Shakespeare, Churchill, Paddington Bear. All great Londoners. And as for the latter of that bunch, extremely cute and cuddly.
Sadly, considering Elizabethan standards of cleanliness, Shakespeare probably stunk to high hell. Not so huggable. And Churchill, well, he just doesn’t seem to have been the cute and cuddly type.
So Paddington. Yes. He’s the one. The London bear (although, as any well read Londoner knows, he’s actually an immigrant from “deepest, darkets” Peru). The hero of a number of books including the first, A Bear Called Paddington, which was published in 1958, he’s also a brilliant souvenir or gift for someone back home.
Of course, the most logical place to look for London’s most beloved bear would be at Paddington Station, where the famous children’s book character was originally discovered with a note attached to his coat reading “please look after this bear, thank you.” And for visitors arriving on flights to London from abroad there’s a very good chance you will pass through this station, especially if you’re flying in or out of Heathrow International Airport. Paddington Station is the London terminal for the Heathrow Express, offering the quickest and easiest way to get to and from London and its busiest airport.
At this Central London station, there’s a lovely statue of Paddington Bear made by Marcus Cornish and based on the original drawings of Paddington by Peggy Fortnum. The adorable statue is located on the station concourse. It’s easy to find and provides the perfect scene for getting a great London photograph to show off once back home.
There’s also a small retail stand located nearby in the main station area near Millie’s Cookies. The little kiosk is stuffed full of Paddington dolls and memorabilia as well as exclusive items available to buy only here. And obviously you can purchase copies of the Paddington books from the stand. Prices ranging from under a pound (one pound equals about $1.60 at the time of this article being published) to hundreds of pounds. So there’s sure to be something for any budget. If you’re just starting your London trip or know someone planning to visit soon, a good idea might be to buy Paddington’s Guide to London, the only London guide book with a “bear’s eye view of London as told by Paddington himself.”
Even if you don’t want to shop, the colourful and cute Paddington Bear stand provides visitors passing through the station with a little extra delight and makes those daily commutes a little more bearable.