South Kensington is one of the most visited parts of London, and for good reason. The main road running through, Exhibition Road, is a lively and fitting route past the iconic institutions and leads up to Hyde Park and the Albert Memorial. Architectural splendour abounds throughout the area ranging from the Italianate Brompton Oratory Catholic Church to the iconic Royal Albert All.
This elegant area has a strong French influence thanks to the large French population and the nearby Lycée Français and French Institute plus a sizeable student population. The Royal College of Art, Royal College of Music, Imperial College and numerous language schools are located in the vicinity as well as a number of embassies. There is also an abundance of restaurants and hotels, plus a self-styled ‘design quarter’ hosting a cluster of high-end furniture shops.
Kensington Palace, the official residence of the royal family’s younger set nestles in the heart of Kensington. This leafy area in the west of London boasts some of London’s most expensive real estate and offers a good mix of luxury vacation homes from grand Victorian villas to small contemporary apartments.
Handsome Victorian terraced houses abound offering spacious accommodation which is ideal for the larger family. Many of these huge properties have been converted into very stylish period apartments providing easy access to Kensington’s selection of pubs, restaurants and shops.
Tucked away down the side streets, you will find a wealth of cosy mews houses set around cobbled courtyards. Originally built a couple of centuries ago, they were constructed behind the grand terraced properties to house servants and horses and carriages. These quirky homes have benefitted from sympathetic renovations and offer distinctive character homes in which to stay.
Located in Kensington Gardens, it is one of London’s most ornate public ornaments. Public tours are available between March and December.
South Kensington is home to a cluster of free museums, making it the perfect destination for families and adults a like.
See art from the past 3000 years including ceramics, furniture, jewellery, fashion, sculpture, photography, textiles and paintings. A veritable feast for the eyes! Entry to The Victoria Albert Museum is free. The world’s greatest museum of art and design.The V A’s collections are unrivalled in their diversity. Explore historical and contemporary art and design, including works of art from many of the world’s richest cultures. See latest exhibitions at the V A…..
Come face to face with a giant T-Rex and experience an earthquake in the Power Within zone. Free entry. In winter,the Natural History Museum also hosts an ice-rink.A center of scientific excellence in the discovery of taxonomy and biodiversity, this world-famous museum promotes the discovery and enjoyment of the natural world through such exciting exhibits as the Life and Earth Galleries, wildlife garden and geological collections. Have a look at what’s on…..
Family-friendly for kids of all ages. The interactive Garden area is aimed at the under fives, while the hands-on Launchpad gallery is the perfect place for teenagers to wile away a few hours. Free entry. Some exhibitions are chargeable once inside. Welcoming over 3 million visitors a year, the Science Museum aims to make sense of the science that shapes our lives, inspiring visitors with iconic objects, award-winning exhibitions and incredible stories of scientific achievement. The Science Museum’s world-class collection forms an enduring record of scientific, technological and medical achievements from across the globe.
Host to the BBC Proms concerts each year which take place in the summer. As well as classical concerts, you can also see rock and pop gigs, ballet, opera and even tennis at this superb venue.
The Royal College of Art Next door to the Royal Albert Hall, this postgraduate art and design college holds regular exhibitions. Look out for up-and-coming artists and designers at the annual graduate shows.
The Royal Parks Green space abounds in Kensington – the area is home to two of London’s most magnificent Royal Parks: Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park.
When in Kensington Gardens, make sure you visit Kensington Palace the current London residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Both Queen Victoria and Diana, Princess of Wales lived there, as well as many other royals and aristocrats. It is both enjoyable and a privilege to explore the State Apartments, see Queen Victoria’s bedroom and stroll around the landscaped gardens. And while you’re there enjoy a delicious English afternoon tea in the Orangery!
Also in these lovely parks are the Serpentine Lake, the Albert Memorial, the Serpentine Gallery and the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground.
The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground children’s wonderland opened on in June 2000, in memory of the late Princess Diana. Located next to the Kensington Palace home she occupied during her marriage, a huge wooden pirate ship is the amazing centrepiece of this fitting tribute to the child-loving Princess.
Inspired by the stories of Peter Pan, the design includes an area where less able and able-bodied children can play together. The playground encourages children to explore and follow their imaginations and learn whilst they play. It is estimated that over 70,000 children enjoy this free playground each year, playing, exploring, dashing about, and letting their imaginations soar in this magical space. There is a sensory trail, teepees, a beach and various toys and play sculptures; all set against a lush backdrop of trees and plants. There’s also plenty of seating so the grownups can relax too and enjoy a coffee in the playground!
Looking for some great shopping opportunities? In South Kensington there is a host of fabulous shops, including Urban Outfitters and Oliver Bonas. For health food fans, the Whole Foods Market is not to be missed – a huge organic food market housed in a former department store. Or pick up some Japanese tableware, technology and more at Japan House London, which also hosts exhibitions and has a good restaurant.
Linley Sambourne House If you’re a history fan, you may well enjoy a visit to Linley Sambourne House where cartoonist Edward Linley Sambourne and his family lived from 1874. This English period house still contains most of the original furniture and fittings.