Over the years, Brentford has been an important coaching town, an agricultural hub and a boat-building mecca. Today, serviced by trains running along the Hounslow Loop Line, the town is predominantly a commuter town - but visitors come for Griffin Park, the home of Brentford Football Club, and for walks along the Grand Union Canal, which was used to transport goods up to Birmingham before the arrival of rail in 1849. Brentford also has artistic claims to fame: the artist J. M. W. Turner grew up in The Weir Bar, now a gastropub a five-minute walk south of the station; Shakespeare drank at a Market Square pub, now demolished; and Skiffle legend Lonnie Donnegan was a regular at The Brewery Tap, a traditional pub on the banks of the canal.
The station itself dates back to 1849. In 2001 it underwent extensive modernisation thanks to funds from the British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, who have their head office nearby.