London’s Bayswater is teeming with life. That’s why there’s always something for everyone.
Whether young or old, Bayswater is an area which promises all ages a great day out. It’s hard to find a locality in the city which ticks all the boxes. With areas in the city showing families great tourist attractions or adults a great night out, it’s often difficult to find something to cater for all ages. That’s one of the great things about Bayswater; with such a long spanning history and deeply ingrained culture, the area brings the best of stunning architecture, scenic walks and top attractions. Whatever your tastes, there is always something to keep you occupied in Bayswater, whether that be clubbing, dining or ambling. Below you can find everything you’ll need to know about Bayswater and its hidden gems.
History of Bayswater
Based within Westminster and Kensington, Bayswater borders the beautiful Kensingotn Gardens just off Hyde Park. It is here where you’ll find one of the most diverse and bustling areas of the city, a hotspot for expats from the Middle East, Greece and France. On top of this it holds one of the largest Greek Orthodox communities in the country, with a large church famous for its grandeur. On top of this, there is a large Brazilian community and therefore a range of cultures before we even get started on the unique West London vibe which emanates from this magical city locale. With little Venice pockmarking the landscape with canal-side cafes and a range of traditional British pubs, the area is like no other. Built on land once owned by the Abbey of Westminster, Bayswater is also known historically for being home to clear water springs and hence the build-up of population in the area, Bayswater gaining its name from the healthy drinking water in the area as well as one of the first abbots residing there, Bainiardus. Since then, the population has grown, and as an influx of expats from other countries came to the UK the area began to grow both in population and economically.
Why you should stay in Bayswater
So what is it about Bayswater that attracts people more than let’s say, Hackney? Is it the great transport links, the comfy accommodation or the beautiful surroundings? The fact of the matter is that it’s a combination of all of the above and then some.
If you’re staying in Bayswater for even a short period of time then you may have noticed the buzzing nightlife and glittering lights which overcome this area of the city on weekends. Thousands flock to hotels near Bayswater to get a whiff of the action. Whether it’s amazing live performance, lively British pubs or the hot spot nightclubs of West London, you can’t go wrong by staying in Bayswater. What’s more, with the great transport links you’ll be home in no time if you have to have an early one! Whatever you’re preference for night time living, Bayswater will have everything you need, plus a relaxing space where you can rest your head afterwards.
There’s a good reason why Bayswater costs so much money to live in, it’s due to the incredible architecture and sheltered neighbourhoods. With so many families now living in the area, it’s easy to see why house prices have raised so much. Not only are there expensive stucco terraced streets, but great affordable accommodation in the guise of apartment blocks and council housing, keeping this area well balanced in regards to locale. Nobody wants a stuffy rich neighbourhood with no character, and nobody wants a place which is rundown. You can really feel the community spirit, with many markets, events and artistic endeavours incorporating all walks of life in a safe environment.
If you’re looking for an amalgamation of both lakes, rivers and ponds then look no further than the all-encompassing natural beauty of Bayswater. With Kensington Gardens to one side and Little Venice to the other, Bayswater is the perfect place for a sunny stroll. Whether you want to take a boat on the Serpentine Lake or be rowed up the canals of Little Venice, there is more than enough in terms of rivers and green space to keep you entertained. If you’re with kids then take them to one of the many great playgrounds in the area or if alone, a relaxing stroll is exactly what the mind needs after the hustle and bustle of the city. If you fancy a swim, Hyde Park’s Serpentine Lake is perfect due to its brisk natural water swimming lido.
If you’re looking to stay in London, then Bayswater accommodation is like no other in the city. With hotels to suit everybody’s style, the service is great and the continental breakfasts are to die for in the morning. Hotels such as the luxurious Park Grand Paddington offer up luxurious accommodation whilst also promising comfy beds and amazing views of the beautiful area of West London. On top of this, you can also find a wide range of air bnb’s across the city and the area as well as youth hostels for the younger travellers. These may not be as luxurious as accommodation such as the Park Grand Paddington but will be perfect for younger guests and people who are rarely going to be in their hotels.
Things to do in Bayswater
So what are the top picks of things to do in Bayswater? With so much going on it’s hard to narrow down, in part because of how ideally central Bayswater is. Being slap bang in the middle of the city means that you’ll get far more bang for your buck when it comes to attractions. Below are some of our favourite spots in the Bayswater area.
Paddington Station is one of the largest train terminals in London with a history dating back to 1854. With links to many parts of the country, Paddington acts as the main line to the West of England, giving guests in Paddington an easy way to explore areas such as Cornwall and Wales. On top of this, Paddington station is home to the Heathrow Express line, giving visitors to the city a direct link to the large airport in less than half an hour. Mostly designed by the famous architect Isambard Brunel, the station also serves several Underground lines including the Bakerloo, Circle, district and Hammersmith and City.
Paddington Station also gives its name to the famous Paddington Bear, currently in its second instalment at international cinemas. This has led to many shops around the Paddington Station area selling Paddington Bear memorabilia as well as a statue of the bear in the station itself.
Hyde Park is one of Bayswater’s great open spaces. With grounds which cover over 300 acres, you can find countless varieties of plants, trees and fauna making this huge park a botanists dream. What’s more, Hyde Park offer sup a wide range of water birds, swimming areas, sailing boats and cultural events, all dotted around the park. Marvel at the magnificence of monuments such as the Queen Victoria statue, the Peter Pan statue and the stately Speke monument, all of which blend art with history. That’s one of the beautiful things about Hyde Park; you not only have a wide range historical features but artistic marvels as well.
On the subject of artistic marvels, the Serpentine Gallery is based within Hyde Park and is one of the best galleries hosting contemporary art in the city. The gallery is made up of two exhibition spaces and has hosted the likes of Grayson Perry among others in some of the most high profile art exhibitions seen in the city.
If you’re looking for some rest and relaxation whilst the kids tire themselves out then sit back with a coffee whilst the kids play in the Diana memorial playground, a playground inspired by Peter Pan and built in memory of the late Princess. This not the only place where the kids can be entertained; Hyde Park is also home to the best lake in the city, complete with water birds and pedalos to glide with ease amongst the Swans. The Serpentine Lake is what separates Kensington Gardens from Hyde Park and is home to many forms of wildlife alongside its own freshwater lido!
If you’re lucky, you’ll hit Hyde Park at peak festival time, whether that is winter or summer season. The winter season sees Winter Wonderland grace the park, a ticketed event which runs until the end of December and includes winter food stalls, whole bars made of ice and even an ice rink complete with Cinderella performances. In the summer, the park plays host to a range of music festivals including British Summertime which hosts many of the best pop acts in the world over a riveting week in July. For the more classically inclined, Proms in the Park incorporates the BBC proms into a picnic setting, showcasing some of the best and brightest in the orchestral and classical world.
Kensington Gardens is located right next to Hyde Park and was created for Caroline of Brunswick in the 1880’s. The queen was given her own leisure park, complete with sunken gardens designed in the Dutch style. This garden incorporates flower arrangements, water features and sculpture into a plot of land which exemplifies the high fashion of garden design at the time. Not only does the garden exude style, but the grand Kensington Manor house set within the garden walls, which is set within vast and beautiful fields. Taking a trip from the hustle and bustle of Hyde Park and entering into the serene Kensington Gardens can feel like stepping into another world entirely. And thus is the beauty of London, one moment you are in a noisy street and then you round a corner to a beautiful hidden gem right in the centre of the city.
Queensway Cosmopolitan Street
Based in the Queensway area of Bayswater, Cosmopolitan Street is the bright and colourful centre of the Queensway shopping area. Incorporating beautiful independent shops, high class world renowned cuisine and great pubs, you can be sure to find epitome of diversity in the Bayswater area. Whether you’re looking for the highest concentration of Chinese restaurants outside of Soho or just a great place to grab a drink, Queensway’s Cosmopolitan Street is definitely the place to start.
Whiteleys Shopping Centre
One of the main shopping centres of the city, Whiteleys acts as a bastion of consumer heaven, the shopping centre opening in 1989and still running strong to this day. The origins of Whiteley’s lies in the department store opened by William Whiteley in 1863 which begun as a drapery before growing into the department store it is today. With a wide range of shops and down to earth eateries, the area is a proud pillar of both the Notting Hill community and the Queensway community.
Greek Orthodox Cathedral of St Sophia
This Greek Orthodox Church has its roots in a consecration ceremony in 1882 and is a place of meeting for the local Greek community which has grown over the past few decades. The fact that the church has its own polyphonic choir and Byzantine music sessions just goes to show how deeply ingrained the community are into the Bayswater community. What’s more, the church even runs its own school where pupils learn about Greek dancing, history and language. For anybody wanting to get a taste of the Greek life in London, then the Orthodox cathedral is a great place to start before perusing the Greek eateries of the area.
Bayswater Open air artist exhibition
For those looking to find the next big artist, look no further than this weekly open air exhibit in Bayswater. Here local artists gather to sell and promote their work by the canal. With a great range of mediums including jewellery, painting and textiles, you’ll find a wide variety of pieces, proving that there really is something for everyone.