Paddington station is located on the far north-west corner of the central London area, so you will be taking public transport on to all other popular tourist destinations, when arriving at Paddington by train.
Hence using my insights from being a Londoner, who frequently has to plan trips around the city centre for someone who prefers to avoid using stairs, to come up with this guide to accessing London’s most popular tourist attractions from Paddingon.
The focus is on what’s easiest, so where relevant alternative step-free routes have been included; though comparatively few Underground stations in central London have step-free access by lift (elevator) between the trains and the streets.
The deep-level ‘tube’ lines, the Bakerloo, Central, Jubilee, Northern, Piccadilly and Victoria, are only included when they are absolutely the most logical option.
Also good to know is how the railway links to central London can be accessed, because at Paddington the different options are scattered around the station.
The trains to the other London stations use three separate parts of Paddington station:
The Elizabeth line station is right beside the main station building, parallel to platform 1.
The platforms in the Elizabeth line station can be accessed by lifts (elevators) and escalators.
The Circle line via Victoria trains, which travel along the north bank of the River Thames, plus the 'tube trains' of The Bakerloo line, which travel across the western side of central London, can both be accessed from the Underground station, which is by the main concourse.
Though the access to the Bakerloo line is by escalator, there is no lift (elevator) down to the trains.
The route to the eastbound Circle line via Victoria, which are the trains towards The Thames, is solely by stairs, there is a footbridge within the station; it's painted red as seen in the image below.
The trains which travel along the northern edge of central London, the Circle via King's Cross and the Hammersmith & City lines, use a separate Underground station which is at the other end of the station, adjacent to platforms 12 and 14.
In this Underground station a lift (elevator) is available between the ticket hall and the trains, but the route to this station which avoids stairs, is the long way round.
From the concourse on you need to head to the passage way which also leads to the taxi rank.
At the end of this passage way there are escalators, which are pictured below, and lifts (elevators) up to the taxi rank.
Head up to the taxi rank because the pathway which leads to this Underground station, is over to the left of the taxis.
The short-cut route to this Underground station is to use the staircases that are by the rear of the trains which arrive at platforms 1 to 10, each pair of platforms has its own separate staircase.
The notes on how to reach each station below will include which part of the station you'll need to head to in order to take the optimum onward train.
The Natural History Museum and The Science Museum and The Victoria and Albert Museum are all located on the aptly named Exhibition Road in South Kensington.
These museums are a five minute walk north of South Kensington underground station, through a subway which leads off from the ticket hall.
Take an eastbound Circle line train from the part of the Underground station that’s directly by the main concourse, which the District line also uses.
Though the access to the trains will involve going up and over a footbridge, so an easier option can be taking bus route 23 from stop E on Eastbourne Terrace, by the Elizabeth line station and leaving the bus at the Exhibition Road stop.
Or if your train to Paddington calls at Ealing Broadway, then transfer there to the District line as it goes direct from there to South Kensington.
Trafalgar Square is the location of The National Gallery and the separate National Portrait Gallery, plus Horse Guard’s Parade and The Churchill War Rooms, which is just off The Mall, are within a few minutes walk..
From Paddington take the southbound Bakerloo line direct to Charing Cross and then when you get to the station, use the exit on to Trafalgar Square.
A clutch of tourist destinations are located on the south bank of the River Thames between Waterloo and Westminster Bridges.
They include The London Eye and The Sea Life London Aquarium and The London Dungeon and The South Bank Centre including The Hayward Gallery.
From Paddington take the southbound Bakerloo line direct to Waterloo.
Waterloo underground station is within a five minute walk of all these attractions, though the station has multiple exits, so take your time and use the maps and signs, so that you use the exit with the easiest access to where you will be heading.
An option is to go direct on an eastbound Circle line train, from the Underground station at Paddington used by the trains which travel from Hammersmith, to Tower Hill station, as it is a few minutes walk from the main entrance into the Tower Of London.
Though it’s a long journey of 11 stops and the Circle line trains tend to depart only every 10 – 15mins.
So the alternative is to take an eastbound Elizabeth line train to Whitechapel and then connect there for any westbound District line train to Tower Hill.
It’s a greater distance to travel, but despite that it will typically be more than 10 minutes faster.
A clutch of tourist destinations are located in the London Bridge area including Borough Market (best experienced on a weekend), The Shard and HMS Belfast the south side access to Tower Bridge, plus the attractions in the adjacent Bermondsey Street area such as the Fashion and Textile Museum and The White Cube Gallery, plus on weekends, The Ropewalk.
The typically quickest route from Paddington to London Bridge is to take the Bakerloo Line to Baker Street, where a short walk through a passage way connects to the eastbound Jubilee Line.
At London Bridge underground station
Though if you would rather avoid taking the Underground then an alternative route is to take the Elizabeth line to Farringdon where a lift (elevator) is now available to the southbound Thameslink trains; and there will typically be twelve departures per hour from Farringdon on to London Bridge.
For Borough Market use the exit on to Tooley Street and turn left, for HMS Belfast and Tower Bridge use the same exit and turn right, for The Shard and Bermondsey Street use the exits on to St Thomas Street.
