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One of London’s busiest transport hubs, Paddington Station and its nearby neighbourhoods have undergone a serious transformation in recent years, with luxury waterside apartments and new head offices popping up all over Paddington.
There are so many things to do near Paddington Station that the surrounding area has become a destination in itself, from historic parks to outdoor arts trails (not to mention all the floating, fine dining and pubs).
Here are the very best things to do near Paddington Station in west London:
Things to do near Paddington Station
1. Paddington Bear
From Peru to Paddington….no trip to Paddington Station is complete without seeing the statue of Paddington Bear with his suitcase and hat.
The statue is located half way up platform 1 (you don’t need a train ticket to access this section of the station). You’ll recognise it as the spot from the recent Paddington Bear movie where the Brown family first meet our hirsuite hero.
As well as the Paddington Bear main statue, there is also a Paddington Bear plaque, bench and dedicated gift-shop (marmalade sandwich anyone?) plus some outdoor installations of Paddington near the canal but this station statue is the biggest and best.
2. Italian gardens and Hyde Park
A 10 minute walk from Paddington Station brings you to Hyde Park and most noticeably, the stunningly beautiful Italian Gardens. Free to visit and a frequent filming location (THAT fight scene between Hugh Grant and Colin Firth in Bridget Jones was filmed here), the Italian Gardens ‘blossomed’ in the 1860s and are believed to have been created as a gift from Prince Albert to Queen Victoria (well, you can’t go wrong with flowers).
These are truly ornate and spectacular gardens with a huge pond and fountains as the centre-piece plus an English rose garden. The Italian Gardens cafe is also worth a visit (with a vintage ice-cream also parked up in the summer months).
3. Paddington Public Art Trail
Paddington is peppered with public art installations, with 22 different statues and structures installed indoors and out – download the full map and list here.
The Paddington Art Trail starts from the Unknown Soldier statue inside Paddington Station. From Paddington Bear himself in Paddington Station (in good company with the famous statue of Isambard Kingdom Brunel) to the Fan Bridge at Merchant Square, this is an awesome array of alluring art and functional structures.
4. Little Venice
One of the most beautiful neighbourhoods in London (and a popular filming location – check out the Paddington Bear movie), Little Venice is as tranquil and picturesque as it sounds (spoiler alert – there are no gondolas, just plenty of canal barges).
Whether you want to get out on the water on a hire boat or canal cruise or just admire the water from afar, there is plenty to do and ‘float’ your boat in Little Venice.
The area’s name was supposedly coined by one-time local resident and famous poet Robert Browning in the 19th century. This charming canalside neighbourhood marks where several waterways meet (Regent’s Canal, Paddington Basin and the Grand Union Canal) and is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon or take a stroll from Paddington station.
5. Edgware Road
A lively enclave primarily known for its Middle Eastern restaurants and hookah cafes, Edgware Road is a shopping street (sometimes referred to as ‘Little Beirut) which links the Paddington area with Oxford Street and Marble Arch.
Known for its Arabian eateries and specialist stores, you’ll be spoilt for choice in terms of where to eat – just follow your nose or look for the busier spots.
Bayswater is your best bet for shopping in the Paddington vicinity, particularly along Westbourne Grove and Queensway (although note that Whiteley’s shopping centre has recently been demolished to make way for apartments).
With a multitude of chain and independent restaurants and cafes, there should be something for all tastes plus activities such as a walks around Kensington Gardens, green garden squares and bowling /ice skating at All Star Lanes.
7. Sheldon Square Ampitheatre
Although not an attraction as such, the Sheldon Square Ampitheatre often hosts events and screenings on its big screen (popular for workers to watch sporting events at lunchtime like Wimbledon tennis or Olympics).
Sheldon Square is a prime picnic spot too, with an astro turf covering and several outlets around it selling takeaway food and drink, like Itsu, Starbucks and Sainsburys supermarket. Nearby, you’ll find the London Cheese Barge and London Shell company floating restaurants mentioned in more detail later.
8. Paddington Floating Pocket Park
Paddington Basin is now home to London’s first floating park, a 700 sq m urban oasis set amongst the hustle and bustle of this usually busy area.
An oasis of calm and busiest on weekday lunch times when office workers eat their packed lunches or snacks from the nearby supermarkets or food outlets, this is a well kept floating dock with ample seating room (and surprisingly, it doesn’t rock too much – just enough to have a calming effect).
Free Wifi is also available in Paddington meaning it could be a nice spot to work outside; or just spend a few minutes before getting your train at Paddington station (the floating pocket park is approx a 10 minute walk away).
9. Pubs near Paddington station
Although Paddington Station has several pubs, they are generally quite dark and dingy so if you have time or planning a day in and around the area, these are the best pubs we’d recommend in the Paddington station area:
BrewDog is located in the heart of Paddington basin just across from the floating park so is in a prime spot and often gets rammed so if you want to bag one of the booths in the windows with views of the water.
BrewDog also offers weekly specials like Wing Wednesday and 2 for 1 burger nights – they do a nice line in vegan food too.
The Windsor Castle
Located along a quiet side-street, the Windsor Castle pub near Little Venice has been around as a backstreet boozer since the 1860s. Inside, you’ll find a wonderful wooden interior and well stocker bar – punters pile on to the street outside during peak periods.
