Queen’s Gardens, a prestigious area in the heart of West London’s Paddington, is perhaps one of the loveliest places to stay in the city. Combining convenience with the classiness of this prestigious district, allowing you to get right to the centre of London within 20 minutes yet also boasting a sense of privacy and exclusivity, this is most definitely one of the best places to stay in England’s capital.
But if you’re going to be staying in Queen’s Gardens, you want to be absolutely certain that there is plenty in the surrounding area to keep you occupied. Fortunately, you have no problems here. West London is vibrant and exciting with plenty to do, from wandering London’s spectacular royal parklands to exploring cavernous shopping centres. Much of what’s on offer is within walking distance and, in the rare case that it isn’t, Queen’s Gardens is incredibly well-connected with no fewer than four (count ’em!) Tube stations nearby – Paddington, Bayswater, Queensway and Lancaster Gate. Having these nearby means that you’re never likely to be stuck for transport, and that’s not even counting the numerous bus services both day and night.
Below, you’ll find our unrivalled guide to everything entertaining near Queen’s Gardens.
Gorgeous green spaces
When it comes to exploring glorious open green spaces in the heart of London, you can’t do much better than the stellar Kensington Gardens. Located just a five-minute walk from Queen’s Gardens, this incredible area is one of the most glorious parks in the city – a veritable carpet of soft grass criss-crossed with intricate paths. This would be enough of a reason to visit, but it’s also home to the stunning Kensington Palace, a royal residence that is certainly worth a grand day out. Go from photographing the impeccably kept palace gardens to wandering, awestruck, through the beautiful interiors.
As if Kensington Gardens isn’t enough, you only have to walk east for a while before coming across the equally expansive and beautiful Hyde Park. Take a walk around the Serpentine before trying to identify some of the other local landmarks. The Princess Diana Memorial Park, the Flower Walk, the Prince Albert Memorial, Royal Albert Hall and statue dedications to everyone from Peter Pan to the pilots who fought so valiantly during the war. If you have children, draw up a list of potential sights before you go walking and see how many you can spot. Queen Caroline’s Temple, King William III, Elfin Oak, the bandstand, Queen Victoria and the Physical Energy Statue would make worthy additions to such a list.
In short, it’s easy to spend a morning or an afternoon in this wonderful part of London where nature seems to have taken over. Stunning stuff.
Shopping in West London is a classy, exciting affair that should involve as many big labels as it does intimate little boutiques. Your first stop should undoubtedly be Whiteley’s of Bayswater, just a short walk from Queen’s Gardens. The building itself is a glorious old shopping centre that brings to mind the glamour of the Victorian shopping experience – all high-class ladies in bustles taking an entire day to try out the latest fashions. Indeed, the original Whiteley’s of the 1800s had more than 6,000 people employed here, all sleeping onsite and having to obey 176 rules during their shifts – 7am to 11pm six days a week. It was an institution of pride.
See if you can emanate the experience and spend a good 12 hours exploring the centre. If the thought of spending that long on your feet without a break then don’t worry – you’ll find world-class restaurants and eateries throughout. This isn’t your usual shopping centre fare centred around getting a quick snack – Whiteley’s dining has always been a sit-down-and-enjoy experience. Urban Social, The Real China, Oddono’s, Goffre Waffle & Juice Bar and Chi Wok are just a handful of places you’ll want to check out when you start feeling peckish.
Stores worth checking out include Ernest Jones, Ninewest, Kurt Geiger, Zara, Karen Millen and many more. Whiteley’s stores are open from 10am until 8pm Monday to Saturday and from 12 noon until 6pm on Sundays. Times vary for restaurants and eateries, however, so be sure to check in advance if there’s one in particular you want to sample.
If you’re all about the shopping in London, you may also want to hop on the Tube and head up to Shepherd’s Bush, where you’ll find one of London’s largest indoor shopping spaces in the form of Westfield. Once again, you’ll be bedazzled by the amount of selection and variety on offer, with plenty of big-name brands supported by smaller boutiques. Those preferring a more alfresco shopping experience should head along to Portobello Market, which is renowned for its plethora of antiques shops that descend on the streets every Saturday. Its other booths are also fun to explore – you’ll find everything from vintage clothes and age-old electronics to innovative children’s toys and fresh fruit and veg. Marvellous stuff.
West London will play host to some extremely exciting events and festivals over the course of 2015, so if you’re going to be staying in Queen’s Gardens, it’s worth knowing what’s worth attending. The main venues nearby are Olympia and the aforementioned Kensington Palace, which is currently playing host to a fantastic fashion-based exhibition entitled Fashion Rules. It certainly does.
Other must-attend events include the Olympia Record Fair (Olympia Central), Perform (Olympia West), Tiny Explorers (Kensington Palace), The National Wedding Show (Olympia National) and the BBC Good Food Eat Well Show (Olympia Central).
It’s also worth checking event listings at Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens themselves as these extravagant green spaces are renowned for hosting all manner of festivities over the course of the year. Certainly a highlight is the British Summer Time music festival, held in Hyde Park at the height of summer. Kylie Minogue, The Who and Grace Jones are just a handful of the big names confirmed for 2015.
The vast majority of what we’ve described is within walking distance of Queen’s Gardens and the Park Grand London Paddington. However, one of the best aspects of staying in West London is that you can easily make it into central London where you’ll experience world-famous entertainment, cuisine and shopping. Be sure to take a wander up Regent Street and Carnaby Street, where huge shops stock the latest fashions and labels. Meander down Chinatown, where sweet fragrant scents of food waft through the streets. Head into Soho and experience a night out you’ll never forget. Or spend an evening in one of London’s theatre’s, scaring yourself to death with the Woman in Black, sobbing your heart out at War Horse or jumping for joy in Billy Elliot. It’s all only a short Tube ride away.