Forget that marmalade-eating bear: there’s plenty else going on in W2.
Is there actually a vibe in Paddington?
While its giant Victorian railway station is still the first thing that springs to mind, Paddington has transformed over the last 20 years. Changing its rep from dilapidated den to high-flying leisure hotspot, it offers a mix of culture, food, gardens and canals.
Lovely. Where do I go for a bite to eat?
Merchant Square, one of Paddington’s newest developments, hosts street-food market Crave, which runs twice-weekly from 12 to 3pm, while monthly market Kerb takes place at Paddington Central (Sheldon Square). Give Beany Green (Sheldon Square) a bash, with its Aussie take on fresh, natural food including the magnifcent Bondi breakfast. For dinner, stroll along the canalside to the Little Venice-based Summerhouse (Blomfield Road) for award-winning seafood. Their sister spot The Waterway (Formosa Street) serves European bistro further up the towpath.
Where can I go on for a drink?
Try local trendy hotspot Kupp (Merchant Square) for a Scandi-style experience. South of the station lies nineteenth-century haunt The Victoria (Strathearn Place), which opened on the first day of said queen’s reign and has since hosted everyone from Charles Dickens to Daniel Craig. The Mad Bishop & Bear (Paddington Food Mall) is no regular train station dive, rather a craft-ale haven that stocks Castle Rock among its tipples. For a mean coffee, Monocle’s first café-bar, Kioskafé (Norfolk Place), boasts cool moustaches and flat whites aplenty.
I feel like exploring...
Follow the Paddington Public Art Trail, which begins on Platform 1 of Paddington station and ends 22 sculptures later with Stephen Gontarski’s ‘Untitled Yellow’. On a historical note, the Sir Alexander Fleming Museum at St Mary’s Hospital (Praed Street) is an opportunity to learn about the scientist’s breakthrough discovery of penicillin. Across the station, take a walk to Little Venice and soak up the picturesque barges and canal, before chilling at the oasis of calm that is Rembrandt Gardens (Warwick Avenue).
Anywhere to go shopping?
Paddington’s not exactly a retail hub, but since you’re in the area, visit The Paddington Bear Shop (Paddington Station), the only bear-celebrating emporium of its kind.
And if I go for only one thing?
By Joe Gamp, who’s still figuring out how to get his train home.
Fancy a change of scene? Take a look at the best bits of Golders Green.