Looking for things to do in Paddington, London? From riverside dining to a very well-known cheeky bear, here’s the best things to get up to in the area — from a Londoner.
Paddington is more than just a backdrop for an adorable bear, but the real-life location of one of West London’s best neighbourhoods.
Between its riverside charm buzzing with restaurants and cafes, walking distance to London’s most royal parks and an endless supply of day trips from Paddington Station — a day in Paddington is a day well-spent.
In this post, I’ll be sharing:
- a quick history of Paddington
- how to get to Paddington
- the best things to do in Paddington
- where you can travel to from Paddington
Let’s get into it!
The Best Things to Do in Paddington, London
A Quick History on Paddington
Before you explore any London neighbourhood, it’s always good to know the history, especially when it comes to Paddington.
Paddington has always been a busy hub, known for its grand houses, square and Paddington Station — but it didn’t become a part of the city of Westminster until 1965.
On one fateful night on Christmas Eve, Michael Bond became intrigued by a lonely looking Teddington Bear in a Paddington shop.
He took the bear home to his wife, and the inspiration struck to write one of the most iconic stories of our time — Paddington Bear.
Whether you’re a fan of the neighbourhood’s furry friend or not (but you totally should be) you’ll find there’s always something exciting to get up to in the famed area.
The Best Things to Do in and Near Paddington, London
1. Walk Along Paddington Basin and Merchant Square
Paddington Basin is where you go to walk, relax and watch London life go by — and Merchant Square is the centre of it all.
The choice is yours here, from having a picnic lunch to taking some chill time at the Floating Pocket Park London’s only floating park at Merchant Square (or join in on a volleyball game or two).
The area is also the perfect location for street food dining and al fresco dining. Here’s a few options to choose from:
☕️ Bar Torelli:
Great for grabbing a quick coffee and hanging out at the Floating Park on Merchant Square or walking down Paddington Basin
🥑 Hola Guacamole:
Delicious Mexican street food with super fresh ingredients
A canalside pub with a great craft brew selection, cocktails and award-winning wines
🍗 Butter Clucker:
American-style fried chicken (with a twist)
🧆 Simply Falafel:
Handmade Lebanese style Falafels and fresh salads
🍛 Katsu King:
Katsu-style street food (from Katsu Burritos to Katsu boxes) with tons of yummy pickles and garnishes
🍚 Rice Guys:
The best of Asian comfort food — all made fresh
🍔 Tucka Burger:
Juicy American and Aussie-inspired burgers
🥐 Gail’s Bakery:
Artisan coffee, bread, pastries, cakes — the works!
2. GoBoat Paddington
If you’re looking for fun things to do in Paddington — don’t leave without trying GoBoat Paddington.
The self-driving boats are a wonderful way to give yourself a self-guided tour of Paddington, Little Venice and Regent’s Canal.
You can bring your own food and drinks (but no alcohol) and fit up to 8 people on board for a 1,2 or 3-hour journey.
You don’t need to have any prior boating experience by the way, so come as you are!
3. Go Stand Up Paddleboarding
There’s not a more unique way to see London than on a paddleboard, especially when you’re in Paddington.
Head to the basin and rent a board for the day to glide through the junction of Regents Canal and the Grand Union Canal, all while taking in delicious Paddington views.
I suggest going with Active 360 for the full experience, but if you’re a woman in London, you may also want to try Gutsy Girls.
Read More: SUP: Your Ultimate Guide to Stand Up Paddleboarding in London
4. Have a Beautiful Brunch at Darcie & May Green
If you’re looking for brunch in Paddington, it doesn’t get any better than Darcie & May.
The Aussie-inspired breakfast spot is one of the most Instagrammable places in Paddington, featuring a colourful barge on the canal with an incredibly yummy breakfast to match (award-winning Banana Bread anyone?).
Read More: Where to Brunch in Paddington: 10 Best Breakfast Spots
5. And Seafood at London Shell Co.
For just about the best seafood you’ll have in West London (scratch that, London) make sure you go to London Shell Co.
The floating restaurants — The Prince Regent cruises and The Grand Duchess, sit pretty on Regents Canal.
Offerings include all the seafood goodness you can imagine, but the menu changes daily so you’ll just have to see what the catch of the day is for yourself!
6. And Drinks at Pergola Paddington
For a fun thing to do in Paddington, make your way to the Pergola Paddington.
The West London hangout spot is known for serving a good time, with airy interiors and tons of street vendors to choose from.
