Bayswater Visitor Briefing
What To Expect For Those Contemplating Staying In Bayswater Accommodation
Queensway, the heart of Bayswater
Author: Bob Handford
Bayswater hotels are heavily biased towards the budget sector of the market. There are some notable exceptions like the Hilton Hyde Park and Thistle Kensington Gardens, but most are small independent hotels housed in long terraces of houses, often with 5 or 6 floors and a basement. Although the district is biased towards the budget sector it is not seedy or unattractive to stay in, it is also perfectly safe, with the normal common sense precautions you take anywhere in the world.
The heart of Bayswater is Queensway,running north-south from Hyde Park/Kensington Gardens. Queensway Underground Station is at its southern end opposite Kensington Gardens on the Bayswater Road which forms the northern perimeter of Hyde Park. Buses run every few minutes 24x7 and take 5 minutes to Oxford Street, London's busiest shopping street..
The whole length of Queensway is full of restaurants, pubs and outlets to meet all the needs of most travellers. All the fast food chains are here, KFC, Burger King, Pizza Hut, McDonalds etc. together with obligatory coffee shops, Starbucks and Costa Coffee included. At the far (northern) end of Queensway is Whiteleys Shopping Centre, a historic building that has been gutted and turned into a multi level shopping mall.
You will find independent restaurants covering most cuisine's of the world here.
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Within Whiteleys, shops and restaurants are slightly more upmarket than the outlets all around. On the top floor is a multiplex cinema plus some higher class restaurants including a very swish sushi restaurant.
Laundrette - typical of the services and shops around Bayswater geared to the budget traveller
Also along Queensway is several small convenience supermarkets including a Spar and Tesco Metro that can provide most of those emergency odds and ends you need. A much larger supermarket, Waitrose is at the top end of Bayswater. There are also some oriental supermarkets at either end of Queensway.
The Post Office and a Boots pharmacist are also situated opposite Whiteleys Shopping Centre.
Strung along Queensway and all around in the side streets are numerous old fashioned pubs that serve traditional pub grub and often full English breakfasts in the morning.
If you want something lighter for breakfast there is a wide range of alternatives for all budgets.
Other practical facilities include a wide range of launderettes, you don't have to wander more than a hundred yards or two before you will come across an option. Most are coin operated.
In terms of entertainment options include a cinema, ice skating rink, even a Turkish baths.
Bayswater In Relation To The Rest Of Central London
Getting Around London From Bayswater
For most, the London Underground is the way into and out of Bayswater. Although they look far apart on the Underground map, Queensway and Bayswater are only about 150 yards apart. Trains run very frequently from about 05:30 to midnight and you can get to most of the sights within Central London within 20 minutes.
If you are a night owl, there are night buses that connect Bayswater with the centre through the night. The 94 bus is perhaps the most useful running along the Bayswater Road on the border of Kensington Gardens past Queensway Underground Station along Oxford Street and down to Piccadilly Circus in the heart of the West End, London's theatre and entertainment district.
A very popular option for visitors to get orientated with London is to use the hop on, hop off tour buses. There are two major operators, the Original London Tour and the Big Bus. Both run along the Bayswater Road.
Anything Of Interest In And Around Bayswater?
Although Bayswater is primarily a hotel district where people travel outside the area for their personal must see sights and entertainment, there are significant places of interest right on your doorstep.
Although Portobello Road has a market every day, its on Saturdays that the big crowds arrive as the collectibles part of the market expands. Get there as early as you can.
Portobello Road Market is just to the west of Bayswater, just go west from Queensway then follow the crowds.
This area of London, Notting Hill also hosts the famous Notting Hill Carnival in late August, Europe's biggest carnival that stretches over a long holiday weekend.
South of Bayswater in Kensington Gardens is Kensington Palace. Just enter Kensington Gardens opposite Queensway Underground Station and follow the signposted wide path down to the palace.
Queensway has a very wide range of restaurants, you don't have to travel into the centre for an enjoyable laid back meal and it'll probably cost you a lot less as well.
On the top floor of Whiteleys Shopping Centre is a cinema showing the latest releases.
On Queensway between Queensway and Bayswater Underground Stations is the Queens Ice Rink, careful its easy to miss with stairs going down into the main part of the building. The bunch of skittles at the top of the stairs is a clue. The main attractions here is the 10 pin bowling alley and the ice rink (Olympic size it is not). Queens Ice Rink also has a bar/cafe and some slot machines.
The Porchester Centre is at the very northern end of Queensway and is run by the City of Westminster.
The pool is open daily from early morning to mid evening.
Kensington Gardens / Princess Diana
At the southern end of Bayswater is Kensington Gardens which seamlessly merges with Hyde Park. This royal park, a former hunting ground is the largest royal park in Central London and stretches all the way to Oxford Street at Marble Arch.
Its of course a favourite place for joggers. There are also stables with horse riding. In the centre of the park is the lido where you can hire boats on the lake
On the park boundary railings of Kensington Gardens there is a tradition of paintings being displayed on a Sunday.
This stretches all the way from opposite Queensway Underground along the Bayswater Road beyond Lancaster Gate Underground.
At the north west corner of Kensington Gardens is the Princess Diana Memorial Playground, this is just inside the park gates opposite Queensway Underground. Opened in June 2000, in memory of the late Princess, near to her Kensington Palace home just 5 minutes walk south.
There is a sensory trail, teepees, a beach around the pirate ship and various toys and play sculptures.
The Diana Playground Café serves fresh salads, sandwiches and drinks, as well as offering a children's menu.
The playgrounds is also the north west point of the Princess Diana Memorial Walk. The seven-mile-long walk crosses St James's Park, Green Park, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. From the walk visitors can see three palaces and two mansions which figured in the life of the Princess: Kensington Palace, Buckingham Palace, Clarence House, St James's Palace, and Spencer House, the one time London house of the Spencer family.
Just west from Queensway Underground along the Bayswater Road is Cafe Diana dedicated to Princess Diana. The whole cafe is lined with pictures and other items.
Self Guided Kensington Walk Starting From Bayswater
This short walk crams a lot into a short distance. The distance is well under 2 miles and non-stop you could do it in 40 minutes or less. However, many people will be hard put to complete the walk within one long day - there is so much to tempt along the way.
The walk starts in Bayswater and crosses Kensington Gardens, visiting among others on the way Kensington Palace, Royal Albert Hall, South Kensington Museums before concluding at Harrod's department store.