Property area guide on Paddington with average property prices, current houses and flats for sale, best streets, up-and-coming areas and commuting times
Paddington Waterside is a large redevelopment that is bringing thousands of new homes to the area.
Paddington has a good choice of primary and secondary schools, including the school where Prince William and Prince Harry went.
The modern houses near Paddington's canal basin are popular with renters and are rarely empty.
One of Britain’s greatest engineers and a small bear from Peru are Paddington’s best-loved characters. Both Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Paddington Bear are celebrated with statues on Paddington station. Brunel, in his stovepipe hat, stands under the majestic ironwork spanning the platforms at the London terminus he designed for one of his greatest achievements, the Great Western Railway. Paddington Bear, as every child who has read Michael Bond’s books knows, came from “deepest, darkest Peru” and was found on the station bearing the tag: “Please look after this bear. Thank you.”
The central London district of Paddington is conveniently located in Zone 1 between Edgware Road to the east, Bayswater Road to the south and Paddington Green to the north. Once known as Tyburnia after the famous gallows which stood at modern-day Marble Arch, it was laid out by the architect Samuel Pepys Cockerill, a relative of the great diarist. Tyburnia was intended to rival Belgravia and even though the novelist William Makepeace Thackeray — who lived in Albion Street — described it as “the elegant, the prosperous, the polite Tyburnia, the most respectable district of the habitable globe”, he may have had an interest in promoting his neighbourhood, as Cockerill’s plans were never fully implemented.
Nonetheless, Cockerill left a legacy of large terrace houses and garden squares, and although in the roads close to the station, cheap and mid-market hotels predominate, Paddington is often unfairly overlooked.
Houses and flats for sale in Paddington
Paddington has quite a mix. There are large houses in Connaught Square where former prime minister Tony Blair has linked his house with the mews house behind. Now guarded day and night by armed police officers, this must be one of the safest places in London to live. There are large flats in converted terrace houses in Hyde Park Square, Westbourne Terrace and The Lancasters in Lancaster Gate. In the roads between Praed Street and Sussex Gardens there are small, early Victorian terrace houses. The Hyde Park Estate has streets and squares of postwar houses and terraces. Paddington Waterside is a large regeneration project around the Grand Junction Canal basin and on former railway lands, with a mixture of office buildings — including those of M&S, Vodafone and Statoil — and residential blocks.
Flats can be more expensive than houses in Paddington. The most expensive “flat” for sale now is really a maisonette, in Hyde Park Gardens, where a four-bedroom property on the third, fourth and fifth floors, is selling for £13.5 million. The most expensive house currently for sale is being sold for £6.85 million in Connaught Square and has seven bedrooms.
Estate agent Alison Treneer, from the local branch of Chesterton Humberts, says that price per square foot ranges from £1,200 upwards, although flats in favoured positions such as in Hyde Park Square now sell for over £2,000 per square foot.
Postcode: W2 is the Paddington postcode; it also includes Bayswater, Westbourne Green and parts of Notting Hill
Best roads: Hyde Park Gardens, Connaught Square, Albion Street, Gloucester Square, Queen’s Gardens and Cleveland Square.
Travel and commuting: Paddington is in Zone 1 (annual travelcard £1,216) and is on the Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Bakerloo Tube lines. Heathrow Express trains take 15 minutes to the airport, and a new Crossrail station is being built on the western side of Paddington station.
The area attracts: many overseas buyers are investing in property in Paddington, rather than living there permanently. The area was very popular with Middle Eastern buyers but Treneer says she is seeing an increasing number from India and Pakistan, and there is interest from French and Italians. “They like the convenience. Heathrow is easily accessible with the Heathrow Express trains from Paddington, it is a short walk to the West End and Marylebone High Street, Hyde Park is on the doorstep and parking is generally easy.”
Staying power: for investment buyers there is no incentive to sell in a strong central London property market.
Up and coming: the area between scruffy Praed Street and Sussex Gardens has two pretty roads — Star Street and St Michael’s Street — of small, early Victorian terrace houses that sell for about £1.5 million, although they rarely come on to the market.
Shops and restaurants: Praed Street and the surrounding streets cater for tourists on a tight budget. The restaurant in the Frontline club is the gastronomic highlight. There are cafes and restaurants in Sheldon Square that serve the office workers in the new office blocks. There are independent shops, cafes and restaurants along Kendal Street and Connaught Street. Look out for womenswear boutique ME+EM, womenswear and menswear boutiques Horiyoshi The Third, with fashion based around the work of a famous Japanese tattoo artist, and De Roemer for cashmere and chocolate shop and patisserie Cocomaya and most unusual of all ceremonial taylors Firmin House that have being making uniforms since 1655.
Open space: the 350 acres of Hyde Park are on the doorstep and there are canalside walks to tranquil Little Venice and beyond.
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Leisure and the arts: the West End’s theatres, cinemas and restaurants are a short walk away. There is an Odeon Cinema on Edgware Road near Marble Arch, and a museum in Alexander Fleming’s old laboratory in St Mary’s Hospital. A disused Royal Mail sorting office has been turned into a performance space for innovative theatre company Punchdrunk’s latest production, A Drowned Man.
The nearest council-owned swimming pool is at the Seymour Leisure Centre in Seymour Street. The pool at St Mary’s Energia Gym is open to the public and there is also swimming at Nuffield Health club in Sheldon Square.
Council: Westminster (Conservative-controlled). Band D council tax for the 2013/2014 year is £680.74.
TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE: PADDINGTON
What connects the world’s most famous fugitive with a street in Paddington?
Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange stayed for two months at the Frontline Club in Norfolk Place, off Praed Street. The media club was started by Vaughan Smith, one of two surviving cameramen from a war reporting collective. After his stay in the club, Assange moved to Vaughan Smith’s Norfolk house before holing up in the Ecuadorian embassy.
Where does the finest actress of her generation suffer the indignity of spending her days watching and listening to the deafening traffic along Westway?
A statue of Sarah Siddons (1755 to 1831) is found at Paddington Green overlooking Westway. Sarah Siddons was famous for her portrayal of Lady Macbeth and her fame in the late 18th century rivalled any modern day celebrity. A girls’ school on the south side of Westway, now demolished, was rumoured to be haunted with sightings of Siddons in a blue dress and small hat.
Where did a brilliant but sloppy scientist return from his summer holiday to discover that he had made one of the most important-ever medical discoveries?
It was at St Mary’s Hospital Paddington that Sir Alexander Fleming discovered the anti-bacterial properties of penicillium notatum later known as penicillin. He discovered a mould had killed some bacteria on a dirty petri dish on his return from holiday.
Average prices: Buying flats and houses in Paddington
One-bedroom flat: £548,000
Two-bedroom flat: £967,000
Two-bedroom house: £1.51 million
Three-bedroom house: £2.05 million
Four-bedroom house: £2.47 million
Pictures by Graham Hussey