Bayswater is close to one of London’s largest and most popular open spaces – Hyde Park, so it’s not a problem to grab a few minutes away from home for some fresh air or to exercise for those that like to keep fit. The cosmopolitan feel of the neighbourhood is reflected in the almost overwhelming choice of international cuisine offered by specialist restaurants lining Queensway. With so much choice, eating out in a different culinary style is easy every day of the week and then some. Shopping is a delight with the large Whiteley’s mall and the many bohemian cafes, boutiques and galleries tucked in some delightful corners.
The local residents’ association keep a close eye on the area and everyone is kept up to date with what’s going on with a local newssheet. Off the main roads are some garden squares – the largest and most well-known is probably Leinster Square which provides an oasis of calm away from the hustle and bustle of Queensway.
For the uninitiated, do not try viewing 23/24 Leinster Square. They may appear to resemble their neighbours, but both are fake facades screening a tube line.
The history of the area also gives a clue to where our property agency Westbourne London comes from. The Westbourne was a small river flowing through Bayswater. It’s still there, but is out of sight running in culverts beneath the streets built on meadows and banks lining the channel. Bayswater is home to London’s only venue with both an ice rink and bowling alley – Queens Ice and Bowl, in Queensway.
Hyde Park is transformed into a Winter Wonderland of amusements, stalls and sideshows in December each year.
The story of property in Bayswater is influenced by railways in the 19th century. The first homes were cottages for the Great Western Railway workers who arrived with the building of Paddington Station.
Later, gentrification started as the area’s closeness to Central London attracted artists and writers, followed by wealthier business owners. Between the wars, Bayswater was a less desirable address and many of the homes were converted into apartments or down-market hotels.
In recent years, the cycle has reversed and rather than a decline, Bayswater has surged in popularity as one of the most sought-after London districts.
Developers and homeowners have poured money into upgrading homes and rather than run-down terraces, Bayswater has fine, smart terraces of white stucco Italianate style properties offering spacious high-ceilinged rooms with fine views of tree-lined squares.
The Hallfield Estate is a celebrated modernist neighbourhood of mainly eight-storey blocks of flats owned and managed by Westminster City Council.
Housing choice is mainly apartments, although some unconverted terraced homes in fine positions offer extensive accommodation over five or six stories around Connaught Square. Here and there are also modern apartment blocks giving contemporary city living within a few minutes’ walk of Hyde Park. On the edge of the district is Lancaster Gate, which comprises two terraces of grand homes facing Hyde Park. The famous Lancaster Gate Hotel also stands on the site, while others are prime addresses for embassies, but many of the properties remain private homes.
Central London is just a short ride away by cab or bus, while the district is well-served by the London Underground, with stations at Queensway and Lancaster Gate on the Central Line and Bayswater on the District and Circle Lines. Paddington is London’s main rail terminal for over ground services to the west and has a tube station on the Circle, District, Bakerloo and Hammersmith and City Lines. The Heathrow Express calls at Paddington, although the trip is generally cheaper and quicker catching a Circle or District Line train and changing a couple of stops down the line on to the Piccadilly Line, which terminates at the Heathrow terminals. Crossrail will also have a new station at Paddington.
Things to do
Finding things to do in and around Bayswater is easy. Plenty of high street brands and quirky shops and cafes are all around, as are late-opening clubs and bars if you are looking for a night out.
Whiteley’s mall is also home to a cinema complex.
A short walk across Hyde Park is Kensington Palace, which has an exhibition and state rooms open to the public. Surrounding it is the park and neighbouring Kensington Gardens. At the opposite end of the park is The Serpentine Gallery, which hosts major international contemporary art exhibitions.
At the weekends, street artists display their art on the park railings along Bayswater Road.
Schools and colleges
Bayswater and the surrounding neighbourhoods have a good choice of public and independent schools, providing primary, secondary and further education for students of all ages.
Excellent travel links give easy access to London’s world class universities and colleges.
Bayswater has a London W2 post code and is split between Westminster City Council and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.