paddingtonVisitBritain/Joanna Henderson

One of the world’s best loved bears will be given the star treatment this year, when the new Paddington movie is released. Following the iconic children’s character’s adventures through Britain, the film is set make kids – and adult fans – want to follow in the hero’s ‘pawsteps.’ Here’s how to get started…

The Paddington Trail

VisitLondon.com, The NSPCC and STUDIOCANAL have recently announced The Paddington Trail. Designed by a host of artists, designers and celebrities, 50 Paddington Bear statues will be placed across the capital, taking in museums, parks, shops and landmarks in an exciting and inspiring trail, with a colourful, Paddington inspired flavour. The Paddington Trail will track the ursine traveller’s favourite places in London while celebrating the capital’s art, culture and innovation in advance of the film’s release in British cinemas on 28 November 2014. www.visitlondon.com/paddington

Brit Movie Tours

Next year visitors to London will be able to embark on an adventure around London as BritMovie Tours launches its three-hour Paddington tour dedicated to the Peruvian bear and the inspirations behind the film. Available to the public from Easter 2015 there may be special preview tours available for media from the end of November when the film is released in Britain. http://britmovietours.com/bookings/paddington-bear-tour-london

Chester Zoo

bearChester Zoo

Meet the real-life Paddington! Or, at least, the inspiration for the beloved character. Paddington comes from ‘deepest, darkest Peru’ – and the only bear that hails from South America is the Spectacled Bear (also sometimes known as Andean Bears). Chester Zoo, around an hour by train from Manchester, is home to two of these bears – with white rings around their eyes (no two bears have the same pattern). The male bear, Bernardo, arrived at the zoo in June this year and, along with his female companion, Franka, you can watch them rummage for food – one of their favourite pastimes. Ensuring their habitat at the zoo is close to their natural one, their zookeepers give them different foods in different ways several times a day, which they then search around for. www.chesterzoo.org

Edinburgh Zoo

For the ultimate in cute and cuddly (to look at!), head to the home of Britain’s only giant pandas, Edinburgh Zoo. On loan from China, the zoo is home to female bear Tian Tian (whose name translates to 'sweetie' in Chinese) and male bear Yang Guang (whose name means 'sunshine'). Visitors can also meet the zoo’s two sun bears named Somnang and Rotana, who spend most of their time snoozing together and foraging for fruit and nuts. www.edinburghzoo.org.uk

Highland Wildlife Park

Scotland is also home to Britain’s only polar bears; up in the Cairngorms National Park you’ll find two male polar bears at the Highland Wildlife Park, living in the largest polar bear enclosure in Europe. Watch them at play in their large natural pool set in over four acres of land, which is typical of the polar bear's tundra environment. The park is seven miles from Aviemore, which is a 2.5 hour-drive from Edinburgh. www.highlandwildlifepark.org.uk

Dorset Teddy Bear Museum

Bears of all shapes, sizes and ages greet visitors at this family treat of a museum, the Teddy Bear Museum in historic market town of Dorchester, a historic market town less than three hours by train from London. Meet antique bears and contemporary bears, as well as the human-size teddy bears of Mr Edward Bear and his family in the Teddy Bear House! You can also take away memories of your time at the museum with a visit to its shop, which stocks a wide range of bear-brands. www.teddybearmuseum.co.uk

Teddy Bear Museum, London

You can meet Paddington Bear there… as well as Winnie the Pooh, the Muppets’ Fozzie Bear and hundreds of others. Once housed in Stratford-upon-Avon, this teddy bear museum has now moved to children’s theatre in south-west London, the Polka Theatre. And after you’ve looked at bears to your hearts’ content, enjoy a trip to the theatre with your little ones – there are plenty of plays on offer for all age groups. www.polkatheatre.com/editorial/teddy-bear-collection

Teddy Bear Story, Maindstone

Drawn from the V&A’s extensive collections of bears, this exhibition features nearly 100 rare teddy bears, as well as bears from books, TV and films, and has taken to the road this year. Divided into three themes – British Bears, Caring Sharing Bears and German Bears – the next exhibition is due to arrive at Maidstone Museum (until 2 November) in Kent, south-east England, around an hour’s train journey from London. www.museum.maidstone.gov.uk/exhibitions, www.museumofchildhood.org.uk/whats-on/exhibitions-and-displays/touring-exhibitions

Shopping

hamleysVisitBritain/ Ingrid Rasmussen

For all things Paddington – from cute keyrings, comfortable sweatshirts and cuddly bear toys, head to www.visitbritainshop.com. You’ll also find memorabilia of your favourite bear at markets such as London’s Portobello market.

For a multitude of soft furry friends, check out the largest toy shop in Britain – Hamleys, on London’s bustling Regent Street – and lose yourself in a cosy world of teddy bears and soft toys…including Paddington of course! www.hamleys.com

The station where our friend from Peru was first discovered – London’s Paddington station – is a natural spot to pick up a Paddington momento. As well as the station shop, you can stop and have your photo taken with the Paddington statue that you’ll pass by on your way there). www.paddington.com, www.paddington.com/stationshopnews2012.html

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