Bayswater is one of the best-placed locations in central London, situated at the heart of the city close to Hyde Park and Buckingham Palace – two of London’s most famous landmarks.
It is also one of the best-equipped areas too, with almost everything within walking distance.
Here, we’re covering all the most relevant amenities in the Bayswater area.
Whiteleys Shopping Centre
Address: Queensway, W2 4YN
Harrods is widely regarded to be London’s number one department store, but many are unaware that Whiteleys was set up first.
Since its origins as a drapery shop in 1863, it has grown into a vast and varied shopping complex with some of Britain’s biggest high street names present, such as Marks & Spencer, HMV and Starbucks. It also boasts a lavish food hall, an eight-screen cinema and a bowling alley.
Whiteley’s is housed in a Grade II-listed building and many of its original features are still here, including the sweeping La Scala staircase and the charming tiered atrium, windows and marble floor.
Bayswater Road Art Market
Every Sunday, more than 150 artists and craftsmen set up on Bayswater Road to display their works in what has been dubbed ‘the world’s liveliest open-air art show’.
Also known as Bayswater Road Artists, the stretch showcases the finest sidewalk art along the north side of Kensington Gardens, with oil paintings, acrylics, watercolours, drawings and pastels all included.
In fact, you’ll find pretty much any picture in every medium, size and subject here, from contemporary abstracts and traditional landscapes to the tiniest miniature flower paintings.
All artwork on display is for sale too, so you’ve got the chance to snag a genuine piece of art that doubles up as a unique souvenir of your time in London. Don’t worry if you live outside of the UK, as sellers are experienced in packing and shipping, so your purchase can be safely packaged and sent to your home address.
Even if art isn’t your thing or you don’t spot any works you fancy, the art market is buzzing with life and worth a visit for the spectacle itself.
Address: 10 Porchester Place, Connaught Village, W2 2BS
Located close to the Marble Arch tube station, The Dresser is a gem of a second-hand boutique, and one of London’s leading designer clothes agencies, specialising in the buying and selling of high-end, contemporary and couture second-hand designer women’s and menswear on consignment.
Amongst the racks, you’ll find nearly new and vintage designer labels including Chanel, Dior, Valentino, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada, Fendi and Versace – the list goes on. As you’d expect, the finest garments are snapped up quickly, so if you’re in London for a few days, it might be worth bookending your trip with visits to The Dresser.
Don’t assume it only caters for women either, as the shop has a dedicated menswear department too, stocking names such as YSL, Gucci, Prada, Burberry, Lora Piano and more.
If you can’t make it down to the physical shop, certain items appear on The Dresser’s online store too.
The Italian Garden in Kensington Gardens
For anyone staying in hotels in Bayswater, Hyde Park is difficult to ignore, and seamlessly tacked on to the west perimeter of this 350-acre open space is Kensington Gardens, home to the gorgeous Italian Gardens.
This 150-year old ornamental water garden is made up of four main basins with central rosettes, carved in Carrara marble. These are surrounded by intricately carved stone statues and urns. The urns have five main designs – the swan’s breast, woman’s head, ram’s head, dolphin and oval.
The gardens have appeared on the silver screen over the years too, popping up in the second Bridget Jones movie and 2004’s Wimbledon.
The Idler Academy
Founded in 2010 as an educational offshoot of The Idler magazine, the Idler Academy offers online and real-world courses in the classical liberal arts and practical skills.
It specialises in teaching philosophy, astronomy, calligraphy, music, business skills, English grammar, ukulele, public speaking, singing, drawing, self-defence and other subjects. Current online courses cover poem and songwriting, Latin and the history of London.
Although The Idler is based in Bayswater, it hosts events and dinners all around the capital.
Address: 45 Porchester Road, W2 5DU
Paddington’s main library is large and well-frequented by the Bayswater community and surrounding locals keen to take advantage of the wide range of books, newspapers and other media.
There’s the usual library features like the option of booking a PC and using the fax machine or photocopier, as well as a sizable study area.
Paddington Library is open every day of the week, but only UK residents are able to become members and take materials home.
Queen’s Ice and Bowl
Address: 17 Queensway, Bayswater, W2 4QP
With 12 competition-standard bowling lanes, Queen’s Ice and Bowl in Bayswater claims to be ‘the great granddaddy of bowling’ in central London. It certainly looks the part with 1960s US styling, neon lights and vintage poster art.
As the name suggests, it’s not all about bowling though; you can also slip on a pair of skate and do several laps of a 9,000 sq ft ice rink – the only skating rink in central London open all year round. Even if you’re hopeless on the ice, there are tuition sessions every Wednesday and Thursday.
The fun doesn’t end there either. Queen’s Ice and Bowl also has a classic arcade with some of the best games from way back when. Just some of the titles include Street Fighter II, Galaxian, Mega Man, Tetris, Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, Ms Pac-Man and Super Bomberman. Like any decent arcade, there’s also air hockey, table football and table tennis.