Days out with your homestay guest – West London
Homestays present a unique opportunity for overseas students visiting the UK to really immerse themselves into typical British family life and culture. Lots of homestays last over a week and in some cases even longer, so it’s no surprise that lots of host families choose to socialise and interact with their student guest/s more outside of their standard bed-and-board arrangement.
There’s no set requirement for host families’ level of interaction with guests, but for those who do wish to go places, do things and see sights, these are our top picks of places to visit in West London. Forget the ‘regular’ London tourist attractions (it may be that student’s study centres take them to these places anyway!) – these places give a real flavour of London… and you’ll enjoy visiting them too!
HFS London’s Suggestions
Bushy Park, Hampton TW12
Bushy Park is the second largest of London’s Royal Parks (spanning a whopping 445 hectares of land!) but is the least well known. The park is linked to Hampton Court Palace by the Longford River and you’ll notice its waterways and wetlands almost as soon as you arrive. Deer roam freely around Bushy Park and aren’t afraid of humans (in fact, if you’ve got a picnic with you, you can expect to be approached!), and there’s lots of birds and ducks along the river too. Once you’ve done exploring, you can grab a coffee at the café… just don’t let the deer see your cake.
Ruislip Common, Ruislip HA4
Warning: this doesn’t feel like London! A beautiful lake, lido and miniature railway all really lend a country feel to this brilliant area of the city. Although the lido has been, of course, purpose designed for swimming, you can swim in the lake too and water-quality work is ongoing. There’s even a sandy beach to boot! Visit on a sunny day to really enjoy warm weather, even in the city. There is no requirement to arrange or book in advance, so this makes a great ad hoc day out when the fancy takes you.
Oxygen Freejumping Trampoline Park, Acton W3
Ready to bounce? London’s first ever trampoline park, Oxygen Freejumping is a fantastic facility – you’ll find over 150 interconnected trampoline, crash mats, a ninja warrior course, volleyball courts and dodgeball courts. Bouncers of all ages and abilities are welcome and there’s specialist sessions for fitness classes and families. Various offers and promotions are held year-round, so check online and book ahead to get the best deal.
Portobello Road Market, Portobello Road W11
All countries have their own market culture, so for overseas visitors to shop ones in foreign countries can be really fascinating. Portobello Road may not be the most ‘cockney’ of London’s markets, but it’s the world’s biggest antiques market and its curiosities and oddities are worth exploring even if you’re not a history or antique buff. Alongside antiques you’ll find various eateries and fashion designers, as well as whole host of independent bars, baristas and breweries. It’s an easy place to lose a few hours… if not spend a few pounds!
A family of hosts
Where do you visit in west London with your family that you think could make a good spot for homestay students to check out? Let the HFS London team know and we’ll pass on the recommendations – we’re all for new experiences and cultural immersion to enrich our student’s stays in the UK. There’s lots great about Britain, so help us showcase us!
The HFS London team are always on hand to help advise potential and existing student hosts on what to do with their guests once they’ve arrived. For more ideas, read our other articles, take to Google, or give us a call!