One of the best things about London is the fact that it is built out of lots of different districts and boroughs. Each new neighbourhood has something different and exciting to offer you, whether that’s a new cuisine, a fantastic art gallery, crazy jazz evenings or exciting new shops, there’s something for everyone. Here in this post you’ll know things to do & a little about the history of Queensway.
A particularly fascinating little area is Queensway (formerly Queen’s Road), which is a cosmopolitan street in Bayswater in the west of London. It’s particularly well known for its restaurants, especially its Chinese and Middle Eastern cuisine.
Due to London being so big, there isn’t really one centre of the city but, Queensway is considered one of the many, as there are so many different things to do. It’s a bustling street that’s full of life, largely thanks to being a Tube stop and there’s a couple of others that are nearby too. If you want to see how Londoners live their lives then it’s to Queensway you should head, even if you only spend a few hours here during your trip.
It might seem like a small area, but there’s so much packed into the space that you’ll be amazed at how the time flies when you’re here. We’ve pulled together just a few of the things that you can do when you visit Queensway and a little bit about its history too.
Due to being one of the centres of London, Queensway is unsurprisingly suitable as a place to stay when you visit the city.
There are lots of London city hotels to choose from, but we highly recommend The Shaftesbury Hyde Park International hotel on Bayswater Road. To get to Queensway Station from the hotel, all you have to do is walk four minutes around the corner and you’re there. It’s a very handy location and this particular Tube runs on the Central line, which can take you to Holland Park, Kensington High Street and beyond.
The hotel itself is perfect for anyone from couples on a weekend away, business travellers on a one-night trip or even families who are staying in the city for a whole week. Our rooms are spacious and we have lots of in-room amenities, as well as a full list that can be sent to your room on request, including cots if you are travelling with a young baby.
Although you may not know it, the oldest department store in London isn’t actually Harrods or Selfridges, it is in fact Whiteleys, which has the title of the first department store to open in the city.
Fans of musicals will notice that this is where Eliza Doolittle is sent by Henry Higgins – both characters from My Fair Lady – to be attired. Essentially, this is where Audrey Hepburn’s character was given her style after Rex Harrison’s Henry taught her how to speak and hold herself like a lady.
Although it might not be on the tip of everyone’s tongue, this department store is still hugely popular with many and it’s a luxurious stop on anyone’s travel itinerary, that’s for sure.
It’s not only great for shopping but the actual store looks incredible, with its sweeping staircases and sculpted pillars set into the exterior of the building. It certainly does make the building look very grand, it’s a treat just walking through the doors, make no mistake.
On the less grand scale of things in the area, but no less historic is Central Wash, which is right across the street from Whiteleys. This was in fact London’s very first coin-operated launderette and it has been servicing the people of the area and beyond since 1949.
Although this is a bit of history, you’re not going to get a lesson when you come here, as we said it’s still a functioning laundrette, so if you don’t have a pile of dirty clothes with you when you enter, you’re not going to come away with much. However, it’s a nice little bit of trivia about the area, especially considering its proximity to the very grand Whiteleys, so no-one will begrudge you a picture if you want to take one!
As we said, you can take the Central line from Queensway Station to Kensington High Street, but it will be just as nice for you to walk to Kensington Gardens.
This is one of the most beautiful sights in the city and it’s easy for you to lose several hours in here just looking at all the different sculptures, pieces of art and memorials that have been dedicated to people important to Britain.
Among the most famous areas in the gardens has to be the Diana Memorial Playground, which was opened in 2000 and has been a place of exploration for millions of children from all over the world every year since.
The playground was built near her home of Kensington Palace and was created to memorialise both her and her love of children. The design was inspired by the tale of Peter Pan, so you’ll see a pirate ship in Beachy Cove, the Mermaid Fountain, a Wigwam Camp and a Treehouse Encampment too, which will delight both little ones and adults alike.
Speaking of JM Barrie’s creation, Kensington Gardens is also home to the Peter Pan Statue, which is one of the most visited statues in the city. This is no mean feat, as there are many throughout London and each has its own compelling history. Fascinatingly, Barrie commissioned and paid for this statue himself and it stands in the same spot that he chose for it 100 years ago.
Peter stands on the edge of the lake in Kensington Gardens, where he landed in his bird nest boat that was made of twigs after adventuring from Bird Island. There are other JM Barrie spots to visit in the city if you’re a fan, but this one is an excellent place to start.
Don’t forget to stop by Kensington Palace itself, which is now the official residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. You can even go into the palace for tours and enjoy the creative art installations outside. They change frequently, so every time you go to see it will be a surprise.
A Little Bit of History
We’ve already told you some of the history of the area surrounding Queensway, but what about the Tube station itself?
Originally, the overground ticket hall at the station was called Queen’s Road and it was renamed Queensway in 1946. What’s interesting though, is that this Underground station is one of the few buildings that was first built as part of the Central London Railway.
Designed by Harry Bell Measures, it opened in July 1900 and was purpose-built with a flat roof so commercial development could take place above it. This way pretty savvy thinking by Mr Measures, as we’re sure not even he could have predicted just how much London would grow over the centuries.
If you’re looking for other places to investigate that are close to the area, you’re in luck, as Queensway is just minutes from Notting Hill Gate and Lancaster Gate. Whatever you do though, you’re sure to have fun and never, never be bored, as one Peter Pan might say.