Madame Tussauds is adjacent to Baker Street Underground station, it is on the next block, but taking the bus is the easiest means of reaching The Zoo.
The only bus route which stops right by London Zoo’s entrance is the 274
and at Baker Street it departs from bus stop C, take the bus heading to Angel, Islington.
To head to Baker Street from Paddington go direct on any eastbound Circle line or Hammersmith and City line train from the Underground station at Paddington used by the trains which travel from Hammersmith.
When heading to Westminster Abbey and the area around the Houses of Parliament from Paddington, the eastbound Circle line trains, which share the part of the Underground station at Paddington used by the District line, provide a direct connection to Westminster.
However, the access to these trains is comparatively awkward, because it involves walking up and over a footbridge within the Underground station.
Hence the easier and faster option being a southbound Bakerloo train to Baker Street, where a simple as can be level transfer is available to the southbound Jubilee line on to Westminster.
The Covent Garden area, which is where the London Transport Museum is located, is now most easily accessed from Paddington by taking the eastbound Elizabeth line to Tottenham Court Road.
At that station a new exit on Charing Cross Road east is a 10-15 min walk to the market.
The simplest route is to head towards Shaftesbury Avenue and then turn left into Neal Street.
The eastbound Circle line trains, which share the part of the Underground station at Paddington used by the District line. provide a direct connection to Victoria, but the access to these trains is comparatively awkward as it involves walking up and over a footbridge within the Underground station.
Hence the easier and faster option being a southbound Bakerloo train to Baker Street where a simple as can be level transfer is available to the southbound Jubilee line to Green Park.
Unusually for a central London underground station, step-free access by a series of lifts (elevators) between train and street is available at Green Park, but lifts (elevators) to the Bakerloo line are not available at Paddington.
The easiest option for a Paddington to Greenwich journey is to take an eastbound Elizabeth line train to Farringdon and then connect there for a Thameslink train to Greenwich.
Though there are only typically two trains per hour, which are direct to Greenwich from Farringdon; these trains will typically be heading to Rainham.
So if the waiting time for one of these trains is more than 15 minutes, you may as well take the first train heading to London Bridge station, then where you arrive there, head over to platform 1 for a train on to Greenwich.
Take the eastbound Elizabeth line to Stratford and connect there for the Jubilee line to North Greenwich, step-free access is available to the Jubilee line at Stratford and the trains commence their journeys there, so if you don't rush to join the next departure, seats will be available.
Take the southbound Bakerloo line to Marylebone station and transfer there to a Chiltern Trains service to Wembley Stadium station.
The easiest route from Paddington station to the Sky Garden is to take the eastbound Elizabeth line to Farrringdon and connect there for an eastbound Metropolitan or Circle line train to Aldgate station; at Farringdon don't board a Hammersmith & City line train, which will be heading to Barking.
The Sky Garden will then be an 8 - 12 min walk along Fenchurch Street.
Take the southbound Bakerloo line to Oxford Circus and connect there for the southbound Victoria line to Pimlico station as it is an 8 to 15 walk to Tate Britain Tate Britain.
Then on arrival at Pimlico, head to the gallery's side entrance by crossing over Vauxhall Bridge Road on to John Islip Street and turning right into Atterbury Street.
Or if you would rather avoid the Tube, the slower option is taking an eastbound Circle line train from the part of the Underground station that’s directly by the main concourse, that the District line also uses.
Leave this train at Westminster and connect for bus routes 87 or 88 from the Parliament Square bus stop on Whitehall.
The optimum route for a Paddington to Tate Modern transfer is to take the eastbound Elizabeth line to Farringdon and connect there for a Thameslink train to Blackfriars.
Board into the front of any train and use the southside exit at Blackfriars, the main entrance to Tate Modern is then within a 3 minute walk.
On Monday to Saturday there are two optimum rotes from Paddington to St Paul's cathedral;
(1) Take the eastbound Elizabeth line to Farringdon and connect there for any southbound train to City Thameslink station, board into the front of the train for easy access to the exit on Ludgate Hill.
The advantage of the route is that the walk from Ludgate Hill leads up to the front of the cathedral, where its main entrance is located.
Also lifts (elevators) are available to from the trains at all of the stations.
(2) ) take the eastbound Elizabeth line Tottenham Court Road and connect there for an eastbound Central line train to St Paul's station.
This is the only option on a Sunday, because City Thameslink station is only open from Monday to Saturday.
Take the District line train or a Circle line via Victoria train to Bayswater.
The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew are some distance from Paddington station, but the relatively straightforward transfer is to take a District line train to Earl's Court, where a simple as can be cross-platform transfer will be available into a train heading to Kew Gardens station.
Though take care to board a train which will be heading to Richmond.
I wanted to share my passion for train travel and explain how anyone can take the fantastic journeys I have taken.
This is one of more than 100 train travel guides available on ShowMeTheJourney, which will make it easier to take the train journeys you want or need to make. As always, all images were captured on trips taken by ShowMeTheJourney.
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