Our Hillspring Lodge Boutique Hostel is based in the heart of Willesden Green in the Royal Borough of Brent. Originally known as Wellesdune which means the “hill of the spring”, true to name, Willesden is one big hill. My legs can testify to that as a regular cycler up and down the high road leading to Walm Lane.
There are lots of great things to do in the area -aside from cycling up and down the hill, which is why -in no particular order- I’ve pulled together a list of top things to do in Brent, from the perspective of someone who lives in the area. Enjoy!
Top things to do in Brent
1. Wembley Stadium – Whether you love football or you hate it, there’s no denying that Wembley Stadium is an amazing venue to visit. With a 105,000 person capacity, this stadium is huge and plays host to many events year round such as sports, music and conferences.
Tours of the stadium are available, looking at the history of the venue and – for you football fans – an opportunity for you to see a replica FA cup and the changing rooms of the Football Stars!
For more information about what’s on, or to find out more about the venue itself, please click the following link: http://wembleystadium.com/
2. The Tricycle Theatre – You could walk right past and not realise it’s there but you will missing out. This small seat venue recently voted London’s most beautiful theatre, houses both theatrical productions and film, showing interesting art-house films as well as more main-stream films. It also boast an art gallery, a bar and a café.
For more information about what’s on, and to book tickets, go to: http://www.tricycle.co.uk
3. Brent Museum, Willesden Library Centre – Want to know more about the social history of thispart of London? Then visit the Brent Museum, based in Willesden Library Centre (down the road from Hillspring Lodge). The museum houses a number of temporary exhibitions throughout the year. My favourite current exhibition is ‘Stadium full of dreams: Reflections of the 1948 Olympic Games in Wembley and beyond’.
For more information about the Museum, and about current exhibitions, go to: http://www.brent.gov.uk/museum
4. Lexi Cinema – This is another building in Brent that you could easily walk past but is full of boundless character! The Lexi Cinema is a social enterprise to encourage people to improve the quality of their life through the love of film and theatre. All profits made by this cinema go to charity, helping people in Lynedoch, South Africa. For more information about what’s on, go to: http://thelexicinema.co.uk/
5. Get spiritual at BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, also know as Neasden Temple – Neasden Temple is a truly great building with wonderful and ornate features. It was made with over 5,000 tonnes of marble and is the largest Hindu temple outside of India and is free to visit.
For more information about visiting the temple, go to: http://londonmandir.baps.org
6. Ace Café London – This biker’s haven is a welcome break just off of the North Circular and round the corner from Stonebridge Park station and Wembley. We’ve been there plenty of times and each times, and you never fail to see gorgeous bikes and some interesting characters. The café hosts biker related and many other cool events, e.g. they recently hosted the 2012 Streetfighter and Stunt Festival. And the food? Delicious diner-type dishes. We particularly like their vegetarian chilli. Yum.
For more information about what’s on, go to: http://www.ace-cafe-london.com/
7. Buy inexpensive furniture at IKEA Wembley – I love heading to IKEA. It’s like some sort of adult playground. You start at the restaurant where you stock up on energy with Swedish meatballs, Daim cake (nom! This is a must-try sort of cake!) and a fizzy Apfel (apple) drink. Then you’re ready to begin. Armed with a small pencil, an IKEA ruler, you make your way through a maze of affordable furniture, interactive light displays and accessories.
For more information, and opening times at IKEA Wembley, go to: http://www.ikea.com/gb/en/store/brent_park
8. Get fit at Bridge Park Community Leisure Centre – Bridge Park is a great venue with a number of fitness classes like Zumba, Boxercise, Yoga and has a gym, Sauna and full sized indoor basketball court! The staff are a nice bunch and the venue can also be booked for social events like Dominoes (Every Wednesday at 11:00) or other get togethers! And kids up to the age of 24 years old can benefit from 10 weeks of free activities, so if you have young ‘ones, take them here for fun basketball, table tennis or more!
For more information, see the Bridge Park site here: http://www.brent.gov.uk/sport.nsf/sc/lbb-215