Paddington is the most famous bear in England. On Christmas Eve 1956, Michael Bond bought the last toy bear on a shelf as a gift for his wife. Over Christmas, Bond began to imagine the adventures the bear might have living in London. The first book of a series dedicated to this well-meaning bear was published in 1958 : “A bear called Paddington.”
After years of kids loving this bear, Paddington hits the big screen for the first time! Coming out in the theatres in England on the 28th of November, it is the perfect feel-good movie to see with your family for Christmas!
You can also visit London following the Paddington Trail and seeing many places where the movie was shot, but also exhibits or places that are important in the story of Paddington. In London, a lot of artists were asked to dress a Paddington for a statue and many big statues of the bear can be seen in the whole city of London. Just like during the Olympic games of 2012 where we could see different statues of the mascot of the Games, now it’s Paddington, just to show you how important and how much loved this bear is in England! Here are the places you should visit to follow Paddington’s footsteps.
That’s where you should start. In the story, Paddington is a small bear coming from Peru. Having a Peruvian name very hard to pronounce in English language, the family Brown calls him Paddington, the name of the station where they find him and the little bear likes his new name. Also Michael Bond called his bear Paddington because he was living close by the station.
Today, Paddington has become so famous that there is a bronze statue inside the station for him. People usually sit there to have a sandwich or check their iphone, but I got them to move to get a photo of him!
There is also a shop completely dedicated to the special bear.
That is the shop where Michael Bond bought a teddy bear for his wife on Christmas Eve 1956, that’s what gave him the inspiration for his stories. Selfridges is a department store on Oxford Street, the biggest shopping street in London. They have beautiful windows with Paddington and sell Paddington’s favourite treat: marmelade.
And right now, there is a small exhibit on the ground floor with Paddington’s stories and some artefacts that belonged to Michael Bond. You can also dress like Paddington for a picture.
And don’t miss the Christmas toys and decorations on the 4th floor.
In the story, that’s where Paddington goes shopping, and in the film, that’s where the family Brown takes Paddington to try to find the explorer. Portobello is a place with lots of antique shops and where you can find all sorts of things.
Natural History Museum
In the film, that is where Nicole Kidman is a taxidermist and wants Paddington stuffed. The Natural History Museum is an absolutely beautiful building which is worth a visit for itself but it houses lots of interesting animals and objects, story of the planet, etc. The big dinosaur in the main hall is quite impressive.
Black Taxi Tours
See the beautiful main sites of London like Paddington with a black taxi tour, and see Big Ben with Paddington’s eyes! The taxi driver will give you information about the sites and you can stop to take pictures. Of course, don’t miss the Queen’s house: Buckingham Palace. In the movie Paddington, I finally understood why the guards have such a high hat? It’s to put their sandwiches inside!
After you have seen the different places where the movie Paddington was filmed, you can also visit a few exhibits about the Paddington Bear in general. And you can also have a Paddington afternoon tea to relax in between.
Museum of London
The Museum of London houses the exhibit: “A bear called Paddington” until January 4th 2015, it’s a small exhibit celebrating the story of London’s favourite bear.
The exhibit is quite small, so you should visit the permanent exhibits at the same time which describe the history of the city; it’s all free entry. You can also visit the temporary exhibit about Sherlock Holmes for £12.55 (until April 12th, 2015)
House of Illustration
The House of Illustration just opened this year in July 2014. As the film Paddington is coming out, they have a special exhibit “Paddington: Illustrated and Animated”; it shows how Paddington has been drawn and pictured all these years since he was invented until the head used in the film.
Paddington afternoon tea at Athenaeum Hotel & Apartments, Mayfair
The afternoon tea is an institution in London, you have sandwiches, cakes, sweets and you can choose between different kinds of tea. The special Paddington one at Athenaeum Hotel & Apartments, Mayfair include lots of delicacies with marmalade, Paddington’s favourite food.
Where to stay in London: the Lancaster Hotel
The Lancaster Hotel is a beautiful family friendly 4 stars hotel located close by the Paddington station, with view on Hyde Park. They offer a special Paddington family package for the holidays. It is a great place to stay to go on a visit across London following Paddington’s footsteps. You can book a hotel in London on this website.
If you want to find a Paddington bear, you can find it here: