Paddington Station: A visitor’s guide


One of the busiest and oldest public transport facilities in the capital, Paddington Station has a rich and vibrant history, while remaining an important hub for travellers either visiting the capital or for those who are simply passing through.

Located in Zone 1, Paddington is a key connection for travellers to Westminster and is located at the heart of one of the busiest cities in the world.

Paddington Station

More than 35 million people visited the station in 2014, with its central position in London making it an ideal link to the Thames Valley, south-west England and south Wales.

The station’s beginnings

A station has operated at the site of present-day Paddington station since 1838, with much of the existing facility designed by renowned engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel from 1854.

The Underground station was opened at Paddington in 1863 and cemented the station’s position as a bustling hub for travellers from across the capital and the country as a whole.

Originally the London terminus for the Great Western Railway, Paddington stretched between Bishops Bridge Road and Praed Street – as it does to this day. It featured a large, single-glazed roof that was a marvel of engineering for its time.

Notable features of the station included the wrought iron arches and original supports for the massive roof, which itself spanned 213 metres.

Three spans were originally designed and built as part of the plans for Paddington, but as the station grew in popularity and capacity became stretched, a fourth span of 33 metres was added on the northern side of the facility.

Elsewhere, engineers recently discovered a very early construction by Brunel at the north of the station – a cast iron bridge that served to carry Bishop’s Bridge Road over the Paddington arm of the nearby Grand Union Canal.

All in all this popular and functional station has certainly played its part in the shaping of the capital and surrounding area over its long history. Indeed, with such swift and easy access to nearby goods depots, Paddington quickly grew to become one of the most active railway hubs anywhere in Britain.

Paddington in 2015

Today, the station offers 14 platforms for travellers, servicing the needs of guests from around the globe as they look to both get about Greater London, but also travel to other parts of the UK.

Direct trains are available to several major towns and cities, with the most popular services running to Reading, Newbury, Cardiff, Bath, Swindon, Chippenham, Bristol and Exeter.

Services also run from the station to other major transport hubs in the capital, including Heathrow Airport, while services can be diverted to Paddington from Birmingham when access to London’s Marylebone Station is limited.

The major rail franchises operating out of Paddington at present are First Great Western, Heathrow Express, Heathrow Connect and Chiltern Railways.

Meanwhile, the London Underground remains one of the most popular forms of public transport in the capital and Paddington offers direct access to the Bakerloo, Circle and District lines at Praed Street, as well as the Circle and Hammersmith & City lines at its Paddington (Suburban) end.

A short walk out from the station also lies the Underground stop of Lancaster Gate.

In addition to national rail and Underground services, the facility also offers connections to the Docklands Light Railway – an overground light rail service providing access to the rest of the city, including Stratford, Lewisham, Tower Gateway, the City of London financial district, Beckton, London City Airport and Woolwich Arsenal.

Local amenities for travellers

Stepping out of the station, there are plenty of local attractions to keep visitors to the area entertained, with an array of great restaurants and retailers.

Some of the most highly-rated eateries in the vicinity include Villa Rosa – a traditional Italian establishment offering classic dishes featuring pizza, pasta, pesce and pollo, all served a fine selection of delicious wines.

Meanwhile, visitors seeking a taste of traditional British fare might like to book a table at the Frontline Club Restaurant, located just a few minutes from the station on Edgware Road.

This award-winning establishment provides a true taste of the British Isles, with dishes ranging from classic leek and potato soup to roast rack of Norfolk lamb with fondant potato and aubergine puree.

For those keen to do a spot of shopping in the area, local retail options include Westfield London – offering a range of designer outlets and independent stores.

Some of the biggest high street names can also be found in and around the station, including Marks & Spencer, WH Smith, Monsoon, Sainsbury’s and Boots, plus plenty more besides.

For visitors to London, Paddington offers not only a wealth of history, but also lots of things to do in/nearby paddington station.

Places to stay near Paddington Station:

Park Grand London Paddington Hotel
5 min (0.4 mi) via Craven Rd/B410

Park Grand Paddington Court London Hotel
3 min (0.2 mi) via Craven Rd/B410

Park Grand London Hyde Park Hotel
3 min (0.3 mi) via Craven Rd/B410 and Westbourne Terrace

Park Grand London Lancaster Gate Hotel
3 min (0.3 mi) via B410

Park Grand London Kensington Hotel
22 min (2.7 mi) via A4204

The Piccadilly London West End Hotel
33 min (2.6 mi) via A4201

Park Grand London Heathrow Hotel
34 min (10.4 mi) via A40 and Great West Rd/A4