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Paddington is located in the north-western corner of the centre of London, with Paddington Train Station dominating the area, handling nearly 30 million passengers every year.
With fast links to Heathrow Airport, Paddington is a favourite place to stay for Heathrow users. It offers a fast and convenient service to London’s major airport.
You will find as you move closer to the centre of London that the mixture of accommodation types available reduces dramatically, making Paddington an excellent option for travellers who enjoy the luxury of choice.
The centre of the Paddington area is, of course, the railway station. The station is the terminus for a wide range of train services including Heathrow Airport, West London commuter lines and long-distance services to Wales and South West England. Click the link to find out more about Paddington Station.
The Hilton Hotel Paddington is the original old railway station hotel, standing at the front of the station facing Praed Street. The area facing the Hilton is the main commercial part of Paddington. The shops continue down Spring Street and London Street opposite the station as far as Sussex Gardens. Pavements here are quite narrow and the shops and restaurants mostly small.
You won't find any large department stores for leisure shopping around the station, the shops here are all focussed on feeding people transitioning through the railway station. Most of the outlets are biased towards ‘on the go’ style offering, reflecting the demands of railways travellers passing through. Most multinational fast food and coffee chains are represented here (McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC and Starbucks). You will also find a few independent fish and chip and sandwich shops.
There are just about every type of food and drink outlet you can think of - fast food, cafes, restaurants and traditional English Pubs, including a Sainsbury's Local supermarket - ideal for those staying at self-catering accommodations.
Hyde Park, London's largest park is the main landmark of the area although is a 10-min walk from Paddington station. It is a very popular London green space with plenty to see and do, as well as just a place to relax whilst in the city.
About a 15-min walk away from Paddington station is Oxford Street. This is London's busiest street and the shopping capital of London. You are most likely to take the bus or underground out of Paddington to visit the London's attractions.
Once you leave the immediate vicinity of the station you'll find the area rapidly becomes more elegant and residential. Throughout the area, you can find many garden squares. For example, within 50 yards of the hustle and bustle of Praed Street, you can find Norfolk Square, a beautiful and quiet place to relax and recharge.
Hotels around the station are usually found in terraced buildings, these tend to be budget types, but you can find the odd four-star hotel in these buildings. Standards do differ widely. These hotels are typically 5 or 6 storeys and the cheaper hotels will not have lifts, so check carefully what you need before booking.
Sussex Gardens is a wide avenue just 200m from Paddington Station which is lined with these types of hotels. They may look identical from the outside but inside you may find a chain Best Western or a cheap Paddington Bed and Breakfast.
Heading further out from Paddington Station towards Lancaster Gate and Bayswater and you’ll find the area becomes more gentrified. Hotel accommodation here becomes quite dispersed and tends to be of a higher quality and price than that found around the vicinity of Paddington Station.
In certain areas here, you will get a feel of village life, with cobbled streets and mews accenting the main roads. You'll probably notice the quality of cars rise too, reflecting the cost of houses here.
Every so often there is a cluster of shops providing basic needs and throughout you’ll find a wide range of pubs. Once you reach Lancaster Gate you will be able to enjoy London’s largest park, Hyde Park.
The Paddington area merges with Bayswater at its western extremity. If you're staying a few days, it's worth checking out Bayswater as an alternative to Paddington.
Norfolk Square is a beautiful and quiet place where you can relax and recharge away from the hustle and bustle of Praed Street and Paddington station.
As you head away from Paddington station the area becomes more gentrified. In some areas there is a real village feel with cobbled streets and mews.
Paddington has a nice collection of local English pubs where you can enjoy a drink and some food whilst you relax at lunchtime or in the evening.
For most travellers, the London Underground is the way into and out of Paddington. As well as Paddington Station itself with 4 Underground Lines, Lancaster Gate opposite Hyde Park is often just as close, or closer to many hotels in the Paddington area.
If you are a night owl, there are many night buses that connect Paddington with the centre of London through the night.
A very popular option for visitors to get orientated with London is to use the 09. There are two major operators, the Original London Tour and the Big Bus. Both visit Paddington, though Big Bus may be more frequent.