Paddington train station is among the most famous public transport hubs in the world, and certainly among the best-known in London.
If you’re staying in London hotels, then the chances are that you’ll be stopping off at Paddington at some point during your trip, whether it’s to get off a train in the first place or to catch a link to somewhere else in the city.
However, why not make it a jumping-off point for some of London’s best attractions? There are lots of fascinating and exciting things to do within easy reach of this station, so we’ll go through a few of them here to help you out with your planning.
Paddington Bear statue
You don’t even have to go out of the station to find your first nearby attraction, as there is an homage to Paddington Bear right on Platform One. In the story, he got his name from the family who took him in when he arrived at the hub, and it’s something the owners like to celebrate. Don’t forget to pose for a selfie underneath this bronze, marmalade-loving character!
There’s no fancy building or particular monument to mark Speaker’s Corner, but it is a must-see from Paddington Station nonetheless. Every Sunday, people get on their soapbox here to talk about the issues they’re most passionate about, whether it’s foreign policy or domestic problems. It results in some hugely entertaining speeches and the chance to learn more about all kinds of things – and you can even heckle if the mood takes you. Find Speakers’ Corner around 15 minutes’ walk away from Paddington opposite Marble Arch tube station, with speakers also occasionally taking to the podium during the week.
One of the most popular attractions in the whole of London, Madame Tussauds’ is around 20 minutes’ stroll from the train station or a short taxi ride and features uncanny wax likenesses of all your favourite famous faces. There are also interactive exhibitions, including one that allows you to give a speech at the UN. Don’t forget to check out the infamous Chamber of Horrors either, as some great stories are housed within – just make sure you’re feeling brave when you venture inside.
Alexander Fleming Laboratory Museum
Just three minutes’ walk from Paddington is this often overlooked little gem, which is the actual laboratory where Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin. You’ll be able to walk around a replicated version of his workspace and take a look at the history of his exciting development, which changed the face of modern medicine and has been saving countless lives ever since.
Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising
The Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising is a real nostalgic treat for anyone born in the 1980s or before. There, you can check out advertising campaigns you had forgotten all about and marvel at the packets of products that once took pride of place in everyone’s homes. This attraction is sure to spark lively conversation and plenty of happy memories, but it also includes a history of consumerism from the Victorian era and beyond, making it a must for history buffs. It’s close enough to Paddington for you to spend a morning there and go on to something else afterwards, or to spend the whole day taking it all in.
The Sherlock Holmes Museum
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Holmes is probably the most famous fictional detective ever created and fans will be in their element if they head to this museum dedicated entirely to him – situated, of course, at 221b Baker Street. The stories state that he lived there between 1881 and 1904 and this has made the address so culturally significant that it’s protected by the government – even though it wasn’t actually a real address to an abode to begin with . The study where Holmes worked and played the violin is kitted out in Victorian decor, and you can wander around it, as well as check out a potted history of the popular character.
The Albert Memorial
When her husband Albert died, Queen Victoria famously entered an extended period of mourning – in fact, history suggests that she never fully recovered. She was determined to keep his memory alive and set about having permanent memorials built in his name, including the Albert Memorial in Kensington Gardens. The 54-metre structure was designed by George Gilbert Scott and is a fantastic photo opportunity, especially if you stand close to the bottom and point your lens up.
The Wallace Collection
A national museum in the heart of the city, the Wallace Collection is situated in a town house and features 18th century furniture, porcelain and paintings, including Old Masters. Art students will want to soak up all the knowledge they can, while couples should find it just as interesting for a day or afternoon out.
Churchill War Rooms
One of the branches of the Imperial War Museum, this attraction comprises the Cabinet War Rooms where the government had its nerve centre during the Second World War and the Churchill Museum, which explores the life of Britain’s leader in probably the darkest period in the country’s history. The war rooms are all laid out just like they would have been more than 70 years ago, while the Churchill section is so evocative that you can almost smell the great man’s cigars. This is a little further from Paddington than the rest of our list, but you can still get there in around 20 minutes on the Circle Line of the tube.