Sitting to the West of Regent’s Park and close to Paddington Station, the compact, classy area of Maida Vale has routinely been eclipsed by glamorous neighbours such as St John’s Wood and Marylebone. Characterised by leafy streets, small parades of independent shops, pretty mansion blocks and the Little Venice Canal flowing through, it feels much further into the depths of North London than the Zone 2 and Borough of Westminster location it offers.
Of course, the Maida Vale residents are well aware of the area’s charms, and have dedicated themselves to keeping the area as secluded as possible - hence why despite various celebrity residents, you’ll rarely see it mentioned in the tabloids in the way Primrose Hill or Highgate is. The BBC Studios on Delaware Road bring media professionals and successful musicians to this pocket of London, joined by city professionals and their families. It’s rare to see a student here, or anyone seeking a big night out - rather than bars and clubs the area is populated by organic cafes and gastropubs with a strong foodie following.
Aside from easy access to top-notch food and drink, the two main draws of Maida Vale are arguably the location and the canal. Central London is a walk or a speedy tube ride away, as is the green expanse of Regent’s Park, while the addition of Crossrail to the area in 2018 will cut down commuting times even further. Meanwhile, even now the canal still feels like a throwback to smaller city and a more simple time, lined with trees and colourful houseboats.
If you’re looking for somewhere central yet understated with a large dollop of charm then there’s very little not to like about Maida Vale. Even the prices, which are relatively high, are lower on average than neighbouring Paddington and St John’s Wood. Perhaps’s it’s time to start seriously considering that dream of living on a quaint houseboat after all…
On a map
Maida Vale is located in the Borough of Westminster. It sits to the south of St John’s Wood and to the north of Marylebone in Zone 2. The postcode is W9.
History of Maida Vale London
Named after the Hero of Maida pub, Maida Vale was just woodlands and pasture owned by the Bishop of London until the late 18th century. Building began tentatively with some houses and villas in the early 1800s, but it wasn’t until the Jewish community arrived in the 1880s that things really took off and the mansion blocks started to be built. The tube station opened in 1915 bringing many more people to the area, and the renowned BBC studios were created out of the former Maida Vale Roller Skating Palace in the 1930s.
The reason Maida Vale is unusually dominated by mansion blocks rather than the Georgian and Victorian terraces found nearby is due to the fact that the land was owned by the Church Commissioners until the late 1890s, who resisted development and wanted to keep the area as it was to avoid ‘unsavoury’ non-middle class tenants. Once the began to develop residentially after this, mansion blocks had become the most practical and profitable option and were also considered to be fashionably European, so they quickly sprung up across W9.
Transport from Maida Vale London
Maida Vale is relatively well-connected in terms of transportation and commuting. It has an underground station on the Bakerloo line, with a journey to Oxford Circus taking 14 minutes, and Waterloo 18 minutes. The area is served by a number of buses, and for national travel as well as the District and Circle lines, Paddington station is only a mile away.
The area is set to get even better connected in 2018, when a Crossrail station will arrive at Paddington - an addition that will cut down journey times to Liverpool Street from 30 minutes to a mere 10 minutes!
Cost of living in Maida Vale London
Property in Maida Vale largely consists of attractive, historic Edwardian and Victorian mansion blocks which have been updated for modern living yet still retain period features. Houses are a rare find here, but if you’re looking for something modern the scheduled arrival of Crossrail has encouraged new developers to invest in Paddington and surrounding areas such as Maida Vale, leading to a number of contemporary new apartment buildings springing up.
Crossrail will also likely have the knock-on effect of a rise in rental prices in what is already an expensive area. Rent in Maida Vale is significantly more expensive than in neighbouring areas such as Notting Hill, Queen’s Park and Bayswater, but it still comes in slightly cheaper than St John’s Wood and Paddington.
As of February 2016, the average rental price of a two bedroom apartment in Maida Vale is £3200 per month, although similar properties can be found starting at £1600.