The Prince Alfred
One of the most beautiful pubs inside and out in west London, The Prince Alfred is a verdant Victorian bar with historic wooden interiors high ceilings and ‘snob screens’ (etched pub panels), dating back to the 1850s and run by Youngs Brewery. If you are familiar with central London pubs, think of the Princess Louise in Holborn in terms of a similar interior.
Another Paddington Basin bar and restaurant, the Lockhouse has a warehouse and industrial feel, boasting over 10 beers on tap, an ample menu and an outdoor terrace overlooking the canal.
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10. Paddington Pergola
An alfresco bar and street-food up (supposedly the largest outdoor food and drink court in west London) with a roof in winter months, Paddington Pergola is a popular spot with the after works crowd and is akin to a roof-top garden.
At the weekends, DJs play and you can book day beds. There are two bars and food options include Kwispy Fried Chicken, Japanese and Filthy & Co burgers.
A little piece of Americana comes to Paddington with this 1980’s inspired Manhattan/ NYC street food hall and karaoke bar – think Greenwich Village but not the London one!
Billed as a ‘…bustling all-day dining and drinking urban market’, Huckster offers fun, fast food (think burgers, fries and pizza) in a fun setting, with graffiti walls, diner style booths and copious amounts of booze (happy hour specials and bottomless brunches are particularly popular).
12. Marble Arch
If you’ve pursued Paddington Basin and explored Edgware Road, the next logical step is to check out Marble Arch, London’s iconic gateway (and much easier to see now that that awful man-made monstrosity the Marble Arch Mound has gone – good riddance!).
The white Marble Arch was originally erected in the 1820s as a planned regal entrance gate to Buckingham Palace, but was moved to its current site in the 1850s. Although now it has become more of a traffic island due to the number of roads in and around Oxford Street and Mayfair, it is in an incredible site to behold (and free to visit the exterior).
Interestingly, inside, it also contains historic sleeping quarters and holding cells that the police used to use when patrolling Hyde Park and Speaker’s Corner in particular (not open to the public).
13. The Cheese Barge bar, Sheldon Square
Heard about the brie-illiant cheese barge bar moored up at Sheldon Square, just a very short walk from Paddington Station on Regent’s Canal? It is the quintessential cheesy London experience, but in a ‘gouda’ way (so sorry – no more cheese puns).
Based on a beautifully restored and well fitted out barge, this double-decker floating restaurant (indoor seating is available as well as a smaller roof-top set-up).
From the brains behind the cheese conveyor belt (Pick and Cheese) in Seven Dials, Covent Garden and the Cheese Bar in Camden, the Cheese Barge is one of London’s most unique dining experiences, pairing cheese plates and seasonal dishes with exquisite wines, whilst you soak up the waterside views in Paddington Central.
14. London Shell Company, Paddington
Handily located right next to the Cheese Barge, the London Shell Company Grand Duchess barge is a Paddington perennial, offering the very best of British seafood. From scallops to smoked haddock or Devon oysters with pickled jalapenos, this is some seriously delicious fish and seafood fare (although vegetarian and meat dishes are also available).
As well as this permanent Grand Duchess barge moored in Paddington Central, you can also take to the water on their sister boat, the Prince Regent enjoying a fine dining fish based menu whilst along the Regents Canal towards London Zoo and Regent’s Park.
15. Darcie and May Green floating restaurant and bar
Or as we like to call them, the ‘Razzle Dazzle’ barges in Paddington.
With a brightly vivid and colourful exterior designed by renowned artist Sir Peter Blake (famous for his Beatles Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club album and his Liverpool ferry wraps, this is one floating restaurant and barge that is impossible to miss (tip – wear sunglasses!).
Comprising two separate barges, the Darcie Green set-up is all about canalside brunches, serving the usual classics plus a smattering of Aussie classics like smashed avo on toast.
May Green is also open for food but has more of a bar vibe with craft beer on taps and an extensive cocktail menu – as well as dining inside, the outdoor deck is popular for alfresco sessions in the summer months.
16. Church Street market
A real deal, authentic street market open 6 days a week (closed Sundays), experience the hustle and bustle of Church Street market which runs from Edgware Road to Lisson Grove.
From fabric to feijoas, you’ll find all manner of foods and homewares at Church Street Market plus lots of international cuisine (Arabic, Lebanese, Asian) in the nearby cafes and stalls that run along the street.
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17. Alfies antique market on Cheap Street
Channel your inner ‘Bargain Hunt’ at Alfies Antique Market, London’s largest indoor antique located on Cheap Street, a brisk 15 minute stroll from Paddington Station and open 5 days a week (Tuesday to Saturday) from 10am to 6pm.
Alfies vintage market is located all under one roof with over 70 stalls and sections offering a wide selection of antiques and second-hand precious items including furniture, jewellery, glass, ceramics plus a vast amount of vintage clothes.
Similar to the outdoor market in Portobello Road in Notting Hill, Alfies Antique Market is one of London’s most famous antiques market and worth a browse, especially when coupled with Church Street Market.
18. Go Boat hire at Paddington Station
Missed your train? A more alternative and fun mode of transport in Paddington is the Go Boat hire, available from Paddington Basin. Charter your own electric boat (for up to groups of 8) and take your boat from Merchant Square through Little Venice and onward to Camden and London Zoo.
Note that unlike other Go Boat locations such as Canary Wharf, Paddington Go Boat is an alcohol free location so no bubbles on board – prices start from £89 for one hour.
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