Paddington’s far from merely an area of Central/ West London defined by the world-famous mainline train station with which it shares its name; it’s a district that’s bursting with life, colour, diversity, excitement and a plethora of attractions. Not least fantastic and stylish retail options, some of the highlights of which are…
(Queens Building, 96 Bishop’s Bridge Road W2 5AA)
Cutting-edge, modernist, stylish and sophisticated a furniture outlet it may be, but this UK retail institution actually started out over 200 years ago as a simple bedmakers. That said, it’s been two centuries since Heal’s humble beginnings and its Bayswater offering to be found in this glorious art deco building (which, once upon a time, was a cinema) fits the brand to a tee, with its own important place in the local area’s cultural and design heritage. And you’ll discover that the store itself totally embraces 21st Century design ethics (and not just in terms of the fabulous furniture on sale), thanks to its full-fledged digital aspirations with multi-media to be found throughout. It also offers a bespoke design service for visitors, enabling you to purchase made-to-measure kitchens, wardrobes, bookshelves and more.
(95 Westbourne Park Villas W2 5ED)
This increasingly fashionable district in Central/ West London is, it has to be said, the perfect location for a store that vends a marvellously appealing collection of vintage and retro garments aimed, for the most part, at young women. Yes, this place is genuinely an emporium of beautiful fashion, all right; the vast majority of which is likely to dazzle your eyes, make your heart beat a little faster and, well, leave your pockets – or at least your credit card account – a little lighter. Who could ask for more, should you already be taking advantage of London hotel offers by staying in a hotel like the Park Grand Paddington Court London?
L’Artisan du Chocolat
(87 Westbourne Grove W2 4UL)
Finally, here’s a question; have you ever given lapsang souchong-flavoured chocolate a go? Or Sichuan pepper-flavoured chocolate? Or how about red wine and tobacco chocokate? No? Well, you may be missing out then. You’re certainly unlikely to have visited the L’Artisan du Chocolate shop in Westbourne Grove (one of its several outlets in the capital), where grandiose, eclectic and taste-bud-surprising chocolate creations are the order of the day, every day. Revered by foodies from here to the hills, it’s the brainchild of ex-pastry chef Gerard Coleman, whose imagination and dedication has driven its success and arguably elevated chocolate-making to something approaching an art form.
Created entirely from natural ingredients (there’s none of those pesky flavourings or preservatives to be found here), each of his in-store efforts make for tongue-tingling delights. You can also sample several of the chocolate creations from assortment boxes before deciding on you favourites to take away – sounds heavenly, right? Our tip: try the Moroccan mint or banana and thyme-flavoured ones or the liquid salted caramels or the truffles. Or… well, just try as many as you can!