Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Memories of London's Paddington Trail

My husband first learned of our opportunity to live here in England on a business trip 2 years ago. He spent his last night of the trip in London, and wandered over to Hamley’s to buy the boys each a little gift. He was hoping to get them excited about our potential British adventures. His present to Little Arrow was a small Paddington Bear stuffed animal, and it has sat on a shelf in his room ever since. 

Beyond that bear, the boys were basically oblivious to Paddington. Let’s be honest, he doesn’t have quite the modern appeal of Frozen, Harry Potter, or the current favorite at our house, Lego Ninjago (ugh).

But I saw the trailer for the new Paddington Bear movie a few months ago, and I knew I absolutely had to introduce one of Britain’s most iconic and beloved children’s characters to my kids. In fact, when we went to see the film a few weeks ago, it was Little Arrow’s first time at the cinema. They adored it from the opening scene to the credits and now they’re hooked on all things Paddington. I’m excited to start reading the books with them.
Our Christmas Eve day trip to London came at the tail end of a temporary exhibit of more than 50 Paddington Bear sculptures around the city, called the Paddington Trail. Each was uniquely designed by a celebrity and Big Arrow quickly made it a goal to see as many as possible throughout the day. Fortunately several of them were along our planned route for the day so we were happy to indulge him.


I was so glad we started our tour of the trail at Selfridge's. Author Michael Bond got the idea for the Paddington books after buying a teddy bear for his wife at this iconic London department store. The window decorations (photos above) were completely Paddington-inspired, including Goldie, designed by supermodel Kate Moss. On the first floor, there were also lots of Paddington toys and collectables and several props from the movie on display.

Plus, we found Camouflage Paddington in the toy department (photo above). A hidden Paddington that wasn't even listed on the trail. The boys were impressed!

Then during our walk around the city, we found Sparkles (above) and Parka Paddington (below).

My favorite Paddington was Blush, pictured below, designed by the movie's villain, Nicole Kidman. Blush was in Leicester Square, in the middle of a fun Christmas market.

I thought we had found as many as we'd see, but then we raced by Rainbow Paddington near Covent Garden on our rush to catch our train. I'm pretty sure he's tipping his hat and wishing us a fond journey home.


The Paddington Bear movie opens in the U.S. this week. If you get a chance, it’s well worth seeing. Only prepare yourself, as your kids might be begging you to take them to London after! (And if you say yes and want more Paddington inspiration, I wrote this post about Paddington sites around London for Anglotopia.)
This post is a part of Friday Postcards at Walking on Travels.