Living and working in Ealing
The borough of Ealing is a fantastic place in which to live and work. Located in the heart of West London it comprises seven districts - Ealing, Southall, Hanwell, Acton, Northolt, Perivale and Greenford. Each of these areas has unique characteristics, and together they form one of the most vibrant and diverse communities in Britain.
Living in Ealing provides the best of both worlds. It is within easy reach of central London as well as providing easy access to the towns and countryside of the South East and beyond. An excellent place to live in its own right. Ealing has thriving arts and leisure facilities and more than eight square kilometres of parks and green spaces. As one of London's busiest boroughs, there are all the recreational facilities you would expect in a lively metropolitan centre, with museums, a local theatre, cinemas, galleries and an eclectic mix of restaurants and bars to choose from.
Despite relatively high demand there is still a great choice of excellent quality housing available, from newly built luxury apartments to Victorian and Edwardian terraces offering peaceful living in pretty, tree-lined streets. House prices vary across the borough, but an average 3-bedroomed house price is around £340,000.
Ealing has 91 state-run schools and nurseries, plus a number of private schools. Ealing schools are among the best in the country and the borough boasts three of the best teachers in London - at the recent London Teaching Awards ceremony, Ealing teachers won three of the eleven awards.
Major improvements continue to be made to school sites, with new or refurbished school buildings opening this term. In addition, approval has just been granted for a new Sikh faith school to be built in Southall. When the school opens in 2008, it will be only the second Sikh school in London, and the third in the country.
Ealing has excellent shopping facilities. Although most of the shops are concentrated in Ealing Broadway, Southall and Acton also have vibrant shopping centres.
Ealing Broadway is home to a wide range of high street stores including Marks and Spencers, Next and Primark. Ealing also has an eclectic mix of local speciality stores including clothing retailers, gift shops, organic food stores, top-end kitchen equipment and art shops.
Southall provides a unique shopping experience. Always bustling, shops offer the latest Indian fashions, fabulous silks and gold jewellery. Music shops trumpet the latest Bollywood film tunes, bhangra hits and other music reflecting the wide cultural diversity of the area.
For food lovers, there are fantastic stores selling every imaginable fruit, vegetable, herb and spice. Shops selling traditional sweets are another major attraction not to be missed.
Ealing boasts an impressive range of bars, cafe's and restaurants with every possible type of dining experience and taste catered for. As well as a number of upmarket restaurants, there are also many of the favourite chain restaurants in Ealing's high streets and speciality cafes and restaurants can be found in the surrounding roads. Southall gives the option of sampling some of the most authentic and best value Indian food in London.
Arts and entertainment
Local attractions include Pitzhanger Manor and Gallery, the country home of Sir John Soane, architect of the Bank of England. Pitzhanger Manor and Gallery is now a venue for concerts, workshops and highly regarded contemporary art exhibitions.
Ealing is also home to the Questors Theatre, the largest community theatre in Europe, with an audience membership of around 3,000. The Questors Theatre stages around twenty productions each year with a reputation for very high standards of production of both modern and classical drama.
Added to that, Ealing Council produces 'Ealing Summer', which has now been running for nearly 25 years. One of London's biggest and best arts festivals it is held over five weeks and includes a week of top comedy (recent years have seen Bill Bailey and Jimmy Carr as headline acts) and the Ealing Jazz Festival which is the largest free jazz festival in Europe. Other attractions include blues and global music days and a range of children's activities. The London Mela brings Ealing Summer to a close and features one of the biggest celebrations of Asian music and culture outside the Indian subcontinent and it is now an established highlight in the capital's cultural calendar.
Although the main cinemas in Ealing Broadway is currently closed for extensive refurbishment, additional facilities can be found in the multiplex at the Royale Leisure Park in Acton or Bollywood cinema at the Himalaya Palace in Southall. All of the attractions of London's West End are also only 30 minutes away.
Parks and open spaces
Ealing has traditionally been known as the 'queen of the suburbs' because of its green and leafy feel and there are genuine rural places. With so many parks to choose from it may be difficult to decide which one to visit first.
Originally the gardens of Pitzhanger Manor, Walpole Park is registered as being of special historic interest by English Heritage and is also host to Ealing's popular Ealing Summer festival.
For the more energetic, a trek to the highest point of the borough at Horsenden Hill provides spectacular views that stretch as far as Windsor Castle, St. Paul's Cathedral and the London Eye. No trip to Ealing would be complete without visiting Northala Fields which opened to the public in spring 2008 and is one of the most exciting and significant park developments in London for many years. The project began in 2000 with Ealing Council's decision to transform derelict land that was once Kensington and Chelsea's Playing Fields.
Since August 2004 waste from the original Wembley Stadium the new White City shopping centre were used to create the new park. What is exciting about Northala Fields is the economic and environmental viability of turning waste into an opportunity and man-made materials into new habitats for wildlife and a range of recreational facilities.
The new park includes everything from model boating and play areas, to an amphitheatre. The park's most dramatic feature, its four overlapping conical mounds - the tallest measuring 26 metres - shield the park from noise and visual pollution from the adjacent A40.
Other local attractions
Ealing Studios - the oldest film studio in the world and best known for the 'Ealing Comedies'. Having survived two world wars and advances in technology, the studios are still an important centre for film and television, helping to turn out recent box office hits such as Shrek and Bride and Prejudice. The venue now hosts regular live comedy acts and runs a training school for aspiring actors, aged five upwards.
As Ealing is so well-served by the rail network, with Paddington just ten minutes away and Heathrow airport only fifteen minutes, central London and the West End are just half an hour by tube and the River Thames, Kew, Richmond, Twickenham and Hampton Court are all on our doorstep.