At the heart of Paddington lies the majestic station, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel in 1852. The magnificent arched terminus is an engineering triumph rivalled only by St Pancras for its elegance, finesse and charm. Traditionally one of Westminster’s least expensive areas, spiralling prices elsewhere have seen demand for properties in Paddington rocket.
The area is characterised by grand white stucco buildings set around quiet leafy squares.
A magnificent regeneration project is transforming the area formerly known as Paddington Basin into a treasure trove of premier business and residential developments with views across the picturesque Grand Union canal and waterfront. Meanwhile the area known as Connaught Village (Albion Street, Titchbourne Street, Kendal Street and Connaught Street) boasts a delicious range of boutiques, delis, art galleries and restaurants in a well-preserved Victorian setting – all just minutes away from the endless joys of Hyde Park and nearby gardens.
The birthplace of both princes (in St Mary’s hospital), the internationally connected Paddington holds a powerful draw for many big names – including, of course, Britain’s best loved bear, whose bronze plinth stands in the station. His creator, Michael Bond, still lives in Paddington. Other creative personalities who have been inspired here include Jimi Hendrix, JM Barrie and Ainsley Harriot.
Paddington boasts a great range of opportunities to shop, eat and play; from the serene setting of Connaught Village, to the bustling, cosmopolitan vibe of Queensway (home to a mouth-watering choice of Chinese and Arabian restaurants) and Whiteleys (home to London’s first ever department store). For a taste of culture, head to the Canal Café Theatre to catch London’s hottest new comedy talent, or take a stroll around the Subway Gallery to experience some real art on the underground. Not satisfied yet? Then the delights of the West End are mere moments away by bus, rail or cab.
Though there are nearly 100 schools in the Westminster area, only a few of these are within easy walking distance of Paddington. These include the attractive, well-established and highly popular Pembridge Hall School for girls aged 4 to 11; Norland Place School, a co-educational proprietary school for boys aged 4 to 8 and girls aged 4 to 11; and Southbank International School, a highly prestigious World School for 3 to 18 year olds that offers all three International Baccalaureate programmes.
The unbeatable combination of Paddington Station, offering the Circle, District and Bakerloo underground lines along with extensive national rail services and the Heathrow Express, and Lancaster Gate (Central) and Bayswater (Hammersmith and City) stations should be more than enough to suit all your transport needs.
Agatha Christie is a regular visitor to the area; one of her mysteries was based on the ‘4.50 From Paddington’.