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Cool things to do in Paddington London

Darcie & May Green boat in Paddington

If you’ve not been to Paddington, in London, for a few years you may be forgiven for thinking it’s basically just a major train station or a quick way to get to central London from Heathrow. But you’d be wrong! Paddington is such a vibrant area now with loads of cool things to do! From wining and dining (on a boat or a rooftop) to paddleboarding or hiring a GoBoat – get yourself to Paddington for a fun day out!

Here are some cool things to do in Paddington

Whether your ideal day is spent drinking wine whilst people-watching or being active and going canoeing or paddleboarding, Paddington has you covered.

Overlooking the canal

Hire a boat

Is there anything better when the weather is nice than to be on a boat? GoBoat in Paddington offers boats to hire by the hour for up to 8 people. You drive them yourself and you don’t need to have any boating experience – they will give you a full briefing and training before you set off and you’ll have a map to navigate your route. I’ve seen lots of birthday parties and hen parties pass by on GoBoats and it always looks such fun!

A GoBoat on the canal in Paddington

Take a boat trip to Camden

Fancy a boat trip but don’t want to have to drive a boat yourself? You’re in luck as you can get a ride on Jason’s Trip, which will take you to Camden Lock Market via Little Venice on a barge. You can either book one-way or a return trip.

Get active on a paddle board

Active360 runs group lessons and private lessons on stand up paddleboarding, if you want to do something both fun and active when you’re in Paddington. If you have previous experience you can also just hire a paddle board and go out yourself. It does look fun!

Group paddleboarding session on the canal in Paddington

Dine on a barge

There are a number of bars and restaurants on barges, such as The Grand Duchess (which also has decked seating outside), The Cheese Barge and Darcie & May Green. The latter two you can sit upstairs as well as inside!

The Grand Duchess floating restaurant

It’s such a novelty to eat or drink on a barge and it’s especially lovely when the sun is shining. It’s also a great vantage point to watch the GoBoats, paddlers and the ducks go past!

Darcie & May Green floating restaurant in Paddington

Drinks on a rooftop

As well as a number of barges and restaurants along the canal, Paddington is also home to Pergola – a rooftop food court and bar which changes its d├ęcor through the seasons. In December they were all decked out for Christmas and even had Winter pods!

Igloo Christmas pod at Pergola

Visit Little Venice

Did you know that there is a Little Venice in London? It’s just a 5 minute walk from Paddington Station! Most people think it was penned ‘Little Venice’ by the Victorian playwright and poet Robert Browning as he lived across the road but actually it got it’s name from Lord Byron, who compared this part of the Grand Union Canal to Italy’s Venice in the 1800s.

Barges on the Grand Union Canal

Every year on the May Bank Holiday is the Canalway Cavalcade – a free festival to celebrate the communities who live on the canal. Come along and you’ll find food stalls, musicians and of course loads of barges! It’s a great atmosphere and so interesting to see all the different barges and their colourful designs.

Barges lined up for the Canalway Cavalcade

Take a wander around Clifton Nurseries

If you love flora and fauna you simply must pop in to the absolutely gorgeous Clifton Nurseries. It’s such an oasis of calm and it’s hard to believe it’s in central London. It’s also London’s oldest garden centre and has inspired gardeners since 1851. My favourite is the glass house that contains all the cacti and succulents as well as some beautiful ceramic plant holders.

Cacti and succulents at Clifton Nursery

Dine on the water

Is there anything better, when the weather is so nice, to dine right on the water? The Summerhouse is situated right on the Grand Union Canal, about a ten minute walk from Paddington Station (or a 2 minute walk from Warwick Avenue tube station on the Bakerloo line). It specialises in seafood and is the perfect place to soak up the sun when the weather is good! It’s open all year though so pay a visit any time.

Dining canalside in the sun

If you fancy something a bit more novel, book a table on The Prince Regent (sister restaurant to The Grand Duchess) and enjoy lunch or dinner whilst cruising along the canal to Camden and back.

The Prince Regent floating restaurant

Bondi Green, which is part of the Daisy Green group and is opposite Darcie & May Green, is the group’s biggest venue to date and offers delicious food with outdoor tables by the canal.

Watch a movie with the Openaire floating cinema

This awesome floating cinema, Openaire, is seasonal so keep an eye on their website for when they are in Paddington. But how cute and what a great idea to have a float-in cinema? You’ll get your own boat (it looks like the GoBoats although it doesn’t say on their website) and time to drive around Little Venice before driving up to watch the movie!

If you don’t fancy getting in a boat you can pull up a deck chair and watch the movie on land.

I hope this post has inspired you to visit Paddington! There are so many cool things to do and see and it’s an area of central London not to be missed.

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Cool things to do in Paddington in London
Cool things to do in Paddington, London

Kirsty Marrins

Reader, writer, occasional runner, travel lover.

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