What to do in Paddington - Lancaster Hall Hotel Guide.
Updated: Feb 27
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 Paddington we recognise today 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 Paddington sights:
Visit the Paddington Statue
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 film 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.
Also worth a look during a visit Paddington Station is the Great Western Railway War Memorial dedicated to the memory of the railway employees who died during the First World War. It is located just along platform 1 past the Paddington Bear Statue.
Stroll around Paddington Basin
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. A few minutes walk from the Amphitheathre along Kingdom Street is Pergola Paddington, a huge covered dining and drinking space surrounded by two bars and four restaurants - great for groups and parties.
Meet under the clock next to Paddington Station
A recent addition to the Paddington street scene is the ‘man in the clock’ located on Eastbourne Terrace next to Paddington Station and was created by Dutch artist Martin Bass. A 12 hour video loop shows a suited man rubbing off the hands drawn inside a steamed up clock every minute and redrawing them.
Based on similar installation in several other cities the suited man who very occasionally dons a top hat is a nod to Isambard Kingdom Brunel the creator of the Great Western Railway which connects London with the West of England.
Sail a boat on the canal
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 most popular routes is from Little Venice to Regents's Park, London Zoo and Camden Lock which according to the GoBoat website would take about 3 hours and cost £159.
Book online here and then go to the GoBoat kiosk at Merchant Square just past the Rolling Bridge where your aquatic adventure begins.
Have a pint in a Paddington Pub
The Paddington area is blessed with some of the finest pubs in London both from an architectural and atmospheric standpoint.
The Victoria at 10a Strathearn Place is a stonesthrow from Paddington Station and regularly wins awards with its 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).
The Bridge House located next to junction of the Grand Union Canal and the Regents canal and is a Paddington classic, mixing the old and new with a loyal following. Upstairs is the Canal Cafe Theatre putting on caberet, comedy and Theatre. Click here for the latest programme of events.
Expore Little Venice
The area known 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 once used to transport heavy goods during the hayday of the Canal.
The annual Canalway Cavalcade takes place in early May and attracts large numbers of colourful canal narrowboats from around the country. It has unfortunately been cancelled for 2021 and is should make a comeback in 2022.
Across the way from the Bridge House pub on the Regent's Canal section is a floating theatre called the Puppet Theatre Barge which is charming place appealing to all ages but especially young children. Details can be found here and during Covid restrictions shows are being broadcast online.
Watch the Rolling & Fan Bridges being raised.
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. It is quite a spectacle and you can get up close particlarly with the Rolling bridge which is a must for an enquisitive young aspiring engineer. Check the website for details here.
Walk along 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 walk through Paddington Station and exit directly onto the Canal toepath turning left towards Little Venice and the cross over the bridge at the Bridge House Pub. From here walk parallel to the canal along Blomfield Road. This is the most picturesque section before the canal goes underground for 100m or so. You can pick the canal up again at Lisson Grove, the path takes you towards Regent's Park. At the first footbridge you can either go left and scale Primrose hill, turn Right into Regent's Park or carry straight on towards Camden.
Primrose hill is a short climb for one of the best views of the London skyline and best of all it's free!
Pay homage to Oscar Wilde at 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.
Buy flowers at Clifton Nurseries
Hidden behind the 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.
Paddington Frequently Asked Questions.
Which area of London is Paddington?
Paddington is a small area of streets surrounding Paddington Station to the North of Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park within the borough of Westminster London. Further to West lies Bayswater and Notting Hill and to the East is the Edware Road, Marble Arch and the area of Oxford Street known as the West End.
Where is Paddington Bear? / Is there a Paddington Bear at Paddington Station?
The statue of Paddington Bear is located by platform 1 in Paddington Station which is to the far left as you stand on the main concourse facing the platforms and under the main station clock.
Is Paddington area of London safe?
The Paddington area is a relatively safe area but you should take the same precautions you would in any other part of London which are to leave any unecessary valueables at home (the Lancaster Hall Hotel has a safe in each room) and not to have all your important documents, passport, money etc in a single bag. In addition you should treat being approached by somebody, especially around the station, with a healthy suspicion.
Which tube line is Paddington Station on?
Paddington Station is on 4 tube lines. Inside the station you can board the Bakerloo, Hammersmith and City, District and Circle lines. The central line is a short 5 minute walk to Lancaster Gate which is handy for heading out east and is considerably faster than the Circle and District lines.
Why is Paddington Station Famous?
Paddington Station is well know as a major London transport hub with 4 tube lines, the Heathrow Express which takes 15 minutes and mainline trains out to the west of England including Bath, Bristol, Wales and Cornwall. The station itself is a Victorian masterpiece designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel arguably the most celebrated British
engineer. In addition, Paddington Station is famous for Michael Bond's Paddington Bear who was abandoned in the station and found by Mr and Mrs Brown.
Where can I go from Paddington Station?
Paddington is the gateway to the West of England. The Great Western Railway stops in the Thames Valley at places like Reading and Oxford. It is possible to get to the cities of Bath, Bristol and Cardiff in under 2 hours. Also, the line stretches deep into south Wales, along with Devon and Cornwall.
Is Paddington Step Free?
The mainline platforms are accessible by wheelchair but assistance may be required to board the train. You can book passenger assistance here. The tube requires forward planning. All accessible stations on the tube map are represented by a circle. Transport for London makes the distinction between Step-Free access from street to train (Blue circle with wheelchair symbol) and Step-free access from street to platform,