Currently brightening up the streets of London are 50 unique statues of a very well loved bear. Paddington Bear to be precise. For those of you unfamiliar with the story of this adorable little bear, he came to London from deepest Peru and was found on the platform of Paddington station by the Brown family. Very polite and with a love of marmalade, he won the hearts of not only the Brown family, but those of children the world over, with the stories being translated into 40 languages and selling over 35 million copies.
You can find out more about why these statues have been made in the video below.
Whether you’re working in London or visiting the city, it’s a wonderful way to brighten up the otherwise rather gloomy winter months and perhaps take in some parts of the city you might not otherwise see.
With an amazing line up in terms of designers, you could have your photo taken next to a bear designed by David Beckham, Rhianna, Matthew Williamson, Sir Ian Botham, Boris Johnson, Peter Capaldi, Liam Gallagher, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, Kate Moss and many more. You could even win a limited edition Paddington by sharing your photos of you posing with Paddington on Instagram under the #PaddingtonTrail hashtag.
Of course you can try to see all 50 statues while you’re in London, but you could instead try one of four trails designed to allow you to take in the sights you want to visit while also being able to see as many of the statues as possible. There’s the Royal Parks Trail, The Paddington in Paddington Trail, River and Historical London Trail and of course seeing as it’s that time of year again they couldn’t miss out a Christmas Trail, which allows you to see lots of Paddington statues while you hit the shops and see some of the beautiful Christmas lights and attractions London is famous for. To print your very own Paddington Trail map or download the App, head to the Visit London website.
While you’re on Paddington’s trail, you might want to take in a few sights in the city associated with the character himself.
The ultimate in luxury shopping, Selfridges is infact where the story began. The book’s author, Michael Bond, bought a small bear left all alone on a shelf in Selfridges on the Christmas of 1956, as a Christmas present for his wife. It was this little bear, named after the train station closest to where Bond lived, that inspired the author to write several stories which later became the book ‘A Bear Called Paddington.’
You’ll find several of the trail bears featured in Selfridge’s famous Christmas window display this year and you can even buy your own mini replicas in The Paddington Curiosity Shop, both online and in store. The proceeds of which go straight to the NSPCC and ChildLine.
The world’s largest antiques market, made famous by the likes of Paddington who took a real liking to this famous and thriving market in London’s trendy Notting Hill. Open throughout the week, but with its busiest day on Saturday, when you’ll find an entire mile of stalls featuring everything you could possibly imagine from clothing and antiques to food stalls and street performers. If you’re looking to visit a market associated with Paddington Bear himself, it simply has to be Portobello Road!
Museum of London
You’ll find a showcase of Paddington Bear memorabilia at the Museum of London in their ‘A Bear Called Paddington’ exhibit. Including a collection of Paddington Bears from around the globe, original illustrations, props from the 1970s TV series, first edition copies of the book, fan mail and much more. It’s a wonderful place to visit for Paddington fans and can be seen until the 4th of January 2015.
Now you wouldn’t normally associate an ultra-modern building with Paddington, however he would no doubt highly approve of the amazing Paddington Bear themed afternoon tea at Aqua at The Shard. Served in a replica of Paddington’s very own suitcase, this afternoon tea is as impressive as the panoramic views from The Shard itself. You’ll find a selection of finger sandwiches, a choice of scones (including orange blossom) served with clotted cream and jam or marmalade and several exquisite pastries and sweet treats, including a delicious orange marmalade macaroon and the famous Shard opera cake, which is shaped like The Shard itself. A delectable treat for Paddington Bear fans.
Of course these are just a few of the places you could explore on your very own Paddington inspired trail of London, but there are many more to consider. So book your holiday accommodation in London today and get planning your very own Paddington trail!
You can find the Paddington Trail in London throughout November and until the 30th of December. Good luck on your bear hunt!