With its rich history associated with the Royal Family, science and even literature, Paddington is an area of London that is familiar with most thanks to its railway station
A brief introduction to Paddington
Despite having a rich history associated with the Royal Family, science and even literature, like Victoria and King’s Cross, Paddington is an area of London that is familiar to many thanks to its railway station. But Paddington is also a significant junction for the city’s canals, as well as its railway lines. Work is currently underway to regenerate land in the area that was formerly associated with these two modes of transport, as they have declined in popularity with the rise of the motorcar. The increasingly vibrant Paddington Waterside will soon be home to hundreds more flats and houses, and dozens of new offices, boutiques and public spaces.
Food and drink
This neighbourhood has a distinct local feel and is home to great independent restaurants and cafes
Paddington is widely known for its famous railway and Underground station, which connect passengers to nearly every point in the city. Popular with commuters and tourists, the area surrounding the station is not a hub for foodies. Praed Street, the heart of this district, is lined up with cafes and delis good enough for a quick bite, but to find the best food you will have to venture north towards Sheldon Square or further south – to the lovely Connaught Street.
Known as Connaught Village, this neighbourhood has a distinct local feel and is home to great independent retailers, restaurants and cafes. Edgware Road is lined up with Lebanese restaurants offering mezze and sisha all-day long, but sadly the quality of the food is not as good as it used to be.
In the modern Sheldon Square, a modern development by the canal, you will find a few cafes and restaurants serving the workers from nearby office towers. Beany Green is an Antipodean-style coffee shop serving beans from Monmouth and The Roasting Party, delicious Aussie treats like the homemade banana bread and lamingtons, and beautiful salads. The space is big and they offer free Wi-Fi, but the only downside is the lack of customers’ toilets.
The Waterside Cafe
Directly north of Paddington is the tranquil pocket known as Little Venice. The area is a popular tourist attraction with picturesque canals, which you can ride on board of cruise boats all the way to Camden Lock. The Waterside Cafe is London’s only floating cafe and is an ideal choice to enjoy food and drinks with friends, especially on a sunny warm day. The menu features breakfasts, snacks and light lunches, with homemade specials available every day.
Located at the heart of the amphitheatre in Sheldon Square, Pearl Liang is a restaurant and cocktail bar serving high quality and authentic Cantonese food. The space is dark (there are no windows) with an authentic Oriental atmosphere, decorated with water features, bamboo and a full room-length painting of Chinese blossom branches. Pearl Liang is renowned for the dim sum (visit during the day for the full selection): steamed prawn dumplings and honey roasted pork buns, pan fried turnip cake and barbecued pork puffs, or cheung fun noodle pancakes. Pearl Liang is also well famed for its seafood dishes.
A relative newcomer to Connaught street is this Argentinean deli, cafe and wine shop. The space inside is much bigger than you’d think when looking in from the street: behind the spacious and airy front room, there are two smaller rooms with wooden tables and shelves stocked with local or imported goods. There is a fresh deli counter with sweet and savoury pastries: the empanadas are great as an eat-in or takeaway lunch option.
On the north side of Edgware Road there’s this family-run, no-frills cafe specialised in Burmese cuisine at reasonable prices. The Ally family has been running this restaurant on Edgware Road for over a decade and have in this time won several awards and accolades. Don’t be put off by the restaurant’s decor; the focus here is on the simple yet amazing Burmese food, such as Lamb in Tamarind, Chilli Chicken, or Banana Fritters.
Health and wellbeing
While your lunch break away doing anything from a spin class, personal training, swimming, running to just taking a moment to sit back and watch the world go by.
Paddington is an area in Central London which is home to important landmarks including Paddington Station. A major project is currently underway with the aim to regenerate former railway and canal land up until 2018, which will see many new developments come to life. Currently, there is a good mix of specialist outdoor activities such as Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) and SUP Yoga, plus local run venues and private health clubs.
Nuffield Health & Fitness Club
This Fitness & Wellbeing Centre prides itself on having an innovative new approach, with a dedicated team of clinically trained health experts who begin your journey by leading you through a 12-point health MOT. With two studios there’s an abundance of choice when it comes to classes, including yoga, Les Mills and Pilates. The classes even spill over in to the swimming pool, with Swim Fit sessions dedicated to improve fitness in the water!
This exclusive boutique studio offer private Pilates sessions on either the Reformer, Pilates Chair or Cardio Tramp. All sessions are aimed towards helping you to transform your body and strength. Pilates is a great way to tone up, improve your posture, recover from injury and improve your body awareness. Contact Peacock Pilates now to book in your private session now!
St. Mary's Swimming Pool
The Imperial College London fitness facilities at Paddington are conveniently and centrally located at the St Mary’s hospital campus where they house a 20m swimming pool. The pool is available for lane swimming, scuba diving, swimming lessons, water polo and can be hired for special events. Open Monday through to Saturday (to Friday during the summer) you can take advantage of competitive drop in prices for swimming in London.
SUPcity is located in Paddington Basin; an incredible inner city location close to Paddington Station who have been able to bring bring Stand Up Paddle-boarding (SUP) racing and SUP Yoga to the Heart of London. SUP Yoga is a great way to improve felxibility and stability on the boards and suitable whether you are a first timer to either SUP or yoga! So don your wetsuit (optional) and get stretching!
