The Paddington area of London is best known for its historic train station and ‘gateway to the West’. But with hundreds of cafés, bars and restaurants, as well as parks, gardens and a regenerated canal, Paddington is a brilliant destination in itself, full of fun things to see and do.
Just north of Hyde Park, this Central London location is the perfect place to grab a few moments to yourself, go for a walk, enjoy an after-work meal or drink with friends, or even try a spot of paddle boarding.
Below are some great ideas for breaking up your journey when travelling to and from Paddington station, ideal for pursuing hobbies after work, and for helping you get on top of the work-life balance.
Food and drink – lunchtime
Beany Green is a cosy café with bags of charm, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Located on Regent’s Canal, not far from Paddington station, the Australian-inspired café offers loads of healthy food options, top coffee, cakes and cocktails. Swing by for a spot of lunch, meet with friends, or hang out with your colleagues.
Moored on the Grand Union Canal you’ll find The Cheese Barge, a perfectly bijou restaurant housed in a 96ft double-decker vessel and specialising in the finest cheeses and wines, ideal for a spot of lunch. Enjoy a delicious cheeseboard and a glass of red wine while you gently bob on this historic waterway.
The brightly coloured barges that make up the restaurant Darcie & May Green, on the Grand Union Canal, just north of Paddington Station, were designed by none other than the legendary pop artist Peter Blake. Step onboard this floating work of art and enjoy a delicious all-day brunch, with an expansive upper deck, super for alfresco dining, and a celebrated banana bread that is a must-try.
Food and Drink – after work
If you’re looking for a place to get after-work drinks, there’s no better venue than Pergola Paddington. This popular and spacious evening spot offers covered and uncovered al fresco drinking and dining, with self service restaurants, including burgers, kebabs and sushi, and two bars. It’s a super way to enjoy a casual night out after a hard day’s graft.
Along the regenerated canalside, north of Paddington Station, is the roomy and stylish Bondi Green, complete with in-house bakery and open flame Robata grill. There’s heated canalside seating for those looking to enjoy the fresh air, while indoors is beautifully decorated, with plenty of lush greenery.
Another great canalside venue, Vagabond Paddington is a Central London wine bar offering over 100 wines by the glass, including a self-service option, making for some seriously speedy purchasing. There’s also a chilled-out dinning option, with small plates and a steak sharer to enjoy with your glass of vino.
The popular Pawprint Trail offers three different routes around the Paddington area and beyond, each featuring one of the Paddington's statues from the Paddington Trail held across London in 2014. The three adventures take walkers via some top tourist spots, including Hyde Park, Little Venice, ZSL London Zoo and Camden Lock, as well as family-friendly cafés and restaurants for that well-deserved break. The Pawprint Trail map is available at the Paddington shop in Paddington Station.
The Paddington area is home to 25 English Heritage blue plaques. Download a Heritage Hunt guide and explore the stories behind some of history’s biggest names, including Alexander Fleming, who discovered Penicillin in St Mary’s Hospital; the first female president of the Liberal Party, Lady Violet Bonham Carter; and Peter Pan author JM Barry. You can find the Paddington Heritage Hunt guide here.
Combine strolling and art-viewing with a walk around Paddington’s best sculptures, murals and more. Paddington Public Art Trail begins at Unknown Soldier in Paddington Station and takes you via a Paddington Bear bronze, Isambard Kingdom Brunel and some very nifty bridges spanning the Paddington Basin.
Things to do
If you happen to be knocking off work early one day, make sure you book one of GoBoat’s vessels, for a great fun self-drive boating experience. It’s a good way to see the city centre, and no boating experience is required. Each boat can seat eight people around a central picnic table, so bring some friends and food, and make the most of your spare time.
Tucked away in the Paddington Basin on the Grand Union Canal, among tall buildings and low-level pedestrian bridges, you’ll find Floating Pocket Park. Designed by award-winning landscaper Tony Woods, the Merchant Square Park is a series of floating areas connected by walkways, creating a peaceful oasis for local residents and office workers alike, perfect for a little lunchtime relaxation.
What a delight, to arrive at Paddington Station to the sound of a brass band playing show tunes. Every Friday, from Easter to Christmas, the Great Western Railway Band performs between 7.30pm and 9pm. Stand for a while and get lost in the music.
Among the perfect after-work activities, a private canal boat cruise is one of the most indulgent there is. Hire Lady A for a cruise from Little Venice to Camden and back, available for parties of up to ten people.
Last but not least, if you fancy taking a long lunch break, or happen to be on a half day, then try out a two-hour paddle boarding session in the Paddington Basin. Make your way along the Regent’s Canal towards Little Venice in this fun activity you can enjoy with friends.
Paddington Station is accessible by multiple bus services and London Underground Hammersmith & City, Bakerloo, Circle and District Lines. Whether you’re travelling to the Capital or onto Wales or the West, travel with GWR.com for a more enjoyable trip!
For great offers in the Paddington area, including a free classic cocktail with any dinner booking at Bondi Green until the end of November 2021 (available for GWR passengers, on presentation of a GWR ticket showing date of travel) visit here.