There’s a lot to see at Paddington Station. It’s home to a polite suitcase-carrying marmalade-eating bear from Peru and much more.
When you’re arriving at Paddington Station by taxi, your best option is to exit out of the escalators or lifts from the part of the station that uses platform 12. This will take you beside platforms 1 – 14. You can then follow this passage way to the main departure concourse.
It’s the home of Paddington Bear
Paddington Station is home to the adorable character of Paddington Bear. The character of the short, fat bear is beloved by children all over the world. He wears a red hat, blue duffel coat, and has a label around his neck that reads “Please look after this bear.” The character was created in 1958 by Michael Bond, a BBC cameraman. The story was inspired by a teddy bear he bought for his wife in London.
The station is a landmark in railway architecture, with its rhythmical shapes and vaulted glass roofs. The current station on Praed Street opened in 1838 and was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who used a broad gauge rail system. This made the line easier to travel across Britain.
If you’re visiting, be sure to take a moment to admire the stunning design of the building. The vaulted glass roofs create a feeling of lightness and ethereal beauty, and the building’s steel arches make for an exciting visual spectacle. You can also learn about the history of Paddington in the museum on site.
Fans of the book series and films will want to visit the house where the characters live. Production designer Gary Williamson says that each family member was given a color that connects them to Paddington’s character. For example, Mary Brown (played by Sally Hawkins) has a red bedroom, which ties her to Paddington’s famous hat.
It’s the home of the Great War Memorial
If you’re visiting London you’ll almost certainly be taking a train at some point. And if you’re taking the main line from Paddington then you’ll be passing this impressive structure. It’s home to a sombre memorial dedicated to the 2,524 Great Western employees who died in World War One and is topped with a nameless bronze soldier, sculpted by Charles Sargeant Jagger, a former army officer and WWI casualty.
The station has 14 terminal platforms (tracks) numbered 1-14. The Heathrow trains are on platform one and the rest are split between the long-distance intercity trains and suburban commuter lines. There are four London Underground lines running through the station including the Circle Line and District Line. You can buy your tickets and check train times on the day you travel at the station or online in advance.
A manned left luggage office is located by platform 1. The cost to store your bags is a refundable £1 coin and the offices are operated by Excess Baggage. If you’re travelling on the Underground, there are also a few phone booths with varying fares based on time of day.
It’s the home of the Royal Mail
Paddington Station is home to one of Britain’s most famous businesses, the Royal Mail. Although it is not exactly thriving, with over a million letters delivered late in May and its shares halving in value, the company is trying to turn things around. One big idea is to open more collection points, which would surely help to speed up the delivery process.
The station is also the main entrance to the London Underground, where the Bakerloo and Circle lines serve a combined sub-surface and deep-level station. The Hammersmith and City line and the District line call at a separate part of the station, which is not included in this article.
When you walk down from Praed Street, the rhythmical shapes of Brunel’s train sheds greet you. On a sunny day, their glass roofs sparkle and shine with an ethereal luminosity.
In his design for the three-span roof, Brunel was influenced by the Crystal Palace, which housed the Great Exhibition of 1851. His use of wrought iron and glass is evident in the magnificent structure, which covers 13 platforms.
The Victorian Society is campaigning to save the original station building, which is listed and part of the Bayswater Conservation Area. It argues that building a skyscraper on the site would harm its setting and be out of character with nearby low-rise buildings.
It’s the home of the London Zoo
Located in the heart of London, Paddington Station is the London terminus for First Great Western and is one of London’s most iconic and historic railway stations. It serves over 30 million passengers each year and is a major hub for commuter trains to West London, the Thames Valley region, and long-distance intercity services to places like Reading, Bristol, and Wales.
The station is also home to a number of popular tourist attractions, including the London Zoo, a short walk away. The zoo has been a beloved part of the community for over 150 years and is an important centre of scientific research into animal welfare, conservation, and education.
Paddington is also home to the London Underground, where you can board the Circle line, Bakerloo line, and District line. If you’re travelling around the city, it’s worth taking a look at some of the other routes that leave from this station, too.
Paddington is most famous for being the arrival point of the fictional character Paddington Bear, a bear from Peru who wears a blue duffle coat and carries his belongings in a tatty suitcase. The bear was named after the station by Michael Bond, who was inspired to write his books after witnessing trainloads of children arriving in London from the south west during World War II.