Most of us think of a Paddington taxi and our minds leap to a marmalade scoffing bear, rolling around in the back of a black cab. But at Addison Lee, we like to imagine even bears prefer a bit of refinement from time to time. Our luxury minicabs are comfortable, reliable and desirable; as well as being up to 30% cheaper than most black taxis. So when you decide it’s time for a little explore, remember – there’s so much more to this corner of Westminster, and you don’t even have to spend a fortune to see it all. Book through our app or website and let the adventure begin. So where to start? With the arcadian plains of Hyde Park and Queensway’s immutable buzz both just a stone’s throw away, you’re really spoilt for choice. But don’t be daunted – this bright carousel of shopping, eating out and relaxing al fresco has something for everyone. From high street heroes to couture boutiques and local markets, Paddington is the jewel of West London. When the iconic British architect Isambard Kingdom Brunel designed and built the magnificent Paddington train station in 1854, he intended it as a gateway to the United States. And while that may have ultimately proven beyond him, it’s worth mentioning that 150 years and well over £100m of refurbishments later and you can now get the train to Heathrow airport in just 15 minutes. Also home to the Bakerloo, Hammersmith & City as well as the Circle & District lines. This truly is one of London’s most important travel centres. Tired of all the hubbub? Follow our Paddington taxi driver’s guide into the unrivalled tranquility of London’s kept secret – Little Venice. There’s really no better spot to grab lunch in the sunshine. Bliss.
Where to drink
Old Mary’s at The Mitre
We love this west London speakeasy. Not just because it’s tucked away underneath the equally terrific Mitre pub. But also because it’s managed to carve out a legitimately stylised cocktail bar in the bowels of an undeniably Victorian building. That exciting blend of cultures is steeped in their delicious cocktail menu too, which offers variety and old favourites aplenty.
24 Craven Terrace, W2 3QH
It may not be the biggest pub in Paddington but my word, it’s authentic. Once the local boozer of Winston Churchill himself, this cosy Victorian (surprise!) drinking den is an absolute must-see if you’re looking to whet your whistle while waiting for your train. Don’t expect any glamour though, just proper British beer and a few choice bites.
10A Strathearn Place, W2 2NH
Salt Whisky Bar & Restaurant
Serving a great range of Indian food, this is arguably more of a restaurant than a bar. However, on the merit of the fact that it houses over 200 whiskies and has an exotic cocktail menu, we feel it’s worth a visit if you’re in need of a drink. Located right by Marble Arch tube station, we strongly recommend you drop by.
82 Seymour St, W2 2JB
Where to eat
Considered to be something of a jewel of Paddington’s locale, this Chinese restaurant not only looks luxurious, it serves food to match. Its inky interior and uplit cocktail bar set the mood from the moment you walk in. Allowing you to sink deep into the palatial surroundings while enjoying a plate of their famously juicy dim-sum.
8 Sheldon Square, Paddington Central, W2 6EZ
There are a number of great places to eat in Paddington Basin but this relative newcomer is one of our favourites. Perched lavishly on the side of the canal, the restaurant and bar serves Scandinavian fodder fit for a woodsman, with great choices for either lunch or dinner. Don’t miss out on their bottomless brunch. You’ll never want to leave.
Smith’s Bar & Grill
Another spot that’s equally well suited to drinks or dinner, Smith’s is ideally located just behind Paddington Station. With its tall glass windows, light just floods in, making it irresistibly inviting. And of course, once inside, the food doesn’t disappoint. A great mix of modern and traditional really defines this brasserie style restaurant.
5 Merchant Square, W2 1AS
What to do
One of London’s eight Royal Parks, Hyde Park is also one of the largest. Covering a staggering 350 acres of central London’s prime real estate; this lush, bucolic retreat is home to such famous attractions as Speaker’s Corner, the Serpentine Lake and the Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain. As well as seasonal events such as Winter Wonderland and the BST music festival. Truly a great place to shake off those big city blues.
If all you really fancy is a stroll along the river (and possibly a drink or bite to eat as well), then you’ll be over the moon to discover Little Venice tucked away from all the industrial clamour. A veritable west London treasure. Hidden on a corner snug of Regent’s canal, it offers a little slice of waterside perfection – and a number of terrific pubs and bistros.
We’d be remiss to talk about Paddington and not mention the shopping. Whiteleys is a shopping centre that has served the hungry hordes since 1911. Its stunning Edwardian structure almost looks too glam to be a mere shopping mall. But once you’re inside you’ll see that it comfortably houses an Odeon cinema, All Star Lanes Bowling as well as all your high street favourites.
Queensway, W2 4YN