For most London families, it’s hard to imagine drawing any parallels between London Paddington and the darkest Peru from which the bear of the same name hails. The Pawprint Trail — a new activity trail dedicated to family visitors — however, proves that this under-explored area of London has far more similarities than you’d expect. Take a closer look and you’ll find a curious neighbourhood, with a host of hidden treasures, where those who dig beyond the populous centre will be richly rewarded.
Your first stop is to pick up a free map from the Paddington Bear shop, tucked away at the top of the escalators leading to the ‘lawn mezzanine' inside Paddington Station. There are three routes to choose from, each one starting with an unmissable visit to the spot where Paddington first set foot in London, Platform 1. Whether you have just a few hours or want to make a day of it, each trail is packed with first-rate family fun and together provide an opportunity to seek out four uniquely designed Paddington sculptures, made famous by last year’s Paddington Trail.
Did you know you can:
- enjoy a show at the Puppet Theatre Barge in Little Venice, a magical 55-seat marionette theatre that has been presenting live puppet animation for over 30 years
- watch a show-stopping performance of a different variety in Merchant Square, every Wednesday, Friday (12noon) and Saturday (2pm) in the form of its unusual lifting bridges
- cool off in Paddington Basin's Water Maze when temperatures get tropical
- glide alongside ducks and narrowboats by booking in for a paddle boarding session.
Whichever path you choose, there’s something for kids of all ages, and when tummies begin to growl, tame them with a picnic in the pretty canalside gardens or explore a host of yummy eateries, such as Beany Green, where homemade banana bread definitely rules over marmalade sandwiches.
The Pawprint Trail is ready for you to enjoy. Pick up your free map from the Paddington Bear Shop inside Paddington Station, Praed Street, London W2 1RH. Find out more about Paddington Bear at his Facebook page.
Londonist is proud to be working with Paddington Partnership on a project to reveal the secrets, surprises, gems, wildlife, heritage and culture around Paddington.