4; take your pick, if you’re loaded. There are also gated and/or “luxury” developments such as The Island, on Tallow Road. The older Brentford is more attractive to me; the gems of old homes, some Georgian, around The Butts, and late Victorian/Edwardians along Church Walk and Somerset Road. The rack of roads along Windmill Road before it merges into South Ealing has good period terraces. Large detacheds and townhouses, £750,000-£1.75m. Semis, £500,000-£1.25m. Terraces and cottages, £450,000-£750,000. Flats, £285,000-£1.75m. Rentals: a one-bedroom flat, £1,125-£1,600pcm; a three-bedroom house, £1,650-£2,700pcm.
Bargain of the week Two-bedroom Victorian terrace, requiring refurbishment, £449,950 (that’s cheap round here) with Quilliam.
From the streets
Steve Crelley “New developments are an eyesore and sucking life out of the place. Dull and depressing.”
Tony Hutchinson “The Black Dog pub. Verdict Bakery – coffee, cake and ice-cream in the former magistrates’ court. Downside: planes.”
Gareth Wynne “Beautiful walks along the Thames to Richmond, and views to Kew Gardens. Hen Corner – Sara Ward has transformed her Victorian terrace house into an urban smallholding, bakes bread to order and produces honey.”
• Live in Brentford? Join the debate below.
Do you live in Whitstable, Kent? Do you have a favourite haunt or a pet hate? If so, email email@example.com by Tuesday 12 March.