Just a few steps north of Hyde Park, slightly to the west of Paddington, to the west of Notting Hill and a short hop on the tube away from the hub of the West End that’s the Oxford Circus, Shaftesbury Avenue and Piccadilly Circus area, the small Lancaster Gate district is a perfect part of London Town to make your base should you be looking to take a short-break in the capital – and right at the centre of things, at that.
And, that’s because not only are there a plethora of high-quality hotels near Lancaster Gate, but also any number of diverse and terrific attractions and venues to visit – even if some are lesser known; arguably then rare gems that too many visitors to the capital don’t take the time to discover…
(W2 1JS/ 10 minutes from Lancaster Gate)
A modern development at the heart of Paddington’s waterways, Merchant Square is home to shops, restaurants and businesses as well as two beautiful lifting bridges and London’s first Floating Pocket Park, ensuring it’s one of the leading attractions near Lancaster Gate. Thomas Heatherwick’s Rolling Bridge has become a tourist attraction in its own right and the cantilevered Fan Bridge, designed by Knight Architects, only adds to the attractions of this corner of west London. The three-metre-wide moving structure spanning 20 metres across the head of Paddington Basin uses an action similar to that of a traditional Japanese fan. Both bridges open at midday every Wednesday and Friday and at 2pm on Saturdays.
Jason’s Canal Boat Trips
(Jason’s Wharf, (opposite) 60 Blomfield Road W9 2PD / 14 minutes from Lancaster Gate)
Jason’s Trip takes passengers on a boat ride along the Regent’s Canal, starting from Little Venice and heading all the way across North West London to the heart of Camden. The 45-minute journey takes place in a 100-year-old canal boat, ‘Jason’, with the route offering views of the beautiful townhouses of the North West, flashes of the capital’s industrial heritage, the interesting hippy houseboat community in Little Venice and the thrills of Camden Market. Jason is moored in the pool at Little Venice where the boat trip begins and the drop-off point in Camden is on the towpath outside Caffe Crema.
St James’s Church Sussex Gardens
(Sussex Gardens W2 3UD/ 2 minutes from Lancaster Gate)
A grand, Victorian church, St James’s is the parish church of Paddington. During its long history is has been frequented by some famous people including Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts Association and of the Girl Guides. In May 18884 Constance Lloyd married Oscar Wilde here and throughout the 1970s actors from Dad’s Army met in the church hall to rehearse before going to the BBC to film. The story of St James’s Church can be traced back to the 13th Century and continues to this day with weddings, weekly mass and concerts regularly held here. Beyond all this, it makes it on to our list of places to visit near Lancaster Gate for its relaxing gardens; perfect for a lunchbreak or picnic.
Rob and Nick Carter
(5A Bathurst Street W2 2SD / 1 minute from Lancaster Gate)
Rob and Nicky Carter, the husband and wife artistic duo behind this art gallery in Connaught Village, have been working together as contemporary artists for the last 20 years in London. Their artwork is centred on the possibilities of light, colour and form and has taken many mediums including camera-less photography, painting, installation, neon and sculpture. The Carters’ work is housed in the collections of the Mauritshuis, The Frans Hals Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum and they have installed a beautiful Bronze Oak Grove installation in Kensington Gardens. Their works are in the private collections of Kevin Spacey, Elton John and Sir Peter Blake and it’s available to buy from this central London studio.