Forget cities that are famous for one museum – London has three world-class institutions within sight of each other in South Kensington. The Natural History, Science and Victoria & Albert museums are cultural powerhouses where you can explore human innovation, creativity and evolution without pausing for breath. Even better, entry is free, so you can put your money towards a nearby hotel instead, bookable on Culture Trip.
Looking like the kind of hotel Mary Poppins would stay in, The Franklin is an elegant South Ken institution, tucked into a crescent of red-brick townhouses. There’s Michelin-starred dining in Alfredo Russo’s Franklin Restaurant, plus a Gatsby-style bar and a tearoom. You can hit the museums in minutes, after staying in rooms that perfectly fit the mood – think vintage nature prints, four-poster beds and old-fashioned reading lamps.
There’s a sense of playfulness at the Ampersand, with juxtaposed fabrics, mismatched furnishings, curving lines and soft upholstery in strong colours. The Kensington museums are just a street away, and rooms feature curated reading material to prime you for the exhibits. The best rooms have London skyline views and roll top baths – some even have a second TV in the bathroom. In the arches beneath the hotel, the genteel Apero brasserie serves fresh Mediterranean flavours.
Set in a gleaming Regency townhouse in a regal Georgian block, The Kensington is everything you’d expect of a London hotel. This is the full high-tea and four-poster-bed experience, with interiors that mix bold floral prints with soft, sound-absorbent upholstery and dangling chandeliers. The most elegant rooms and suites have a Chinoiserie feel, setting the scene for a trip to the V&A.
Backing onto the campus of Imperial College London, The Gore has the Science Museum, Hyde Park and the Royal Geographical Society right on its doorstep. It’s been catering to the great and the good since 1892, and the cosy, wood-lined bar looks like it’s hardly changed since that time. The unique rooms have an almost theatrical panache: stained glass, gilded mirrors, flowing drapes, and flamboyant heirloom bed-frames that could have been plucked from English stately homes.
The Meliá is marked out by its sensitive use of colour, with a single-tone theme in the bedrooms that extends from the beds to the drapes and standalone pieces of furniture. The end result is understated and calming, an antidote to the rush of Kensington outside. It’s two streets west of the Natural History Museum, and just metres from Gloucester Road Tube station for more ambitious London exploration.
Flanked by swanky embassies and looking over the green expanse of Hyde Park, the Baglioni has an unmistakably Italian flair, from the stucco trim on the frontage to the wood-floored rooms filled with designer furniture. There are nods to London, too – thick Regency stripes, open fireplaces and terraces with that Hyde Park view. It’s the kind of place that would suit a paparazzi-fleeing film star, travelling incognito to browse the London museums.
Looking for a wellness-orientated stay in Kensington? Here are the best spa hotels in Kensington, bookable now through Culture Trip. If you want to be closer to another must-see London landmark, stay at the best hotels near the Tower of London through us. Fill up your spare time in the city with the best outdoor cinemas in London and the oldest churches in London, then grab a bite using this foodie guide through the British capital.
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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.