London is home to some of the most fantastic sights and attractions to be found anywhere in the world and visitors can be assured there will always be something new and exciting to experience whenever they plan a trip to this vibrant city.
Indeed, guests of this fair city can expect to be enthralled and entertained around every corner and for lovers of contemporary public art, there’s one attraction that will truly take their breath away.
The bridges of Paddington Basin
A stunning sight to behold at this popular London landmark is the shifting, mobile sculptures of the bridges at Paddington Basin.
Located in the Paddington area of the City of Westminster in the heart of the English capital, Paddington Basin marks the end of one of the UK’s most important waterways, the Grand Union Canal. As such, it is a hive of activity on most days, but perhaps even more so when the bridges of Paddington Basin spring into action.
Unveiled in 2004, the Rolling Bridge was conceived by British designer Thomas Heatherwick and was designed by SKM Anthony Hunt with Packman Lucas. It unfurls to span the canal at specific times of day to provide a crossing for pedestrians, making this both a functional and interesting piece of public sculpture.
Meanwhile, added to the basin in 2014 was the Merchant Square Footbridge (Also known as the Fan Bridge), which was again designed by Heatherwick, but this time constructed by Knight Architects. Its segments move at varying angles to unfold into the design reminiscent of a Japanese fan.
Both bridges jump into life at 12 pm sharp on Wednesdays and Fridays, and again at 2 pm on the dot on Saturday afternoons. They truly are a sight to behold and a perfect addition to what is itself already a really beautiful area of the English capital.
How to reach Paddington Basin
For all those wishing to sample the beauty of Paddington Basin, one of the best and most efficient ways of travelling around the English capital is to make use of the extensive London Underground network, with a number of nearby Tube stations to be found close by:
- Edgware Road (Bakerloo, Circle, District and Hammersmith & City lines)
- Paddington (Bakerloo, Circle, District and Hammersmith & City lines)
- Warwick Avenue (Bakerloo line)
- Lancaster Gate (Central line)
- Royal Oak (Circle and Hammersmith & City lines)
Meanwhile, National Rail services can be reached for visitors to the area via the nearby stations of Paddington and Marylebone, while bus services operate around the clock as well.
Details of all public transport services can be found by heading to the official website of Transport for London, including service timetables, station opening times and much more.
Drivers planning to travel by car to the area are also well-served when it comes to nearby secure parking facilities, with options including:
- Paddington Station Public Car Park (0.4 miles, nine minutes’ travel time on foot)
- CitiPark Bell Street Station (0.3 miles, six minutes)
- NCP Car Park London Arthur Court (0.8 miles, 17 minutes)
- NCP Car Park London Edgware Road (0.4 miles, nine minutes)
- Q-Park Queensway (1.1 miles, 22 minutes)
However, anyone planning to travel by car is reminded that traffic can be dense throughout the day and into the evening on the busy streets of central London. It is therefore advisable to avoid taking to the roads during the morning and evening rush hours.
Other nearby attractions
It is not just the bridges of Paddington Basin that capture the intrigue and imagination of visitors to this vibrant area of London though, as there are many other great sights to see and exciting experiences to be found in the local area, such as:
- Little Venice (0.6 miles, nine minutes’ travel time on foot/via public transport)
- The Sherlock Holmes Museum (0.9 miles, ten minutes)
- Madame Tussauds London (0.9 miles, ten minutes)
- Lord’s Cricket Ground (1.4 miles, 16 minutes)
- Abbey Road Studios (1.2 miles, 17 minutes)
- Norfolk Square Gardens (0.4 miles, nine minutes)
- The Regent’s Park (one mile, 13 minutes)
- ZSL London Zoo (1.9 miles, 28 minutes)
- Selfridges London Oxford Street (1.1 miles, 17 minutes)
- Hyde Park (0.7 miles, 15 minutes)
- Kensington Gardens (0.8 miles, 16 minutes)
- Kensington Palace (1.4 miles, 21 minutes)
Take a trip on the Grand Union Canal
Finally, stretching from Paddington Basin for an impressive 137 miles to Warwick Bar in the UK’s second city Birmingham is the Grand Union Canal.
Visitors keen to explore the beautiful and vibrant waterways of England can do just that by hiring a canal barge and heading off from Paddington Basin, with the canal wending its way through 166 locks and some of the most pristine and impressive British countryside on its way from London to the Midlands.
A calm and relaxing exploration of the nation’s canals network can be a perfect way to unwind during a visit to London, with the Grand Union Canal making its way through several other major conurbations on its way to Birmingham, including Leicester, Slough, Aylesbury, Wendover and Northampton.