Most famous for being one of the UK capital’s most essential and busiest transport hubs (thanks to its world-famous mainline train station), the London district of Paddington is less known for its interesting, highly appealing and well-worth-visiting attractions, which together make for a diverse, intriguing collection. Here’s just a few examples that’ll pass at least an hour or two for visitors to London Paddington hotels…
Now, whether you’re up for merely killing time before your train out of the capital for a day trip or you’re staying relatively nearby and fancy exploring the appealing district that lies between the northern end of Hyde Park and the wonderful waterways of what’s fittingly known as Little Venice, there are treasures to be unearthed here, all right.
And that’s because the fundamental regeneration project that’s going on Paddington Basin (admittedly still in-progress, but that definitely shouldn’t put you off) has successfully delivered a tranche of new eateries and public areas to the canal hidden behind Brunel’s world-renowned station, featuring – as it does – a floating park, the every-two-weeks street food marke that’s Kerb and a large, seasonally-open pop-up restaurant, Pergola Paddington (ideal for evening dining, just as is The Grand Restaurant). And what could be more of a talking point than getting to say you worked up an appetite by going paddleboarding on the canal itself? Alternatively, you might want to try eastwards towards Oxford Street where is located Connaught Village, an elegant enclave of cafes and boutiques, while Edgware Road is brimming with Middle Eastern restaurants and shisha bars.
(Joe Strummer Subway, Edgware Road/ Harrow Road W2 1DX)
Descend into the pedestrian subway beneath Edgware Road and Harrow Road and you’ll happen upon a hidden-away cornucopia of culture that’s the Subway Gallery. Lying then underneath street-level landmarks such as Paddington Green, the Marylebone flyover and the Metropole Hilton hotel, this venue’s all about contemporary artists. Having opened on 6th June 2006 (yes, that’s right; 06-06-06), it was the brainchild of its curator, the artist Robert Gordon McHarg, to fulfil a modern art-displaying space that was originally a 1960s kiosk featuring glass walls (formerly a shoe repair shop); in other words, a unique showcase for art.
Jason’s Canal Boat Trip
(Each cruise departs opposite 42 Blomfield Road W9 2PF)
Claiming to be the original Regent’s Canal-based boat tour, ‘Jason’s’ has been going since 1951; yes, that’s right – that long. Jason is, in fact, a genuine 100-plus-year-old canal boat, whose original job was as a cargo-vessel on the canals ahead of it’s being fitted out with a diesel engine so it might revert to more leisurely passenger-carrying work. Running between Little Venice and Camden Lock, it’s a three-quarters-of-an-hour journey, which is pleasant, indeed, not least because it features a live commentary from trained guides who’ll inform you of the canal’s history from the year 1800 right to the present day.
St James’s Church, Sussex Gardens
This glorious Victorian church was built in 1843, designed in the neo-Gothic style. Clad in inlaid marble and featuring a marble-sculpted font and pulpit, its walls feature a coterie of stained-glass windows while, in its chancel, the beautifully ornate and (to an extent) gilded high altar is in place before a marble reredos carving of the Last Supper, as well as marble panels featuring representations of biblical plants and flowers.
The church’s original baptistry window was replaced by a stunning new window in 1955 following bomb damage sustained in the Second World War, at which point a memorial to those who died in the Battle of Britain was also added, which also includes local scenes and references to well-recognised figures connected to either the church or its parish such as scouts founder Robert Baden Powell (who was baptised at St James’s) and Alexander Fleming, who made his ground-breaking discovery of penicillin at the nearby St Mary’s Hospital.