Living in Acton: Yinka Ilori’s tips include Ed Sheeran’s favourite Caribbean and the community-run cinema

·4-min read
Yinka Ilori at his studio  (Daniel Hambury/Stella Pictures Ltd)
Yinka Ilori at his studio (Daniel Hambury/Stella Pictures Ltd)

I live in a period conversion in Acton spread over two floors with a lovely garden. It is very minimal, which a lot of people don’t expect.

I moved in recently so I could be close to my studio; there is a community feel that I really like.

I’m designing the studio to be very colourful, sensory, positive and happy. So my home is intentionally more pared back, meditative and a place to relax. It has a lot of neutrals with pops of colour.

Best eating and drinking

Independent businesses in Acton (Daniel Hambury/Stella Pictures Ltd)
Independent businesses in Acton (Daniel Hambury/Stella Pictures Ltd)

There is an amazing Caribbean restaurant with incredible food called Grill Shack & Tiki Bar. I saw Ed Sheeran post about it on Instagram so I went down to check it out and it was sensational. I had Pina Coladas, frozen Margaritas and spicy wings.

There are lots of independent stores and little craft beer shops in the area. I love wine and cheese and have got really into orange wine so I like discovering places that serve it. I like building friendships with people who run independents in my neighbourhood. I am new to Acton but hope to keep getting to know everyone.

Where I work out

As well as running around the neighbourhood, I go to the gym. The local is Everyone Active and that’s where I used to work out but lately I’ve been using the gym at White City House, which isn’t far and is super nice.

I have PT sessions with a trainer twice a week. I sometimes do bikram yoga, too. The pool is great or I might even sit in the steam room with a book and listen to music after a work out.

For a culture fix

Act One Cinema (Daniel Hambury/Stella Pictures Ltd)
Act One Cinema (Daniel Hambury/Stella Pictures Ltd)

Act One Cinema is a former library on the high street that has been turned into a cinema. It’s really special because it’s formed by local residents who are creating a sense of community. They have taken this disused building on the high street and given it a purpose again. I think that’s so beautiful.

To commune with nature

I picked up running during lockdown and you may well see me doing a 5K around Turnham Green. I like that spot. I head towards Hammersmith and run back again.

There is Acton Green Common as well. Acton is also close to Richmond Park, which is quite nice, or I go to Kew Gardens, which isn’t too far.

I spent quite a lot of time there during lockdown. I’d go into the massive conservatory with huge plants from different parts of the world. It kind of weirdly felt like traveling because there were plants from West Africa and Asia. I found being there really relaxing.

Grocery shopping

I used to work at M&S and I still love it there. Or I might go to Sainsbury’s or Tesco. For really fresh fruit, vegetables or fish I head to Shepherd’s Bush Market. There is a good butcher and it’s where I get delicious red peppers, green peppers, onions, plum tomatoes and spinach.

Getting around

Since Covid broke out I’ve been very cautious so I take my car everywhere. I like driving, being in my own space and listening to my music.

I got the bus the other day for the first time in maybe two years. I enjoyed it. The only annoying thing is when the driver has to wait a few minutes to even out the service.

I love people-watching though. On the Tube I like the Central line: it’s useful to get to White City or there is the Piccadilly for Acton Town. I’m not a fan of the Bakerloo.

Something you only see in Acton

Oh my days, I saw a woman walking a pet pig just as you would walk a dog. I actually stopped driving and started talking to her. She had it on a lead. It turns out that she has a few pet pigs and regularly takes them for walks.

Dream street

Devonshire Road (Daniel Hambury/Stella Pictures Ltd)
Devonshire Road (Daniel Hambury/Stella Pictures Ltd)

Devonshire Road has good restaurants and antique shops, which encourages people to come out and socialise. I like that. Also nearby is Chiswick High Road. I stroll over on the weekend for the antique markets; I love antiques. Sometimes there is a flower market.

What’s the catch?

There isn’t a lot of public art. I can see lots of blank canvases that would be great for art or sculpture work. East has a lot but we are lacking it in Acton.

In three words

Energetic. Cultural. Joyful.

Visit yinkailori.com or follow him on Instagram @yinka_ilori

Schools in Acton

Everyone’s desperate to get their kids into Ark Byron in Acton Park but you’ll have to buy very near to be within the catchment zone. For seniors Twyford Church of England High School is well known locally for its high rate of leavers who go on to study at Oxbridge.

Houses in Acton (Daniel Hambury/Stella Pictures Ltd)
Houses in Acton (Daniel Hambury/Stella Pictures Ltd)

What it costs to live in Acton

Average flat price: £454,545

Average house price: £1,005,339

Average price to rent a flat: £1,707 a month

Average price to rent a house: £2,937 a month

Source: Rightmove

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