Ealing hotspots that add to capital's appeal

Ealing Times: Canal life: one of the borough's beauty spots Canal life: one of the borough's beauty spots

RECORD numbers of tourists visited London last summer according to the latest set of tourism figures released by the International Passenger Survey.

Over the next year, the capital is on course to welcome even more overseas visitors.

With more than 16 million predicted to visit in 2014, here's our list of top five places to visit in Ealing – with contributions from some of its residents.

Grand Union Canal

London’s principal link with the rest of the UK’s canal system, the Grand Junction is a much-loved riverside walk in Ealing.

Nationalised in 1948, the Grand Junction route has always remained open to traffic and is now well used by leisure craft.

The northern Paddington branch of the canal goes via Northolt, Greenford, Perivale and eventually to Little Venice and the Regent’s Canal.

The Mikron Theatre performed Beyond the Veil outdoors at Perivale Wood Nature Reserve last summer, arriving from the North by canal boat.

Alex Nieora, 30, said: “In my time in Perivale, I've run and cycled along the canal all the way to Little Venice, near Regents Park, and back.

“I do the run on Boxing Day every year - it started as a means to burn off the Christmas dinner and because gyms are closed over the Christmas period, but it's become a bit of a tradition.”

Highlights include the Hanwell flight of locks, the Three Brides and Victorian St Bernard’s Hospital, formerly known as the Hanwell lunatic asylum.

International Cuisine

Station Parade, opposite Ealing Common station, is regarded as the best street for international food lovers to visit.

One of Ealing’s best Japanese restaurants, Kiraku, will be celebrating its seventh anniversary on Monday, March 3.

To honour this special day, sisters and co-owners Erica and Ayumi Tago will be offering a weekend glass of bubbly to customers prior to the anniversary.

Erica said: “There will be little treats for the children, too, as March 3 is Hina Matsuri, which is Girls’ Day in Japan.”

Kiraku is described as a relaxed restaurant, where customers enjoy traditional, authentic Japanese food.

Erica revealed that Kiraku actually means relax and take it easy.

Pitzhanger Manor

Built in the 1800 by great British architect Sir John Soane, Pitzhanger Manor was once his “country” home.

Now, PM Gallery & House is Ealing’s flagship cultural venue, offering generous doses of art and architecture for culture-lovers.

Pitzhanger Manor manager Helen Walker said: “What makes Pitzhanger special is the combination of a genuine architectural treasure built in 1800, combined with an ever-changing offering of exhibitions - painting, photography, sculpture, design, fashion, architecture to name a few.”

Coming up in the half-term holiday are glasswork workshops for children.

The gallery tour of Just Glass is taking place on Saturday, February 22 at 2pm.

In March, the manor is hosting a new show of images by British photographer Richard Pare.

Bunny Park

A family option, the locally named Bunny Park is an award-winning zoo.

Bent Lodge Animal Centre is host to an array of exotic birds, primates, prairie dogs, mara and kune kune pigs.

Christina Forss, 35, and her sons, aged four and three, regularly visit the Hanwell centre.

She said: “In the summer, we take a picnic and spend hours there.

“It's amazing to have all these animals at our doorstep without big crowds and long queues and, to top it all off, it's free!”

From April-September, the centre’s butterfly house is also open to visitors.

The centre has seasonal opening times and is currently open to visitors 10am-4pm.

The Questors Theatre

The Questors in Ealing has a membership of 3,000 with around 600 of that number actively involved in productions.

It offers a variety of events, alongside a season of 20 shows a year and a range of courses and workshops.

The Duchess of Malfi started on Saturday and is playing until this coming Saturday, February 15.

On Sunday, February 23, the 40/20 Ealing Art Group is having an exhibition at the Grapevine Bar at the Questors to showcase the work of Ealing artists.

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