London’s Paddington-Maida Vale District in northwest central London is part of the glossy “W2” part of the city. The area was once a favorite hunting park for King Henry VIII. Of course, travelers and residents still enjoy shopping and hunting for life’s finest things in the greater Hyde Park area of which Paddington is part. More than three hundred fifty acres of Hyde Park, the enormous Paddington Station (a giant-sized terminus for trains such as the Heathrow Express of Paddington Bear fame), and Bayswater are all part of this iconic and beautiful area.
The Serpentine Lake divides the traditional Hyde Park area and the Kensington Gardens. Londoners still enjoy picnics in the meadows and take leisurely boat rides through the park. It’s also an important venue for rock concerts: every summer in June, some of the world’s most famed groups participate in Hard Rock Calling. BBC Proms is another concert series that’s very popular with residents here. (Abbey Road Studios, made famous by The Beatles, is also here. Unfortunately, the studios don’t give tours, but millions of people still flock for photo opportunities outside!
There’s a lot to do in the Paddington-Maida Vale District and greater Hyde Park area. Here are five of our favorite places and pastimes:
- Guided walks (completely free!) are the best way to learn about gorgeous Hyde Park as and the plentiful plant and animal life there. Since the park changes dramatically with the seasons, those interested in the amazing array of flora and fauna walk the park in spring, summer, autumn and winter.
- Sports events are plentiful and often free to attendees here. Triathlons and open water swimming events attract thousands of participants in warm weather. Sports Field is used for field sports, soccer, cricket (e.g. Lord’s Cricket Ground), inline skating and softball. Since there are literally miles of well-tended paths here, cyclists and runners are also present in large numbers. The Serpentine Lido is also open to swimmers in the summer. Rowboats and pedaling boats are available for rent. The Tennis & Sports Centre also offers a putting course, bowling green and tennis courts (by reservation).
- Families with children are also frequent visitors. There are three playgrounds in Hyde Park and guided activities for the younger set, such as learning about England’s song birds.
- It’s also possible to take in the beauty of Hyde Park by simply relaxing there. Many visitors sit to read or listen to music beneath one of the park’s four thousand trees or at the water. Others join friends for a glass of wine or a cup of tea as interesting people stroll by.
- Most of London’s famous places, including Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, and Royal Albert Hall are close by.
For many reasons, travelers enjoy making this part of London their temporary home base. Much of the Paddington-Maida Vale District is still residential. Fine hotels, like the Shaftesbury premier London Paddington Hotel, are the perfect choice here.
London black cabs or convenient tube lines make getting around London from Paddington-Maida Vale District fast and inexpensive: Bayswater (Circle Line, District Line) (Zone 1); Edgware Road (Bak) (Bakerloo Line) (Zone 1); Lancaster Gate (Central Line) (Zone 1); Paddington (Bakerloo Line, Circle Line, District Line, Hammersmith & City Line, National Rail) (Zone 1); Queensway (Central Line) (Zone 1); Royal Oak (Hammersmith & City Line) (Zone 2).