It’s great to visit the most popular and well-known areas of London when you come to the capital, but it can also be fun to head a little further afield and explore some less famous parts of the city. This helps you to really get a feel of the place and what it might be like to live there, if that’s a particular dream of yours.
One area that’s especially nice to take a stroll around is Bayswater, which is situated within the City of Westminster and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. It isn’t too far out of central London; indeed, it’s actually only 2.5 miles away from Charing Cross, meaning it’s only a short ride away on public transport and therefore easy to do on a sunny afternoon.
Bayswater borders the north of the beautiful Kensington Gardens and is also adjacent to the hugely fashionable Notting Hill and Marble Arch areas. It was featured in the Domesday Book and is now one of London’s most cosmopolitan areas.
Where to eat
Bayswater has a big Arab, Greek, French, American and Brazilian population, so there’s definitely no shortage of places to eat and ethnic cuisine to sample. The two main streets have the largest concentration of restaurants and other eateries, so it’s worth a look around if you’re feeling peckish.
Notable examples include the Mandarin Kitchen in Queensway for Chinese; Helepi of Westminster Terrace for Greek; Le Cafe Anglaise in Whiteleys for French; and the Satay House in Sale Place for Malaysian, but there’s sure to be something to suit all other tastes.
Sights to see
Bayswater offers lots of attractive streets and pretty gardens, so do have a wander around with your camera if you’re an architecture buff or simply like to have a look at pretty buildings. Look out for the false facade in Leinster Gardens, which appears as though it’s a house from the front but actually hides the London Underground station.
Definitely check out Whiteleys Shopping Centre if you fancy some retail therapy. This was the first department store in London and was opened by businessman William Whiteley in 1863. At its peak it employed a whopping 6,000 members of staff and is still a prime tourist destination today, housing a cinema and shops like Marks and Spencer.
Marble Arch is close by, as are Hyde Park, St Sophia’s Cathedral and the UK headquarters of the Opus Dei, an institution of the Roman Catholic Church.
The Mitre Pub is the perfect place to rest your legs and enjoy some refreshment, as it boasts original mosaic floors from the 1850s, has a sophisticated upstairs dining room and a speakeasy in the basement.
Finally in our quick round-up, there’s the Serpentine Lake, which offers opportunities for boating when the weather’s warm enough. It also has the less-than-cheerful backstory of being the place where Harriet Westbrook, the first wife of poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, drowned herself back in 1816.
For other attractions and facilities, check out the area around Paddington Station and the street of Queensway.
Who to look for
Bayswater is ideal if you fancy a spot of celebrity hunting, as many famous faces have properties either in Bayswater or nearby areas such as Notting Hill. Hang around some of the restaurants and parks and you might spot some of your favourite stars from TV and film.
Big names in past and present to have lived here include Damon Albarn, Tony Blair, Jeremy Clarkson, JM Barrie, Ade Edmonson, Rik Mayall and Mariella Frostrup.
How to get there
You won’t be short of ways to get to Bayswater, as it is one of the best connected areas in the whole of the capital. There are tube stations for the Central line, the District and Circle line, the Bakerloo line and the Hammersmith and City line within walking distance, plus the Heathrow Express and other overland services are available from nearby Paddington.
It’s also possible to catch buses to all over London from this area, so you’ll be able to get back to your accommodation in any number of different ways once you’ve enjoyed a wander around and something to eat.
Where to stay
If you want somewhere to stay that’s close to both the centre of London and Bayswater, then you can’t go wrong with the Park Grand Lancaster Gate Hotel. From here, you’ll be able to explore this interesting district as well as take in all the tourist sights like Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London.