Bayswater property profile – a guide to one of London’s most cosmopolitan areas

Bayswater property overview

What’s it all about?

All Bayswater property benefits from close proximity to London’s greatest green space, Hyde Park. Its residents can boast a palace, lake and horse riding stables virtually in their front garden, all in Zone 1.

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The Albert Memorial – Hyde Park
Italianate Garden, Hyde Park

 

The amazingly varied restaurants and food stores that line up along Queensway reflect its cultural mix.   The area has some unusual contrasts. Bayswater is cosmopolitan yet comfortable, cutting edge yet cultured. There’s a strong sense of community here with a residents’ association and local magazine. There are many shared garden squares. As a result, people tend to know their neighbours.

Historically famous for London’s first department store Whiteleys, as well as for having the highest concentration of hotels in London, the Bayswater of today has changed a lot. Many of the hotels are undergoing conversion into residential blocks. Also there are big plans to develop Whiteleys and inject new life into Queensway. The architecture here is among some of the most impressive in London. Bayswater property includes grand white stucco terraces and garden squares.

Once here, residents tend to stay. Families take advantage of the good schools in the area, while professional couples and singles appreciate the easy commute to Central London. Finally,  they all enjoy the vast choice of local shops and restaurants.

Interesting Facts

  • A 1912 statue of Peter Pan stands in nearby Kensington Gardens, a location that inspired author JM Barrie. It is now a ‘talking statue’, which you can activate using a smartphone.
  • From the street, 23 and 24 Leinster Gardens look like normal houses but they are actually facades hiding an open section of the London Underground.
  • Many local streets are named after the River Westbourne, which had waters so pure they were once piped to the City. When the area was developed the Westbourne was diverted into underground channels and became one of London’s ‘lost rivers’.

Bayswater property and architecture.

Some grand Georgian squares and terraces exist in Bayswater. However, real urbanisation began with the arrival of the railway in Paddington in 1838. The first properties were plain cottages to house the railway workers, and modest homes for the area’s earliest residents. However first with artists and then wealthy merchants soon flooded in. As the area grew more affluent the properties became more grand. The smart Italianate terraces of the 1850s and ornate piles dating from around 1890 are still among the most desirable properties here.

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Porchester Square

Bayswater spent much of the 20th century in decline, with houses being split up into bedsits or converted into budget hotels. However, influxes of Middle Eastern, American and Brazilian populations, as well as government money, have helped transform Bayswater into the cosmopolitan part of London that it is today.

The majority of Bayswater property consists of smart, large white stucco fronted buildings that are four or five storeys high. These are often split into flats and many are arranged around attractive garden squares. The Hallfield Estate is a large postwar council estate designed by the architect Berthold Lubetkin, popular with fans of the mid-century style. Bayswater is also home to contemporary high spec apartment blocks. While flats dominate the property market, there are also some wonderful mews houses and five and six bedroom family houses in and around Connaught Square.

 

Going out

Eating: For British cuisine with some surprising twists, try Hereford Road. Head for Moroccan Sahara for a North African platter (bring your own bottle), or for a taste of Persia pop into Hafez. Locals return again and again to the traditional Cypriot Aphrodite Taverna. Local Greek restaurant, Halepi is also particularly popular.

Drinking: The Leinster Arms is a classic British pub with a traditional menu, as is the King’s Head. The Porchester, a recently refurbished bar with ‘posh pub grub’ is a little further from the park. The Swan prides itself on being family friendly, or if cocktails are your preferred tipple, pop into the underground Old Mary’s in the old servants’ quarters of what is now The Mitre Townhouse.

Visit: Take a stroll around Kensington Palace, where you can view the State apartments, galleries and grounds for a real insight into royal life. From there, head over to the Serpentine Gallery in Hyde Park, a favourite place for modern and contemporary art. For those of a more scientific bent, the Alexander Fleming Laboratory Museum is in Paddington, where you can see the laboratory in which Fleming discovered penicillin. If nostalgia appeals, pop over to the Museum of Brands and Packaging in nearby Notting Hill.

Culture: The Print Room is an arts space in an old Coronet cinema. The building is home to a vibrant fringe theatre and the plan is to restore the cinema itself as well. Every Sunday Bayswater Road becomes one big art gallery, with more than 150 artists and craftspeople displaying their work.

Whiteleys

Local amenities

  • One of the big attractions of Bayswater is Whiteleys Shopping Centre, which is home to a host of high street names, as well as boutiques, restaurants and a cinema.
  • Among other treats in the area visit luxury chocolatier Artisan du Chocolat and upmarket bakery Cocomaya. Seek out BoConcept for sleek modern furniture and The Dresser for designer clothing at sale prices.
  • The Idler Academy is a bookshop where you can get coffee, but doubles as a centre where you can take classes in such diverse activities as calligraphy, philosophy and self-defence.
  • One of only a handful of ice rinks in the Capital, Queen’s Ice and Bowl also offers 12 lanes of ten-pin bowling while All Star Lanes is also a popular choice.

  • The Porchester Spa was a Victorian municipal baths and has been lovingly restored to its former glory to offer saunas, steam rooms and a plunge pool.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Paddington Library offers employment advice, reading groups and a programme of activities for young children.

Green spaces

Set in the very heart of London, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens make up more than 600 acres of green space, separated by the Serpentine and Long Water, and there is plenty to do and see in both parks. Hyde Park is home to the famous Speakers’ Corner, as well as memorials to the Holocaust and to Princess Diana. There is the chance to take part in many activities, including football, tennis, swimming in the lido, cycling and horse riding. Hyde Park also plays host to many different events, from rock concerts to Proms in the Park to the annual Winter Wonderland. Kensington Gardens includes pretty Italian gardens with fountains, the Diana Memorial Playground, the Albert Memorial, designed by George Gilbert Scott, and the Serpentine Gallery, enhanced by its recent Zaha Hadid designed extension.

Changing times

Bayswater property is being snapped up for redevelopment. Many of these are hotel buildings. In addition,  recently a record £27 million was paid for a 300 year old pub for conversion into luxury flats. An overseas investor has purchased Whiteleys and a large chunk of Queensway itself. The intention is to turn the area into a ‘shopping and eating out village’. Also plans to redevelop Waitrose in Porchester Road will create a social hub. Finally, the arrival of Crossrail at Paddington station in 2018 will mean the journey to Liverpool Street station becomes just 10 minutes.

Transport

Bayswater Underground station is in Zone 1, offering Circle and District Line services. Other nearby stations include Royal Oak, Queensway, Edgware Road, Lancaster Gate and Paddington.

Paddington station offers services to the western suburbs and beyond. Destinations include Devon, Cornwall, Bristol and Wales. Also there is the Heathrow Express, which will take you to the airport in 15 minutes.

There are superb bus connections to all over London. Take the 7 (Russell Square), the 23 (Liverpool Street), the 27 (Chalk Farm), and the 70 (Acton)

Bayswater is a 25 minute drive from the M4 and M25.

Great road access means it’s only 25 minutes to Heathrow airport.

Education

Bayswater and its surrounding areas provide a wealth of choice for parents when it comes to schools. For younger children, try St Mary of the Angels Catholic Primary, Hallfield Primary, or St Stephen’s Church of England Primary. At secondary level, Westminster Academy and Holland Park School have good reputations. Otherwise pick one of the independent schools in the area.            Choose Wetherby School at prep level and Lansdowne College or Tabernacle School at senior level. While City of Westminster College is close by and offers a range of further education courses.

 

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