Situated in the upmarket London district of Bayswater, Queens Gardens offers visitors to the city a diverse and exciting mixture of sophisticated shopping scene, classy places to eat, superb accommodation choices and plenty of access to the centre of London. For those staying in the city – whether for a weekend break or for a work meeting – it is certain to appeal, being far enough away from Piccadilly Circus to enjoy a quiet evening but still being close enough for those who make regular trips into town. Here is our guide for tourists who are staying near this fantastic area and want to make the most of it.
Parks near Queens Gardens
The very name ‘Queens Gardens’ suggests lovely verdant parkland, with acres of green space to bound around in, doesn’t it? In fact, it’s a pretty accurate name – for a start, Bayswater’s streets are broken up regularly by short stretches of green land to give the locals somewhere to go during a hot summer. Not only that, but just a five minute stroll away, you’ll find the incredible Kensington Gardens. Linked with Hyde Park to form a vast open space with plenty to see and do, you won’t get bored of wandering its extensive network of interlinking paths. Be sure to get a close look at the various London landmarks – Kensington Palace lies to the west and offers some amazing photo opportunities, as well as truly fascinating exhibitions that are palatable for children as well as adults. To the south, you’ll find the Royal Albert Hall, an enormous arena-like building that plays host to everything from classical music to rock concerts. You might expect
ticket prices to be through the beautiful domed roof, but the whole building was conceived as a people’s concert hall and this spirit has been enshrined in the pricing system. There are excellent deals particularly during London’s annual classical music festival the Proms, which goes on for months, entertains many and bores many more (honestly, it dominates the news, it really does). Other worthwhile landmarks in Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park include the Prince Albert Memorial, Speaker’s Corner, the Flower Walk, the Serpentine Gallery and, particularly if you have children, the Princess Diana Memorial Playground. Marvellous stuff.
Shopping near Queens Gardens
Shopping opportunities near Queens Gardens are, as one would expect from West London, extensive and upmarket. First on the list of Whiteleys, retail experts that once catered to the rich and famous. Occasionally, they still do. But the difference is that they’ll also cater to you. Start with a look around the shops – H&M, GAP, House of Fashion, Jigsaw, Joy, Karen Millen and Kurt Geiger are just a snapshot of what’s available. If you’ve got kids, take them along to Toys R Us to take a gander at the rows and rows of playthings on offer. Buy them something to play with to keep them interested during the spending spree, why don’t you? Then it’s time for ice cream (Oddono’s) or sushi (Yo Sushi) or even pizza (Pizza Express). There are also places where you can grab a cheeky coffee at Café Rouge. Where entertainment is concerned, you can spend the evening enjoying bowling at All Star Lanes before dinner at Chi Wok, or have a night out at one of the
classiest cinemas in London by popping into the Lounge to see the latest release. Whiteleys is most definitely an all-day occasion.
Places to eat near Queens Gardens
Once scorned, London’s culinary scene is now the envy of the world. And in West London in particular, you’ll find a glittering collection of amazing restaurants and eateries that will knock the socks off your tastebuds. Do tastebuds wear socks? Probably not, but the point still stands. Of course, you are best off scouring the streets yourself in search of the perfect restaurant with a menu that could have been written up with you in mind – the diversity is so fantastic here that such a restaurant almost certainly exists. However, if you’re in a hurry, we can provide a few suggestions. Because we’re nice like that.
Let’s start at Yashin Sushi, renowned for being the place where you can truly experience omakase (which means ‘to leave everything in the chef’s very capable hands). Although the exterior resembles more of a French brasserie than a top Japanese restaurant, the centrepiece sushi counter gives the game away as soon as you step through the door. If you think you know your sushi, think again before pouring a generous helping of soy sauce – the chefs in here are somewhat experimental and (politely) ask that you refrain from dunking so that you can enjoy the miasma of flavours given to each beautifully crafted piece. It’s also worth trying the Watarigani – this deep-fried soft shell blue crab is served with sweet soy sauce in such a way that the smooth and silky flavours practically dance across your tongue.
Scott’s, located in Mayfair, has long been touted as the place to go if you want a really nice piece of fish. For over 150 years, it has built up this reputation, although it also attracted publicity when playing host to a certain well-publicised dinner between Charles Saatchi and Nigella Lawson. That aside, diners will enjoy the club-like seating area where they can get stuck into veritable miracles loaded onto plates, including tender halibut fillet, a meaty seared sea bass and delicious scampi provençale. But the centrepiece has to be the grand oyster bar where you’ll find ample opportunity to sip flutes of Gaston Chiquet and feast on fines de claires by the dozen. See if you recognise any celebs – Scott’s is a hotspot for them. You might spy Saatchi staring gloomily into a glass of Champagne, wondering where it all went wrong.
Our final suggestion Clarke’s is just down the road from Notting Hill Gate. Artful yet unfussy, this is all about preparing great food that you’d want to eat all the time. The decor is smart yet pretty, without making you wonder if you’re about to be thrown out for using the wrong fork. Meanwhile, the food itself is utterly delectable and comes in generous portions – the Angus sirloin, horseradish sauce and hand-cut chips is particularly divine. Then there is the dessert, which includes a tongue-tempting summer fruit jelly with cream and light sponge fingers to die for. It’s also worth trying the salad of peas, baby broad beans, spinach and grilled courgette for a starter – it looks like spring on a plate.
Cinema near Queen’s Garden
Indulging in the traditional London pastime of sitting in a dark room, watching a film and using it as an excuse to talk to ABSOLUTELY NO ONE is alive and well and living in Whiteleys of Bayswater. Heading out for a film at The Lounge venue is a different experience to your average cinema visit. Odeon, who run it, have made an effort to remove all the rubbish parts of the deal (naff snacks and people getting in the way) and transformed it into a restaurant-inspired night out. It’s at Whiteleys of Bayswater and you’re going to love it.