Twenty-four hours in Chiswick, London
Model and designer Betty Bachz explores Chiswick’s shops, restaurants and green spaces during a weekend stay at High Road House
Betty and her boyfriend stayed in the Playroom
Above, clockwise from top left: exploring the Dining Room at High Road House; the Dining Room turntable; enjoying an almond-milk cappuccino as I work; the view from outside the House; High Road Brasserie
‘I love Chiswick for all its greenery – it reminds me of where I grew up in Norway’
Betty Bachz spends a perfect summer weekend in west London’s Chiswick neighbourhood, browsing antiques at The Old Cinema, enjoying a sweet treat at Foubert’s gelaterie and picnicking at Chiswick House & Gardens.
3pm: check in
I arrive at High Road House on a sunny Friday afternoon. Friendly faces and big energy greet me. Two pumps of hand sanitiser and a quick glance at my phone. It shows 3pm on the dot. My boyfriend is joining me after work, just in time for our supper, and I relish the idea of having the room all to myself for a few hours.
Verity takes me up to the Playroom and leaves me to it. The room is so spacious and tranquil with its pastel colour palette. I eye the freestanding bathtub to my left – so tempting. It takes some willpower, but I finally grab my laptop and notebook, and head down to the Club Room.
4pm: work session
It’s Friday, which means I normally work on my jewellery collaboration on top of running the day to day of my eyewear brand, Møy Atelier. I find a quiet corner and settle down with an almond-milk cappuccino. I check in on my team and sign off on a few 3D models of the jewellery that’s due to launch in September. It feels amazing to see it come to fruition after months of uncertainty.
Above, clockwise from top left: taking a moment with a Picante; inside the bedroom; kicking back in the Dining Room
6pm: cocktail o’clock
Thank goodness it’s the weekend and cocktail o’clock. I go for a quick outfit change and head to High Road Brasserie, where a few of my girlfriends join me for a Picante or two.
7pm: outfit change
I let my girlfriends convince me to do another change. Not that I need an excuse. But I have all these cute outfits that haven’t seen the light of day for the past four months, and some attention is due.
7.30pm: Negroni masterclass
Time to get those taste buds ready to sample some delicious food. And what better way to do so than with a Negroni masterclass with Head Bartender Domingos Cruz? As the lesson is progressing (our skills not so much), we become more and more familiar, until finally Dom gives in and spills all the secrets on how to make the perfect Picante – the holy grail of Soho House. It all played out like an intricate heist movie.
My boyfriend and I are seated at a round table in the main Club Room for the highlight of my day: supper. The mismatched tableware is excellent and so is my glass of Ruinart after a long week. Everything on the menu sounds so tasty that we basically just order all the starters to share. The meatballs are so tender that they melt in my mouth like butter, and the calamari is zesty. For our mains, we order Dover sole in a brown butter and caper sauce, and lamb cutlets with grilled baby gem, bacon and peas. Lamb for me and Dover sole for him. My appetite has always been bigger than his.
Above, clockwise from top left: cocktails in the bar; the remainder of our dinner feast; sipping a Picante in bed
We have a final nightcap of amaretto on ice, before retiring to our chambers to enjoy those cloud-like pillows and the massive king-size bed.
9am: morning yoga
Rise and shine. Time to pop on our best Saturday yoga gear and head outdoors for an energising lesson to start the day. We pick up some mats and two Press juices from the concierge, and get to choose where we want to set up for the class.
I love Chiswick for all its greenery – it reminds me of where I grew up in Norway. There are so many options just a short walk from High Road House, such as Dukes Meadows, Chiswick Common, Turnham Green and Grove Park, among others. We settle on a quiet spot in Turnham Green and get down to business. The 45-minute, socially distanced flow turns out to be a challenging one, making the ‘savasana’ even more rewarding. It’s my boyfriend’s first-ever yoga class, but he is being such a good sport. As an extra treat, we head to Foubert’s gelaterie for a hazelnut gelato that is just happiness in a cone.
‘As an extra treat, we head to Foubert’s gelaterie for a hazelnut gelato that is just happiness in a cone’
We get an amazing table on the terrace of High Road Brasserie for brunch. We order eggs Benedict and a full English with extra hash browns and some freshly squeezed orange juice for a vitamin kick. Clearly, the full English is for me. The bacon arrives so crispy that I feel guilty not to share it with my boyfriend. To finish off, we order two spicy Bloody Marys. ‘Good for digestion’, we assure each other.
12pm: neighbourhood stroll
Time to explore and refamiliarise ourselves with the area. We’ve been given this rare opportunity and window of time to reflect on the beauty of our own neighbourhoods, rather than jetting off to a new country every second week. This Saturday, we intend to fully appreciate what Chiswick has to offer. We stop at The Old Cinema for some antique scouting and interiors inspiration. Then, Wheelers Flowers for some fresh blooms and Foster Books, an independent bookshop on Chiswick High Road in an 18th-century building filled with first editions and rare books.
Above, clockwise from top left: outside Foster Books; fresh flowers at Wheelers Flowers; our afternoon picnic spread; Chiswick House
‘We are both completely taken by the 18th-century, Neo-Palladian architecture of Chiswick House’
2pm: picnic at Chiswick House & Gardens
We stroll back to High Road House to pick up a gorgeous picnic hamper, prepared especially for us by Tristan, before setting off for a new adventure. This time, we walk to Chiswick House & Gardens. As soon as we step into its gates, we are transported into a Jane Austen novel. The gardens are exceptionally well-kept and idyllic. Rumour has it that one of the swans in the lake is extremely confident and has a peculiar fondness for freshly baked scones. Me being a history buff and my boyfriend an architect, we are both completely taken by the 18th-century, Neo-Palladian architecture of Chiswick House. We find some shade overlooking the front of the house, then start unpacking our afternoon tea goodies and a bottle of Lady A – a picnic staple for me.
4pm: back to the House
With our bellies full and noses burned, we decide to stroll back to High Road House and conclude our fabulous staycation.