- WHERE TO STAY
- PUBLIC TRANSPORT
- CRUISE PORTS
Queensway hotels in Bayswater 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 Queensway hotel district is biased towards the budget sector it is not an unattractive place 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 itself, 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 24/7 and take 5-min to Oxford Street, London's busiest shopping street.
There’s pubs and restaurants galore plus a cinema at the top level of Whiteleys Shopping Centre. The area also includes an ice-skating rink and bowling alley. At the very northern end of Queensway you will find the Porchester Centre with two pools and gym classes, and in addition the Porchester Spa with Turkish Baths, plunge pool, steam rooms and access to the swimming pool.
At the far, (northern) end of Queensway is Whiteleys Shopping Centre, a historic building that has been renovated and turned into a multi-level shopping mall.
You will find independent restaurants covering most cuisines of the world here.
Along Queensway are several small convenience supermarkets including a Spar and Tesco Express. These 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. Other practical facilities available include a wide range of launderettes, you don't have to wander more than a hundred yards or two before you will come across one. Most are coin operated.
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-min.
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. This is 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 Tour and Big Bus which both run along the Bayswater Road.
At the southern end of Bayswater is Kensington Gardens, which seamlessly merges with Hyde Park. Kensington Gardens is of course, home to Kensington Palace. To find the Palace, just enter Kensington Gardens opposite Queensway Underground Station and follow the signposted wide path down to the palace. The royal park is a former hunting ground and the largest royal park in Central London, stretching all the way to Oxford Street at Marble Arch.
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.
At the north-west corner of Kensington Gardens is the Princess Diana Memorial Playground, built in memory of the late Princess. You'll find the playground just inside the park gates opposite Queensway Underground. 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 playground 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 memorabilia.
Although Portobello Road has a market every day, it’s on Saturdays that the big crowds arrive, as the collectables 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 also hosts the famous Notting Hill Carnival in late August, Europe's biggest carnival that stretches over a long holiday weekend.
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 find it hard to complete the walk within one long day - there is so much to tempt you 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 Harrods department store.