Joel Takes England #3 – The Paddington Trail

It’s hard to believe this is already my third blog post from England! Time sure does fly!

This week was a bit of a more relaxed one which was certainly nice, I explored my town Guildford a bit more and got more accustomed to where things are and how to get around. I can’t wait to really start venturing out and exploring the local castle, monastery ruins and forests! So much history and adventure filled stories to soak up!

Last weekend I traveled back into London and stayed in an AMAZING airbnb location just sound of the Thames. The clock tower at Gipsy Hill is a renovated clock-tower from a church built in 1862. The church burned down in the 1980’s and all that remained was the 125 foot tower which was then bought and renovated into an amazing home! It felt like the coziest little castle inside and the views from the top of the tower were incredible. Walking up the winding stone staircase and past the clock mechanism was such a cool experience and I hope I can stay there again! The people living there are a really nice group of friends and the vibe was really peaceful and cool. If you’re ever looking for a unique place to stay definitely try that one!

Luke had mentioned to me that one of his favourite stories was Paddington Bear and so it quickly became an excuse to venture into London to follow the newly formed “Paddington Trail”. Created to promote the upcoming film Paddington Bear, the city of London released 50 bears into the streets of the city. Of course, only statues of bears, which were individually designed by celebrities like Nicole Kidman, Benedict Cumberbatch and David Beckham as well as politicians, public figures and the stars of the film. The trail takes you across the city and lets you visit some of the most iconic landmarks of London.

 

We started just off London Bridge and quickly found our first bear, “Tastes of Peru” tucked in next to Borough Market. After a quick stroll down to the River Thames, we found a row of bears such as one paying tribute to Shakespeare outside the Globe Theatre. We wandered across the Millennium Bridge (Harry Potter film fans will now the significance!) and found another bear guarding St.James Cathedral.

 

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After a bit of wandering (I got lost) we found ourselves at the museum Of London and the Sherlock Bear designed by Sherlock star, Benedict Cumberbatch. The museum also had a small exhibit of original Paddington materials, props from the film and the typewriter that Michael Bond used to write some of the original books.

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We wandered through the streets of downtown London for a short time more, finding a few bears in the peacefulness of the Sunday afternoon, certainly the best time to go exploring since there were no crowds (yet). Then we made our way up to Oxford Circus where the crowds quickly swallowed us up. Unbeknownst to us, nearby Regent Street was turning on the Christmas Lights that night and thousands of people showed up to watch and sing and see the fireworks. We quickly found our twinkling Bear blue and then made the quick tube trip up to the original Paddington, Paddington Station.

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We ended our day of searching where the books and Paddington’s journey in London begins, in Paddington Station where a simple bear statue welcomed us to an almost empty platform.

 

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If you happen to be in London this winter, definitely try to find a few of the bears, they’re beautiful made and it’s a fun way to explore new parts of the city! I can’t wait to watch the film now!

 

 

 

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