top 10 sights for 2021
The Lancaster Hall Hotel is located on the edge of the parish of Paddington. Formerly fields ajoining the City of London this area began to resemble the Paddintong we recognise to day in the mid 1800s with construction of grand squares and stucco fronted terraces. Brunel's masterpiece, Paddington station opened in 1884.
Today it is a major transport hub with many mainline trains arriving from the west including Bath and Bristol along with local commuter and tube lines. In addition the Heathrow Express brings airline passengers swiftly into central London in about 15 minutes.
Whilst not as glamorous as its posh neighbours such as Notting Hill, Marylebone or Kensington & Chelsea it has some real gems that are well worth a visit. Here are our top 10 Paddington sights for 2021
Paddington Bear is the creation of author Michael Bond and generations of children have grown up reading about how Mr and Mrs Brown found a lost Bear from Peru on a platform at Paddington Station.
These books put this small parish of London on the map and in 2014 were made into a widely acclaimed feature films staring Hugh Bonneville and Julie Walters.
The Paddington Bear statue was unveiled by the author in 2000 and is located on platform 1 under the main station clock.
Paddington Basin had been a hive of activity since opening in 1801 with the Regent's and Grand Union Canals along with the Great Western Railway. As canals fell into disuse Paddington Basin was redeveloped from the millenium onwards and today is a major office and residential hub with a host of bars, restaurants and public spaces.
A large amphitheatre at Sheldon square has a variety of events on during the summer including the broadcast of major live sports events. The annual Canalway Cavalcade takes place in early May and attracts large number of colourful canal narrowboats from around the country.
Alexander Fleming Museum
Alexander Fleming discovered antibiotic penicillin at St. Mary’s Hospital, Paddington in 1928, one of the greatest medical advances in the 20th Century. His laboratory in the hospital has been renovated to its 1928 condition and gives a wonderfully intimate insight into a different era of ground-breaking discovery which we very much take for granted today.
Located at 135a Praed Street just past Paddington Station there is a plaque just above the main window facing the street.
Entrance is £4 for Adults and £2 for others and is open Monday – Thursday 10am to 1pm, except on public holidays. For further details click here.
If you are itching to get on the water and choose your own route then GoBoat hire is for you.
Rates begin at £79 for the first hour but each boat can hold up to 8 people including children. Picnics and Dogs are welcome and no boating experience is required. One of the best routes is from Little Venice to Regents's Park, London Zoo and Camden Lock.
Book online here and then go to the GoBoat kiosk at Merchant Square just past the Rolling Bridge where your aquatic adventure begins.
The Paddington area is blessed with some of the finest pubs in London both from an architectural and atmosphere standpoint.
The Victoria at 10a Strathearn Place is a stonesthrow from Paddington Station and regularly wins awards with it's beautiful Victorian features in the main bar and cosy wood panelled dining rooms upstairs. Click here from more information.
The Monkey Puzzle on 30 Southwick Street may lack the period charm of the Victoria but more than makes up for it as a rare proper central London local with a loyal band of drinkers who regularly pack the pub and garden (with Monkey Puzzle tree).
Other pubs in the vicinity of note are The Mitre on Craven Terrace (just up the road from the Lancaster Hall Hotel) which is another charming Victorian boozer and the Swan on Bayswater Road which has a wonderful dining room and balcony overlooking Kensington Gardens.
The area know as Little Venice is just beyond Paddington Basin where the modern gleaming glass office blocks give way to cream coloured stucco fronted Victorian villas lining the water of the Regent's Canal. The canal is lined with houseboats many of which are converted narrow boats used to transport heavy goods during the hayday of the Canal.
The Rolling and Fan Bridges
Both of these unqiue bridges can be found in Paddington Basin close to Merchant Square and were commissioned as part of the regeneration of the area.
The Rolling Bridge was conceived by Thomas Heatherwick Studio of 2012 Olympic Torch and London Routemaster bus fame. The Fan Bridge resembles a Japanese hand fan when open and consists of five beams spanning 20m of water.
Weather permitting, both bridges are opened every Wednesday and Friday at 12PM and Saturday at 2PM starting with the Rolling Bridge first. Check the website for details here.
St James's Church
The existence of a church on this site can be traced back to the twelve hundreds but the current building was completed in 1843. In addition to being a popular and successful working church with a thriving congregation, St James has a colourful history which attracts a steady stream of tourists.
The Irish author Oscar Wilde married Constance Lloyd here in 1884, commemorated by a large Welsh slate plaque installed in 2016. During World War II the church lost its steeple but was subsequently repaired and renovated including a new stained-glass window depicting the famous residents of the Parish namely Baden Powell (founder of the Scouting movement), Alexander Fleming who discovered penicillin and J.M Barrie, author of Peter Pan. More details can be found on the St James Church website here.
The Regents Canal
One of the best views of London is from Primrose Hill, just north of Regent's Park and best of all it's free.
Our favourate route takes you along the Regent's Canal toepath. Starting from the Lancaster Hall Hotel to Paddington Basin, past Regent's park and Zoo before arriving at Primrose Hill after about an hour.
If it's a warm day, grab and ice cream next to Primrose Hill playground, scale the hill and enjoy the panoramic views of London - perfect!
Hidden behind grand Victorian villas of Little Venice is the oldest garden centre in London which has been in business since 1851.
With elegant glass houses packed with exotic plants and trees it is a very pleasant way to spend an hour or two rubbing shoulders with well heeled neighbours looking to enhance their gardens.