BayswaterPosted on: March 23, 2018, by : gravenhurst
Welcome to Bayswater
Bayswater is an attractive residential area in West London, to the north of Hyde Park. It is a cosmopolitan area, home to a community of Greek, Brazilian, French, Arabs and Malaysians. There is something for everybody at Bayswater. Its charm lies in the mix between grotty and posh, expensive terrace houses and council estate, charity shops and high end designer boutiques.
The action centres around Queensway, a road running up perpendicular to Bayswater Road. It is home to a series of souvenir shops, coffee chains, a bowling alley and a myriad of restaurants that reflect the cosmopolitan nature of the area. Further north of Queensway, the road branches left to Westbourne Grove. The shops and restaurants get progressively high end as you moved westwards towards Notting Hill.
Notable residents in Bayswater includes Winston Churchill and Tony Blair, both former Prime Ministers of UK. Sting from The Police was said to lived in a basement flat at 28A Leinster Square whilst his now wife, Trudie Styler, stayed two doors down.
If you walked along Bayswater Road and stop by number 100, you will find a house where J.M. Barrie, author of Peter Pan, lived. Barrie also commissioned a bronze sculpture of Peter Pan. It appeared ‘as if by magic’ on 1st May 1912 and until to this day, stood in Hyde Park, facing the Serpentine. Its also not too far from Central London that you are very likely to venture into if you are in the area.
Things to do
The plethora of restaurants in the area meant there is plenty to eat in the area. Most notable is the Royal China Dim Sum restaurant which attract big crowns on Sundays and Four Season restaurant, famed for its succulent roast duck.So popular was the duck that tourists as far afield as Madrid and Bangkok will purchase whole ducks to be brought home. It was rumoured there was a great ‘roasted duck war’ – the chef from the original restaurant was rumoured to have had enough, left and opened the rival Gold Mine restaurant serving a similar roast duck a few doors down.
If you need a walk after all that food, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens is a short stroll away. There is the Italian Gardens near to Lancaster Gate, built in 1860. It was said the gardens were a gift from Prince Albert to Queen Victoria. Horses from the nearby Hyde Park Stables sometimes slow down the traffic as the riders made their way to the park.
To the west, at Kensington Park, The Princess Diana playground is a magnet for families with children. Visitors also like to the Round Pond where swans, ducks and seagulls congregate, eager for the bread and crumbs thrown at them. The birds can be a little aggressive during winter months when food is scarce so feed them with care.
The stately Kensington Palace had been in use as a royal place since 1689. It went through periods of expansion and refurbishment to its present elegant form, complete with an orangery where a visitor can have delectable afternoon tea to a very pleasant garden with green arches.
Certain sections of the palace is open to the public. The palace is also home to minor royals, including TRH the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their family. The late Diana, Princess of Wales, also called Kensington Palace home and on the news of her untimely death in 1997, the area in front of the palace were strewn with flowers in honour of the much beloved princess.
Other notable architecture and oddities
To the north of Queensway, stood Whiteleys, an imposing building, once home to London’s first department store. It was opened by the Lord Mayor of London in 1911, granted Grade II building status in 1970. During its opening, Whiteleys was the the epitome of luxury. It was even mentioned in Shaw’s 1913 play, Pygmalion as the place for a lady to buy a gown. Its fortunes has somewhat waxed and waned over the years.
Bayswater is also home to one of the only five remaining Victorian turkish baths in UK. Visitors to Porchester Spa can partake in a traditional hamman experience in Art Deco surroundings. The nearby Porchester Hall is of similar construction and house a gym and swimming pools used by the local community.
The house at no. 23-24 Leinster Gardens is a bit of an oddity. From the outside, it looks very much like the rest of the street but on closer examination, you will find that the windows are painted on and there are no letterboxes in the doors. The London circle and district underground lines runs in between no. 22 and 25 and the front is actually a facade to cover the gap between the two buildings. Nearby pizza parlours and fast food delivery places learnt the hard way not to deliver to no. 23 and 24 Leinster Gardens.