Hire a GoBoat, watch the Olympics on our big screen and more
Now summer is here, planning days and evenings out with friends, family, kids and work mates in London around Paddington Central is easy and inspiring thanks to our guide to a whole host of things to do, see, book, experience, eat and drink.
With live music every Thursday lunchtime and the big screen showing the Olympics and Paralympics in Sheldon Square plus the amazing views of Regent’s Canal (spot London Zoo and Little Venice), a Community Garden that’s open to all, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens (via walks and bike), puppet theatres, floating restaurants, Paddington Bear statues, and Paw Print trail, outdoor art and amazing cafes, delicious pizza, noodles, natural wines and more, your summer starts here.
Enjoy a lazy lunch on a floating restaurant
Step out of Paddington tube and railway station (follow the signs to District and Circle line exit) and you’ll be greeted by one of London’s most welcoming restaurants – the multicoloured Darcie & May Green barge decorated in bright colours masterminded by Pop Art legend Sir Peter Blake. Serving up Aussie-inspired brunches, lunches and dinners with smoothies, cocktails and artisan beers on its 50-ft open-air deck, this is a spot to book now. Leave room for pudding is our advice.
Along the canal is also the London Shell Co. which has two incredible places to eat with an emphasis on British cookery – the moored Grand Duchess and the Prince Regent (which features delicious dinner and lunch cruises at £65 for a set menu). Enjoy Cornish Crab & Lobster Salad, Cornish Turbot, Peppercorn Sauce, Crispy Sage and Pan Roasted Cod, Charred Baby Gem, Jersey Royal Potatoes, a Warm Tartare Sauce and Samphire to name a few of the dishes. Check the London Shell Co. website to book and see their menu.
Watch a summer of sport on the big screen
Don’t want to miss the excitement of the Paralympics this summer? Watch it live at Paddington Central as our big screen returns to the amphitheatre (you can easily spot the stairs this summer thanks to the Pride rainbow-covered steps where you can also donate to LGBT+ charity, Just Like Us).
Safe and socially distanced and setting up from Monday 28th June-Sunday 6th September (9am-8pm), see the big screen line up and enjoy soaking up the atmosphere of a sports-loving crowd.
GoBoat down Regent’s Canal
GoBoat is an unmissable London day out – with no boating experience necessary you can hire a self-drive boat and explore Little Venice, the 249m Maida Hill Tunnel, Regent's Park, London Zoo and Camden Lock. The eco-friendly electric Go Boats mean you’re the captain (you can pick up a GoBoat from Paddington who will show you how to drive the boats and watch you practise in Paddington Basin), you then choose your route and take a gentle trip down the canal. Find out more information on GoBoats.
Or book The Electric Barge
Got a special event coming up? For parties, celebrations and work days out, The Electric Barge which is moored at Paddington Central is a brilliant way to cruise down the canal as they serve drinks and food. They’re also home to the Floating Classroom, a non-profit organisation which provides fun, hands-on learning activities inspired by the rich ecology and heritage of the waterways for school children. All income generated from ticket sales and bar spend on the Electric Barge is used to support their charitable efforts so you can enjoy a day out knowing you’re also doing good for children across London. Check The Electric Barge website for more information.
Uncover Little Venice’s theatres
Just north of Paddington is one of London’s most beautiful spots and Little Venice – while being a delight to wander around – is also known for its two independent theatres: the Canal Cafe Theatre and the Puppet Theatre Barge. With comedy and cabaret, the Canal Cafe are hosting satirical news shows, sketches and stand-up shows from upcoming names (check on the Canal Cafe website) while the Puppet Theatre Barge is putting on The Town Mouse and The Country Mouse. Check the Puppet Barge website for more information.
Find kid-friendly restaurants
Paddington Central is known for its vibrant dining scene and is especially great for families who need space, brilliant menus and welcoming teams. If you’re booking somewhere for all ages, then Zizzi is particularly good with a menu of pizza, pasta and Willie Wonkaesque desserts (the Chocolate Melt is a big favourite). Or try the new wagamama which has outdoor benches with plenty of noodles, ramen and an excellent kids’ menu.
Listen to live music every Thursday lunchtime
Paddington Central is launching a new season of live music at Paddington Central’s amphitheatre in Sheldon Square called the PC Music Series. Celebrating music from all over the world – diverse musicians, different genres and different generations – the PC Music Series is running weekly from Thursday 22nd July from 1pm-2pm.
Catch up with friends and work mates, enjoy delicious food and drink in the sunshine and – most importantly – soak up much-missed live sounds from incredible and eclectic talent.
Track down Paddington Bear
For anyone who loves Paddington Bear (everyone then), head to Paddington Station where you can find a bronze statue of Paddington Bear sitting on his suitcase under the clock at platform one. Then head out of the station (following the signs to Paddington Central) where you can track down a bonus blue fuzzy bear that’s perfect for selfies. There’s also the Paddington Pawprint Trail which features a plaque on Platform One exactly where the Peruvian bear met the family Brown.
Take some time out in Community Garden
Paddington Central’s new green space is a joyous new spot for local schools and community groups to learn about the importance of (and take an active part in) local food production, healthy eating and action while urban farming experts Square Mile Farms are also hosting workshops throughout summer for people who live and work in the area. If you’re passing by – take a moment out of a hectic summer to enjoy this calm green space and relax in the sun.
Book a table to eat and drink in the sunshine
Outdoor dining is going to be one of London’s biggest pastimes this summer and we’ve created a helpful guide to the best places for weekends (The Union), drinks (Vagabond Wines) and sharing tables (Pergola) along with other insider tips on where to book for the perfect brunch/lunch/dinner/snacks.
Try Active 360 Paddleboarding
At Paddington Basin, Active 360 runs fully equipped courses and lessons in the art of stand-up paddleboarding (SUP). A full-body workout, it’s also a fun way to play around on water and see the Regent’s Canal and is a new summer experience everyone should try once. Check the Active 360 website to find out more.
See some art for free
Paddington Central is home to beautiful and fascinating art – from our mesmerising tribute to Paddington son Alan Turing in Message From the Unseen World to the technicolour joy of Liz West’s Colour Transfer, wander through the neighbourhood and see some unexpected installations.
Cycle to Hyde Park and beyond
Paddington Central is ideally placed (and also helpfully has a Brompton bike hire locker and nearby Tfl Santander docking stations) for biking around London’s most scenic routes. You can go east to Limehouse Basin down the Regent’s Canal or west to Hayes but our personal favourite is a ride down to Hyde Park (check the cycle routes).
Hyde Park is home to the Italian Gardens, Peter Pan statue, the pirate ship in the playground (there can be a queue to get in on busy days but it moves fast and is well worth the wait) and the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain (perfect for sunny days – remember to bring a swimsuit for the kids), Kensington Palace (where you can spot the new Diana statue) and gardens plus the Serpentine. It’s also got a wildflower meadow, very friendly parakeets and ornamental flower gardens (plus plenty of cafes and bathrooms).