Restaurants in Maida Vale London
It may look like your standard updated Victorian pub from the outside, but the Truscott Arms goes above and beyond the usual gastropub fare with their innovative menu, award-wining chef (previously of Heston Blumenthal’s Dinner) and famously good Sunday dinner - not to mention the original Victorian fittings and the four floors of dining rooms! Come for a full meal including the likes of scallops with bacon and canon of lamb, or just relax in the ground-floor bar with a glass of wine and a crispy pig sharing board.
Address: 55 Shirland Rd, London W9 2JD
Phone: 020 7266 9198
Part of a popular Thai chain that’s managed that near-impossible task of maintaining quality as they've grown, the Banana Tree serves up an excellent combination of tasty, filling food at reasonable prices. The decor is modern with exposed brick walls and canteen seating, while the menu is inspired by Indochina, so you’ll see the likes of laksa, Thai green curry and sweet and sour chicken on offer. A great spot for a weeknight supper or a catch up with friends.
Address: 166 Randolph Ave, London W9 1PG
Phone:020 7286 3869
Sushi fan? Most Maida Vale locals will tell you that Maguro is the place to go to get your fix of sushi, sashimi and other Japanese delights. Small and minimal inside, the food is the centre of attention here, with highlights such as rainbow rolls and plump, crisp gyoza dumplings. It’s so popular that you’ll need to book in advance for the weekends, otherwise settle for the takeaway option!
Address: 5 Lanark Pl, London W9 1BT
Phone:020 7289 4353
Shops in Maida Vale London
Sort out your garden or just pick up some pretty plants for the living room at Clifton Nurseries, the oldest garden centre in London. As well as selling an array of plants, pots and gardening accessories, Clifton Nurseries also has a popular cafe set in a tranquil greenhouse, the perfect spot for afternoon tea and a decadent slice of cake.
Address: 5A Clifton Villas, London W9 2PH
Phone: 020 7289 6851
There’s no better place in Maida Vale to get the meat for your Sunday roast ( or your Monday sausages) than Sheepdrove Organic Butcher on Clifton Road, which stocks produce from the family-run Sheepdrove Organic Farm in Berkshire. The meat is of the highest quality, and the friendly butchers are always happy to recommend a cut or dispense some meat-related knowledge.
Address: 5 Clifton Rd, London W9 1SZ
Phone:020 7266 3838
Forget picking up that bargain bottle of plonk from Tesco and treat yourself to the good stuff at the Winery, Maida Vale’s dedicated independent wine merchant. As well as stocking a range of bottles from around the world (with particular emphasis on Germany and California), they also offer tasting events to help customers learn more about different grape varieties and what to look out for.
Address: 4 Clifton Rd, London W9 1SS
Phone: 020 7286 6475
Things to do in Maida Vale London
He’s known throughout the world for discovering penicillin, but few people know that Alexander Fleming actually lived in Maida Vale - and as a result, has a small laboratory museum dedicated to him at St Mary’s Hospital. A reconstruction of Fleming’s lab as well as displays and videos have been created to show visitors just how he discovered this essential antibiotic, making it a key place to visit for anyone interested in the history of medicine.
Housed in a building dating from 1909 and made up of seven different BBC sound studios, the Maida Vale studios have seen all sorts of famous musicians and performers pass through their doors to perform over the years. Live Lounge recordings for BBC Radio 1 and programs for BBC Radio 4 are produced here among other things, and you can apply for audience tickets and tours on their website.
Address: 120-129 Delaware Rd, London W9 2LG
Phone: 020 8743 8000
Little Venince Canal
There are few better ways to spend a sunny day in Maida Vale than exploring Little Venice Canal, which runs from Little Venice all the through to Docklands, passing by sights such as London Zoo on the way. Take a picnic to enjoy under the trees by the grassy banks, or just sit back and watch the brightly-coloured canal boats float by.
Address: Little Venice, London