The Literary Landmarks to Visit in and around Kensington

Peter Pan Statue
Peter Pan Statue | © Peter Roberts
James Gunn

For a long time Kensington has been home to some of the most affluent in London society. Writers of many different generations have either been born there or chosen to move there once their fame has provided adequate financial means. This has bred a rich vein of literary history to be found in the bricks and mortar which gave rise to some of our most iconic literature. Here are the most famous literary landmarks to check out while you’re in Kensington.

Kensington Gardens

Apart from being a lovely place for a stroll, Kensington Gardens used to be the private gardens of Kensington Palace where Princes William and Harry now live. Go to the gardens to see a statue of Peter Pan, erected in 1919 after the phenomenal success of J. M. Barrie’s 1906 novel. The gardens were a huge inspiration for the novelist whose tale has been immortalised in the hearts of millions by Disney.

Kensington’s Blue Plaques

T. S. Eliot


There are few names in literature who carry as much weight as T. S. Eliot. Time spent on almost any topic yields a pithy quote, damning response or insightful adage from the poet whose most famous poem, The Wasteland, laments urban decay and the modern urban condition. Eliot moved to Kensington well after he had put pen to paper on his modernist classic, staying from 1957 until his death in 1965.

Henry James

Another Anglo-American writer to follow Eliot, Henry James’s heyday came slightly before his contemporary. He lived in De Vere Gardens between 1886 to 1898, during which time he would have been working on The Ambassadors – a novel split between America and Paris –, and the haunting The Turn of the Screw. He moved to Kensington from a flat in the then dingy Mayfair, however surprising that may seem to modern day Londoners. He stayed for over a decade before uprooting to leafy Sussex.

Henry James plaque, 34 De Vere Gardens, London

Ezra Pound


Ezra Pound
© Wikicommons
As if indicating a real trend of the era, Ezra Pound is the thirdly highly influential Anglo-American on the list. A poet, critic and confidante of many of the greats, one thing Pound is less well-known for is the role he played in James Joyce’s Ulysses, a book he frequently corresponded with Joyce about during its seven year genesis. Living in Kensington from 1909 to 1914, Pound was able to use this London base as a way to accelerate his literary industry, it being here where he established his ‘imagism’ movement.

William Makepeace Thackeray


It was while living in Young Street that William Thackeray – whose middle name ‘Makepeace’ is perhaps one of the most original – published his iconic London novel, Vanity Fair.The novel depicts the lives of Becky Sharp and Emmy Sedley in London during the Napoleonic Wars, using the intriguing subtitle ‘A novel without a hero’. As was customary for the time, the novel was published in installments between 1848 and 1849, keeping Londoners on their toes each month.

Wyndham Lewis


Having dropped the name ‘Percy’ for want of something less establishment, Wyndham Lewis forged a literary career that mostly went against the grain. He founded the Vorticist movement in art, inspired by Cubism, and his novels included Tarr(1918) and The Apes of God(1930). He has been criticised widely for his extreme social and political views, yet simultaneously heralded as a transformative power for English portraiture. He certainly wasn’t dull.

G. K. Chesterton


Seen as the successor to the heyday of Victorian authors such as Matthew Arnold and John Ruskin, G. K. Chesterton has ultimately been regarded as a great all-round literary mind rather than a central member of the canon. Born in Kensington, his work is equally interesting for the connections and debates with other authors, as it is on its own terms. He wrote around 80 books, hundreds of short stories, and thousands of essays.

Walter Pater


Pater is not widely remembered in public consciousness outside of literary circles but British literature owes him a lot. With the roots of Aestheticism often traced back to him, Pater’s theoretical writing had a huge influence on the early literary Modernists like Proust, Yeats, Joyce, Pound and Eliot, several of whom lived only a stone’s throw from this, his Kensington residence.
culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

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.