Six of the best… shady spots
1. Woodland Garden on Kingdom Street
Where better to sit in the shade than along this woodland pathway, which meanders its way between Kingdom Square and Sheldon Square. Pick your spot on a timber seat to take advantage of the dappled shade created by Persian ironwood and birch trees. While you stay out of the sun’s rays, you can also enjoy the fragrance of the lovely flowers planted here. Among them is the St Ola, which produces clove-shaped white flowers that are popular with butterflies. Find out more about the plants in the Woodland Garden.
2. The Waterside Café
Head along the canal to Browning’s Pool in Little Venice, where you’ll find the floating Waterside Café. In the morning, the café’s outdoor seating on the towpath sits in cooling shade. When the sun reaches this spot, there are helpful umbrellas to shelter beneath. Enjoy a tea, coffee, snack or sandwich, while watching out for the local swans and the waterbus sailing past.
3. Under Bishop’s Bridge
Pause for a moment and get some relief from the sun, while you inspect the art installation that celebrates Alan Turing, famous for being a Second World War code breaker and also for his pioneering work on computers. Spanning the walkway under the bridge, the illuminated elements of this contemporary artwork allows the viewer to see the installation's own algorithms breaking down an Alan Turing-inspired poem by Nick Drake into infinite permutations.
4. Under the willows
Just opposite Beany Green, by the Porteus Road underpass, you’ll find a surprisingly tranquil spot for hot summer days. Huge weeping willows and other trees line the canal bank here, providing plenty of shade when you’ve had enough sun. Fortunately, there’s a nice patch of grass beneath them to settle down in your shady spot.
5. Rose garden
You can access this fragrant plot via the canal towpath or from Warwick Avenue. It’s part of Rembrandt Gardens, a wonderful place for a quiet moment surrounded by nature. There are five varieties of rose here, and their perfume alone is a great reason to visit, but you’ll also find a choice of benches and grassy spots in the shade.
6. Smith’s Bar and Grill
If you’re feeling peckish or want to cool down with a drink, this eatery boasts outdoor terrace seating next to the canal. But, crucially, giant sun umbrellas will keep you well protected! The food on offer here is a traditional British fare with a modern edge, and the drinks range spans soft drinks, cocktails, craft beers and wines. It’s just one of several waterside eateries at Paddington Central – there’s plenty more to explore along the towpath.