My daughter and I loved seeing Paddington at the cinema. The film is based on the popular Michael Bond books about a young bear who arrives alone in London as a stowaway from darkest Peru looking for a new home. He’s adopted by the Brown family who find him at Paddington Station with a label around his neck which reads Please look after this bear. Thank you. I especially like the underlying messages of the film of kindness to people even if they look different to you and of welcoming refugees.
Paddington was filmed in London and you can visit many of the places featured on screen. This is how you can follow in Paddington’s paw prints in London.
Paddington Station is where Paddington meets the Brown family and acquires his human name. You can visit the railway station even if you’re not catching a train. There are several cafés at the station where you can have tea and cake like Paddington does with My Brown in the film. There’s also a Paddington Bear shop at the station selling Paddington toys and merchandise.
Natural History Museum
Paddington’s nemesis on screen is an evil taxidermist who works at the Natural History Museum and many scenes take place in this iconic London building. The Natural History Museum is a world class museum and you can visit it for free (although donations are welcome). The nearest tube station is South Kensington.
In the film Paddington takes refuge in a guard’s hut in front of the gates of Buckingham Place, the Queen’s London residence. The guard gives Paddington some food and drink from under his bearskin(!) hat. There isn’t actually a guard’s hut in front of the gates of the palace but you can walk up to the gates and see the guards in front of the palace itself. The nearest tube station is Victoria.
Windsor Gardens is the fictitious address of the Brown family’s home in West London. The street which was actually used as Windsor Gardens in the film is a residential street called Chalcot Crescent in Primrose Hill. You can walk along the street if you’d like to see it – the nearest underground station is Chalk Farm.
Paddington and Mrs Brown visit Mr Gruber at his antiques shop on the Portobello Road. Mr Gruber is a Hungarian refugee and he tells Paddington about how he came to London as a boy during WWII. You can visit Portobello Road – it’s a famous street in West London which is full of antique shops and stalls. Alice’s Antiques at number 36 stood in for Mr Gruber’s shop in the film. The nearest tube station is Ladbroke Grove.
The Geographers’ Guild
The scenes at the Geographers’ Guild were filmed at The Reform Club on Pall Mall. This is a private club so unless you’re a club member or a guest of a member then you won’t be able to go inside the building. The nearest tube station is Piccadilly Circus.
Where to stay
Many London hotels are offering Paddington family packages to coincide with the film. These include:
Have you seen Paddington or are you planning to see it? If you’ve seen it, what did you think?