The historic district of Bayswater is nestled in the busy City of Westminster in the heart of London and can count among its many attractions the impressive green spaces that come together in Hyde Park.
Not just a perfect place to stay for lovers of nature, the area also caters extremely well for those keen to find out more about the rich history of London and to sample the many delights of a modern, cosmopolitan capital city.
A brief history of Bayswater
A largely residential area that was first recorded in around 1380, the district of Bayswater gained its moniker from a corruption of the name Bayard’s Watering Place.
Originally a less than salubrious part of London, the area was derided by more wealthy Londoners as being “the wrong side of Hyde Park”, but the area did gain increased respectability at the turn of the 19th century with the removal of the infamous Tyburn Gallows and the creation of several grand squares.
The area also benefited from considerable investment after the arrival of the Great Western Railway in neighbouring Paddington in 1838, with several major developments taking place as more and more visitors flooded into the area in the following years.
Today, Bayswater can be counted as one of the most cosmopolitan areas of the whole of the capital, with a significant influx of Arab, American, Jewish and Brazilian immigrants around the turn of the 20th century.
With such a melting pot of cultures created as a result, the district has now become a fantastic destination for travellers to explore. The multi-ethnic nature of Bayswater means the local area is always vibrant and lively, with something different happening around every corner.
Bayswater attractions for visitors to enjoy
Bayswater is full of great things to do that travellers to the area will want to experience, with a mix of outdoor, indoor, historic and contemporary attractions available.
Hyde Park runs adjacent to the southern edge of Bayswater and is perhaps one of the biggest draws for visitors to the area every year. With a number of unique attractions, including the Serpentine Lake, Speakers’Â€Â™ Corner and the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain, the park spans 350 acres and can be a perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the busy London streets.
Visitors to Bayswater with a penchant for retail might also like to head to the esteemed Whiteley’s Shopping Centre, which can be found on Queensway and resides in a breathtaking grade II-listed building.
Guests will be treated to a wealth of retail options when visiting the centre, which can count itself among the oldest department stores in the whole of the UK. Today, retailers operating at the facility include Gap, H&M, Haute Couture, Karen Millen, Marks & Spencer, The Body Shop, Vivid Health, and Zara, plus many more.
Stores are open Mondays to Saturdays from 10am until 10pm (12pm until 6pm on Sundays) and guests can also enjoy a number of breaks from shopping during their visit, with ten-pin bowling, an on-site cinema and plenty of cafes to keep everyone entertained during their stay.
Bayswater also offers such delights as St Sophia’s Cathedral – a Greek Orthodox Church in the heart of the district that prides itself upon its rich history and the stunning architecture of John Oldrid Scott. In addition, travellers staying in the Grand Royale London Hyde Park hotel will find it is only about short time
The building was consecrated as the Church of the Holy Wisdom (Sophia) of God (St Sophia in the vernacular) by the Archbishop of Corfu in 1882. It was the third structure to bear such a name in the capital, with the Greek Orthodox community having outgrown previous premises at Finsbury Park and London Wall.
Visitors today can expect to be blown away by the vibrant colours, painstakingly-crafted frescos, murals, mosaics and glorious polychromatic marbles that adorn the many surfaces of the interior of the building. And while the outside may be somewhat unassuming, the cathedral is truly a delight for the senses when visitors venture inside.
Guests can also learn about the rich heritage of the building – including the fact it served as the seat of the Greek government in exile during World War II and was bombed (and subsequently rebuilt) during the Blitz – at the St Sophia’s Cathedral museum, which was opened in 2006.
Meanwhile, lovers of classical architecture should also head to the famed The Mitre – a Grade II-listed public house at 24 Craven Terrace that was built during the 19th century.
Elsewhere, Marble Arch is perhaps one of the most iconic attractions in the whole of the city and draws thousands of people to the entrance of Hyde Park every year.
This beautiful addition to the area was designed by architect John Nash in 1827 and was originally the state entrance to the cour d’honneur to nearby Buckingham Palace. However, in 1851 it was relocated to its present position at the junction of Oxford Street, Park Lane and Edgware Road.
The arch takes its inspiration from the Arch of Constantine in Rome and the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel in Paris. It is faced with exquisite Carrara marble and is a wonderful sight to behold for visitors to the Bayswater area.
It is not just these impressive sights that make this part of London a great place to visit though, as eating out is also something that visitors to the area will be well catered for. Some fantastic restaurants are to be found in Bayswater, including the cosy Greek taverna of Halepi at Leinster Terrace, the Gold Mine Chinese restaurant on Queensway, the Lebanese-inspired Assaha on Craven Road, and many more besides.
Travel options for visitors to Bayswater
Individuals planning a break in Bayswater can make use of extensive local travel options to help them reach their accommodation on arrival, as well as providing excellent links to the rest of the capital and beyond.
The London Underground offers a number of stops in the Bayswater area, with Bayswater (Circle, District and Hammersmith & City lines), Queensway (Central line) and Lancaster Gate (Central line) the most immediate to the area.
Other nearby stations for visitors to the borough can be found at Notting Hill Gate (Central, Circle, District and Hammersmith & City lines), Paddington (Bakerloo, Circle, District and Hammersmith & City lines) and Paddington-Underground (Circle and Hammersmith & City lines).
Full details of station opening times, line maintenance works and hours of operation can be found by visiting the Transport for London website.
Meanwhile, individuals hoping to travel using overground rail can do so via London Paddington Railway Station. One of the oldest stations in the whole of London, Paddington is today also one of the busiest, welcoming almost 50 million travellers every year to the local area.
Finally, for anyone hoping to make use of local bus services, travellers can also find full details on the Transport for London website, with services running throughout both the day and night.