For those of you who are looking for a truly quintessential West-London adventure, Paddington is the place you’ll want to be. Packed full of variety, Paddington offers a vibrant array of cafes, restaurants, shops, markets and blissful green parks, it's the perfect mix of the city high life and the sanctuary of nature.
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Located in the heart of London, this district is also walking distance to Oxford Circus, just around the corner from Notting Hill and Bayswater, as well as sitting just off London’s biggest open parks. Whilst Paddington might be known for its famous railway station and fictional bear, there’s much more to it than that.
One of the most unique features of Paddington can be seen in its distinctive Victorian architecture and Georgian housing: fresh flowers hang from street lamps and stunning white and cream stucco-fronted houses sit in every cobbled street along Hyde Park. Take a closer look and you'll see custom-made mosaic tiles by the entrance, magnificent marble staircases curving up several steps and a widened wooden front door - usually guarding a lavish chandelier in the hallway.
Paddington has something for everyone, and whether you’re a museum seeker, a theater enthusiast or self-proclaimed food critic, this chic London neighborhood will help you find it.
A hidden favorite amongst locals and savvy visitors alike, The Summerhouse is a secluded gem located on the corner of the Paddington Basin river. As the name suggests, this restaurant serves an eclectic mix of fresh seafood, bright summer vegetables and citrus sorbets in a traditional English setting. What about mulled wine at Christmas time? Don’t fret! The Summerhouse provides serenity throughout the seasons – whether it is a glass of Sangria or a hot mug of spiced cider, it never disappoints.
For those who love a cheaper thrill, Norfolk Square Gardens is the best hideaway going. This tranquil spot is ideal for summer picnics and comes equipped with its very own set of deck chairs, a ping pong table and even a giant chess board making it the perfect way to spend the afternoon. Not only can you escape the masses of Hyde Park, but if you visit in the warmer months, Norfolk Square Gardens is one of the most beautifully floral and colorful squares in London (compliments of the Westminster City Council). The visual excitement doesn’t stop there – a short walk around the corner and you’ll hit the Fan Bridge, Paddington’s very own moving pedestrian walkway. Inspired by a Japanese-style fan, you can watch this artsy bridge curl upwards and back down into place every Wednesday and Friday afternoon.
Have a little stroll further down the distinctive waterway path of Little Venice, and you will see colorful boats tied to the docks, small antique stalls, and the infamous floating Waterside Café. Just next door, the Waterway bistro-style gastropub comes equipped with its own intimate terraced bar overlooking the canal, in case sitting on a ‘rocking-café-boat’ isn’t your thing. Little Venice is a rather romantic spot to visit, but every year in May since 1983, it transforms itself into the ‘Canalway Cavalcade’ festival. Spectators and excitable boat enthusiasts will gather from across the country to adore narrowboats, watch morris dancing, explore real ale tents and dine at the hot food stands. In the evening, there are live bands to make the atmosphere even more magical.
Amongst all the culinary masterpieces London has to offer, you would be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t have a traditional pub lunch. The Victoria, located on the corner of Strathearn Place across from Hyde Park knows how to serve up real Paddington grub (with all the trimmings). This 19th-century pub draws a diverse crowd of regulars and newcomers, all attracted by the obvious charm of its traditional English street lamps attached to the wooden bar, the abundance of original paintings still hanging on the walls and the vintage wallpaper clinging on every available corner. Tucked behind the bar, a winding staircase will lead you to a separate dining area upstairs, which is perfect for a quiet drink or catch-up with company.
If you have chosen to explore the delights of Paddington in the evening, do it with ultimate style. Whether you are looking for a romantic dinner for two, or if you want a glamorous night out with your friends, the Pearl Liang offers a beautiful oriental banquet with dim-sum that is to-die-for. Led by head chef Paul Ngo, the Pearl Liang has carved out an infamous reputation amongst London restaurant-goers as the number one spot for authentic lobster noodles and sizzling beef sirloin cutlets drizzled in fruity mandarin sauce. Don’t forget to take a look through their exquisite cocktail list, which boasts their signature ginger cosmopolitan and Shanghai sour.
And why should you leave empty handed? Whoever has the pleasure of visiting Paddington always needs a gem to take home with them to mark the occasion - and now you know exactly where to find one! Alfies Antique Market is the largest indoor markets in London, housing over seventy-five vintage stalls boasting countless treasures new and old. Too diverse to define, whether you’re looking for fine jewelry, collectible English paintings, crockery and fine china or retro fashion, you will find it here. The stock is always revived, so you’ll never stumble across the same thing twice.
Only one thing in Paddington is certain: regardless of where you go or how long you choose to stay, the chic atmosphere and effortless charm that pours out of every avenue and corner will be waiting for you until you get back.