Paddington Recreation Ground
Just north of Paddington you’ll find this this park covering 27 acres, within which are tennis courts, an athletics track, two artificial grass pitches and bowling greens. The site is also home to a gym offering group exercise classes, table tennis and personal training. The grounds are the ideal place to relax and unwind, or let off some steam playing your favourite sports.
Energia Fitness Gym is a fitness suite conveniently and centrally located at the St Mary’s hospital campus, situated in the Cambridge Building. Whether an experienced gym user or a complete beginner to exercise, all new members receive a personal induction to be shown all the gym equipment and the benefits they can achieve. The facilities include a wide range of cardiovascular equipment, resistance machines, free weights and abdominal exercises. There are also showers, lockers and changing facilities available for use.
Appealing to large number of city workers, you’ll find everything from fashion and beauty for women and men, to chocolate shops and food stores.
Paddington isn’t known as an area for shopping as much as others in London, but it has quite a mixture of shops and stores along the high street. There are smaller convenience type stores and then the main high street chains, where you can pick up all your necessities and day-to-day pieces. You will find the slightly bigger shops towards Edgware Road, near the Underground station and past St. Mary’s Hospital.
Marks & Spencer
Marks & Spencer is one of the UK’s best selling department stores. It has become the go-to for many people for clothing, top of the range food, lingerie and household goods. With celebrity faces behind the womenswear and menswear ranges, the clothing is high quality and fairly priced. M&S prides itself on quality, and service and each store has a dedicated staffing able to help you. The branch in Paddington has a wide selection across all of is departments.
A & H Brass
A & H Brass has been trading out of its London showroom for over 30 years. They work closely with architects, interior designers, contractors and the public and have built up expertise in the ironmongery and electrical sectors. At the store you can pick up bathroom accessories, lighting switches and sockets. Or pop in for a quick key cut or engraving service.
For all your office supply needs, Ryman has you covered. From stationary like simple pens and paper to printer paper and shredders, you can pick up everything you need here. They sell plenty of storage options too if you’re looking for packing boxes or plastic crates, as well as a range of electrical items, digital cameras, home and office phones and headphones.
Carphone Warehouse is your one-stop-shop for everything mobile phone. Whether you want to upgrade your original mobile contract or choose a new mobile phone, they have all the latest mobiles from Samsung, Apple, HTC and many more. They also have a supply of mobile phone accessories from cases to cables, as well as accessories for tablets and options to contract these too.
Superdrug is your local chemist filled with essential items, including makeup and cosmetics, skincare, bath & body, medicines and everything in between. Stock up on all your beauty items in your lunch break. A must-visit before a holiday, get prepared with travel sizes, sunscreen and a multitude of essential items you may forget.
Paddington has a wide range of must-see places waiting to be discovered, many of which often house a treasure trove of unique stories and experiences. Explore some of our top recommendations below and get the insiders’ take on Paddington’s hidden gems.
Paddington Bear Statue
Sat at the end of Platform 1 in Paddington Station you can find a small bronze statue of a furry figure in a hat, sat forlornly on a suitcase. This is Paddington Bear, the creation of writer Michael Bond. In Bond’s books, Paddington earned his name from this station in which he was found by the kindly Brown family, after travelling to London from “deepest, darkest Peru”.
The Rolling Bridge
Designed by Thomas Heatherwick, the creator of the cauldron that housed the Olympic Bridge and the new Routemaster buses on London’s roads, the Rolling Bridge spans a section of the Grand Union Canal at Paddington Basin. Transforming from what looks like a little Ferris wheel to a footbridge in a couple of minutes, the bridge allows workers and residents to move around the basin as well as permitting passage for boats on the canal.
St. Mary's churchyard and gardens on Paddington Green
The churchyard and green space around St. Mary’s church on Paddington Green is the place to go to learn about notable former residents of Paddington. Here there are memorials to previous locals and nationally celebrated individuals, including eighteenth century actress Sarah Siddons, artist Joseph Nollekens, writer Michael Bond (the creator of Paddington Bear), and code-cracking scientist Alan Turing.
Hyde Park Stables
For the equestrian in London there are precious few opportunities to practice one’s craft. Where can you find an entire stable full of horses, as well as sufficient space in which to take one out for a ride? Hyde Park Stables however offers just such an opportunity, for everyone from beginners to those itching to get back in the saddle. Take a trot around one of the stables’ arenas or let your horse stretch its legs along the five miles of nearby bridleways.
The Frontline Club and restaurant
Behind an unremarkable door on Norfolk Place, is a steep staircase at the top of which is a club with a unique membership. The Frontline Club is a club for journalists (including foreign correspondents), but hosts a number of events that are open to all; including fascinating talks and debates, and documentary screenings. The Frontline Club also has a fine ground-floor restaurant open to all and a secret members’ bar tucked away above it.
Like the look of Paddington?
Paddington is dominated by the mainline train station, which was originally designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and opened in 1847. The area offers great commuting options, with rail routes to the west, together with the Heathrow Express, which provides a reliable 15 minute journey to London Heathrow International Airport.