The writer and satirist William Makepeace Thackeray described 19th century Paddington as “elegant…prosperous…the most respectable district of the habitable globe.” Presumably, he meant it as a compliment. From June 2018, Pall Mall Barbers will be doing our very best to live up to his lofty standards at our newest branch in Paddington Central, Sheldon Square – definitely giving the best haircut in West London, if not the entire habitable globe. Aside from the statue of thatfamous bear in the station, Paddington is often overlooked by tourists and culture-seeking day-trippers – which is really all the better for those of us in search of quieter pleasures, far from the madding crowds. Here are our favourite diversions (so far) around our elegant and prosperous new home.
Best Haircut in West London
Puppet Theatre Barge
35 Blomfield Road, W9 2PF
The Puppet Theatre Barge has been delighting Paddington with its inventive marionette shows for more than thirty years now, and you don’t need to be a kid (or have one in tow) to get into the spirit aboard the cosy, fifty-five seat theatre. There’s a regular line-up of thoughtful, original programming aimed squarely at adults looking for something a bit out-of-the-ordinary – think humorous twists on your favourite fairy-tales, or eerily beautiful shadow puppet theatre performed in complete silence. It’s about as far from Punch and Judy as you can get, so go now. Why? Because everybody loves puppets!
Floating Pocket Park
Paddington, W2 1JX
It’s not just a cute name, you know – a “pocket park” is the technical term for a bit of greenery that’s too small for a kick around, but pleasant to eat your lunch in. And as the name suggests, this particular leafy escape can be found floating gently on the waters of the Paddington Basin canal. It’s more than just a space for relaxing on a lunch break, though – the little oasis of calm also has dedicated space for nesting birds, colourful scented flowers and electric boats for hire, so you can captain your own tour of Paddington, Camden and Little Venice. So serene, you’ll forget you’re just a stone’s throw from the A40.
Paddington Basin Bridges
S Wharf Road, W2 1NW
Did you knowthat there’s a special word to describe historical bridge-enthusiasts? It’s a “pontist” – come for the best haircut in West London, stay for the bridge-related facts and figures. Both seasoned and budding pontists alike will be delighted with the modern bridges spanning the Paddington Basin canals. On the far-west side, you’ve got the Rolling Bridge which was completed in 2005 and is still the only bridge of its type in the world. And a few minutes’ walk east gets you a glimpse of the Fan Bridge, which – well, once you see, you’ll get it. Be canalside at noon on Friday if you want to see them in full, glorious action – as soon as the clock strikes 12, the bridges begin to unfurl slowly, allowing boats to pass and any nearby pontists to marvel at these wondrous feats of 21st century engineering.
Alexander Fleming Museum
St Mary’s Hospital, Praed Street, W2 1NY
Housed on the grounds of St. Mary’s Hospital, the Alexander Fleming Museum is possibly a niche interest, but there’s no better way to kill an hour precisely between 10am to 1pm, Monday to Thursday. The princely sum of £4 gets you a glimpse of the laboratory where scientist Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin in 1928, and access to the displays telling the story of one of modern medicine’s greatest innovations. It’s actually more interesting than it sounds – there are more than a few twists and turns in the seventeen-year saga between Fleming’s discovery and his eventual Nobel Prize, awarded in 1945.
The Wallace Collection
Hertford House, Manchester Square, W1U 3BN
Pall Mall Barbers Paddington definitely gives the best haircut in West London, but you’ll need to go a bit further afield if you fancy some non-canal based culture. It’s a twenty-minute stroll from our Sheldon Square barbershop, but admission to the Wallace Collection is free, so you can’t say you didn’t get your time or money’s worth. The extensive art and decorative object collection of the 4th Marquess of Hertford (scandalously bequeathed to his illegitimate son) is best known for its 17th and 18th century French paintings, but there’s plenty to hold your attention if that’s not your thing. Those of a military mindset should check out the rather impressive display of arms, armour and early firearms on the ground floor. On the other hand, if your mind tends more towards the gutter, head upstairs and hunt down the collection of eyebrow-raising miniatures, tucked away discreetly in a corner display case. We couldn’t possibly say more, so you’ll just have to go see for yourself.
About Pall Mall Barbers
Known for giving the best haircut in West London, and a traditional service in a modern manner, Pall Mall Barbers has a long established history of providing hairdressing and grooming to gentlemen, dating back over 120 years. Founded in 1896 at No. 27 Whitcomb Street, The Pall Mall Toilet Saloon, as it was historically known, was a standout in St James’ and Pall Mall. Pall Mall Barbers has grown and evolved over the years, and across our 6 London locations in Trafalgar Square, Fitzrovia, Bishopsgate, King’s Cross, Westminster and Paddington, where we give the Best haircut in West London, we employ a staff with over 350 years of international barbering experience between them. We train our barbers on the fundamentals of exceptional hair cutting, beard shaping, and wet-shaving and base our service around educating our clients to help them get the best of their look and grooming routines. We produce award-winning grooming including a 5-Step Shave System for use at home and in barber shops, as well as a selection of styling and haircare products.
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