Once you’ve got your food and drink, you can sit back and enjoy the Paddington atmosphere (and a pint or two) along with their seasonal events like the Wunderbar Oktoberfest.
7. Party at Heist Bank
You’re never too old for a good hangout, especially when it’s at Heist Bank.
The Paddington social spot serves up a mean pizza and craft beer, along with a live DJ, Natural Wine Saturdays (the best) and tons of board and pool games.
Basically, if you’re looking for fun things to do in Paddington for adults, this is it.
8. See a Show at The UK’s First Floating Cinema
Openaire Cinema is the UK’s first floating cinema, and you guessed it — it’s in Paddington!
Grab a boat on the Basin and tuck in for a London experience like no other as you watch everything from Love Actually to Jaws on the water with an amazing set of headphones for crystal clear sound.
This is definitely the most unique thing to do in Paddington, so great for a date spot or a day out with friends in the area.
9. Explore Little Venice
As you may have noticed already, there’s a lot of overlap between Paddington and Little Venice, and that’s because they’re right next to each other! (basically think of it as there’s Paddington spots in Little Venice and Little Venice spots in Paddington and you’ll be okay).
If you’re in the Paddington area, you’ll naturally wander into Little Venice anyways, but you can also use my Little Venice area guide for some intentional exploring.
10. Dine Paddington Style
Although I’ve already mentioned a few, the truth is there’s dozens of amazing spots in Paddington to get your grub on.
I recommend the Bridge House Pub for a local pub experience, The Summerhouse for beautiful riverside dining and The Waterway for gastropub cuisine.
Read More: The Best Coffee Shops & Cafes in Paddington, London
11. Hyde Park & Kensington Gardens
As it’s only a stone’s throw away from Paddington, walking through Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens is a must when you’re in the area.
With over 350 acres, there’s a lot to cover. But as a start, I suggest visiting the Italian Gardens, seeing Princess Diana’s Memorial Fountain, having a sip at Hyde Park’s waterside café, visiting the Speakers’ Corner on a Sunday and of course, visiting Kensington Palace.
Read More: Your Ultimate Guide + Tips For Visiting Kensington Palace (from a local)
12. Roam Through Conduit Mews
Visiting London’s mews is one of my favourite activities, so finding Conduit Mews in Paddington was a true delight.
The vibrant terrace is just a few minutes from Paddington Station, originally used as a stable and coach-houses before becoming the crème de la crème of London real estate.
There’s not much to do here outside of admiring, but it’s a great pit stop while you’re ticking off things to do in Paddington.
13. Explore the Paddington Public Art Trail
I always appreciate London neighbourhood’s that do all they can to preserve art & culture, and the Paddington Art Trail does just that.
It won’t take long to notice that there’s tons of art pieces splattered across Paddington, so why not make a day out of finding them!
Starting with the unknown solider at Paddington Station you can wander through the area map in hand finding all of Paddington’s most glorious bronzes, busts (and bears) along the way.
14. Relax on Sheldon Square Ampitheatre
The Sheldon Square Amphitheatre is where you go to watch Paddington life roll by.
From live music to local vendors and ample picnic space, I suggest coming here on a sunny day to see what’s on and find some calm in the city when Paddington Basin gets too busy.
15. Visit the Alexander Fleming Museum
Outside of being a fantastic neighbourhood to explore, there’s also lots of history to be found in Paddington, especially at the Alexander Fleming Museum.
The Nobel Prize Winner founded antibiotic penicillin, which forever changed the way we treat infections.
Housed in St Mary’s Hospital the quaint museum details his life and the story of his scientific discovery.
16. Visit the Church of St Mary on Paddington Green
Looking for a London church seeped in history? Welcome to the Church of St Mary (on Paddington Green).
The Georgian Church was built in 1788, containing precious monuments from renowned sculptors across the UK.
Present-day it’s an active church with members from all backgrounds coming together for service and community. That’s your Paddington Sunday plans sorted!
17. Shop at Church Street Market
Before Paddington was the Paddington we know today, it was a simple London neighbourhood — and Church Street Market was the center of it all.
Birthed in 1830 this market has been kicking strong for centuries, selling everything from clothing, to jewellery, street food and everything inbetween!
In terms of local things to do in Paddington, this takes first place. And is an excellent way to see life beyond postcard-perfect West London.
Read More: The Best Antique Markets in London
18. Visit The Puppet Theatre Barge
It’s not every day that seeing a live puppet show is on your list of things to do, except when you’re in Paddington.
The Puppet Theatre Barge is the UK’s only floating puppet theatre with live (and hilarious) shows on all year.
Of course, this is a great thing to do in Paddington with kids, but I’d highly suggest it for anyone looking for fun things to do in London.
P.S – They also host live music concerts throughout the week!
19. See Stand-Up Comedy at The Canal Café Theatre
Stand up anyone? Head to The Canal Café Theatre to see the world’s longest-running comedy show in action.
From improv to parody there’s little you can’t find here when it comes to hilarious comedy (and they serve a good pint too). See what’s on for the month!
20. See The Rolling Bridge and Fan Bridge
For an ‘ooh-ahhh’ moment in Paddington, have a peek at The Rolling Bridge and The Fan Bridge near Merchant Square.
The Rolling Bridge is a curling and moving bridge designed by Thomas Heatherwick and is a spectacle to watch.
Close by you’ve also got The Fan Bridge, a kinetic sculpture that opens up like a traditional Japanese hand fan (P.S – you can visit on Wednesdays and Fridays at 12pm to see it do its thing!).
21. Explore the Garden Squares Near Paddington Station
Outside of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, Paddington is privy to some lovely pockets of green space.
Sussex Gardens Open Space (W2 2RL), the Flower Garden at Paddington Recreational Grounds (W9 1NR) and Norfolk Square Gardens (W2 1RU) are my favourite for finding some quiet in the area and popping out a good book.
22. Take a Walk from Regent’s Park to Paddington
If you’re new here, I LOVE taking London walks.
This walk from Regent’s Park to Paddington is lovely and is a beautiful way to explore West London.
Since you’ll be in Paddington already, you can either do the walk backwards or begin your day in Regent’s Park and end in Paddington to start your day of Paddington exploring.
23. Go Paddington Bear Spotting with the ‘Pawprint’ Trail
And of course, I can’t end a blog about Paddington without talking about Paddington Bear!
To discover the iconic teddy in action, I highly suggest taking the Pawprint Trail across Paddington.
It’s a curated trail with three different adventures to choose from, all leading you to different Paddington Bears and more kid-friendly discoveries in London.
Of course, this is a great family-friendly thing to do in Paddington, but don’t think you’re too old for the fun if you’re an adult (go on, you know you want to).
P.S – If you’re a true Paddington fan, be sure to take a Paddington Bear Tour in London.
Where Can You Go From Paddington?
If you’re looking for things to do in Paddington, you may be coming or leaving from the famed Paddington Station.
In the mood for adventure? Here’s a few day/weekend trips you can take from Paddington, London:
🚆 Bath – 1 hour 30 minutes from Paddington Station
🚆 Bradford-on-Avon – 2 hours 40 minutes from Paddington Station
🚆 Bristol – 1 hour 45 minutes from Paddington Station
🚆 Cardiff – 2 hours from Paddington Station
🚆 Exeter – 3 hours 35 minutes from Paddington Station
🚆 Stonehedge – 4 hours 30 minutes from Paddington Station
🚆 Oxford – 1 hour by train from Paddington Station
🚆 Windsor Castle – 50 minutes from Paddington Station
Map of the Best Things to do in Paddington, London
Places to Stay Near Paddington
The Pilgrm Hotel is less than 60 seconds from Paddington station, with vintage en suite rooms onlooking Norfolk Square. There’s à la carte breakfast, an all-day dining and cocktail lounge and a terrace to enjoy for your time in Paddington.
Hotel Indigo Paddington:
Hotel Indigo Paddington is where you go for a stylish stay in Paddington. Just a stone’s throw from Hyde Park you can enjoy boutique hotel life in West London along with 24-hour gym and Bella Italia right on site.
TiTiwangsa One Accommodation at Paddington:
If you’re just in Paddington for a short while, the TiTiwangsa One Accommodation at Paddington is a great find. The rooms are quaint and beautifully kept, with a shared kitchen and everything you’d need for a lovely stay in Paddington (did I mention it’s only 350 yards from the hotel!)
Final Tips to Plan Your Visit to Paddington
- For latest updates on all things Paddington, visit the official Paddington tourist website
- Taking a trip from Paddington? Use Trainline! They have the cheapest train tickets.
- Once you’re done exploring Paddington be sure to check out more of my London neighbourhood guides like my travel guide to Little Venice or Notting Hill