Famously home to the best museums in the capital, the West London area of Kensington is a perfect spot to spend the day strolling its picture-perfect streets and perusing its upscale shops and restaurants. Here’s what not to miss when you’re in Kensington.
Visit the area’s famous museums
Kensington is home to some of the world’s best museums, many of which are exclusive to London. Head to Cromwell Road for these three major institutions – the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A), Natural History Museum and Science Museum – all of which are accessible via a tunnel from South Kensington tube station. What’s more, these unbeatable museums are free to the general public (apart from some special exhibitions that are worth booking in advance).
If you’re a history buff or design geek, you’ll love the V&A, which showcases over 3,000 years worth of art, jewellery and furniture. For a family-friendly experience, you can’t get much better than the legendary Natural History Museum or Science Museum, which are packed full of interesting historical exhibits as well as hands-on interactive areas.
The Natural History Museum is one of Kensington’s most well-known landmarks
Kensington is a bustling area
The neighbourhood is also home to the V&A Museum
Have a pint at The Churchill Arms
Head for a drink at The Churchill Arms, which is famed for its ornate display of flowers coating the outside of the building. Built in 1750, the name of the boozer is a reference to Winston Churchill’s grandparents, who used to be regular customers. If you’re feeling peckish, don’t miss the Thai restaurant tucked away at the back of the pub.
81 Fulham Road in Chelsea was once home to the Michelin factory – the first UK headquarters and tyre depot for the French tyre company. The famous white ‘Michelin Man’ can even be seen in the impressive stained-glass windows of Michelin House, built in 1911. It fell into disrepair until designer Sir Terence Conran and his team faithfully restored it. It now houses the Conran Shop, which sells high-end furniture, an oyster bar and fine-dining establishment Bibendum.
Wander around Kensington’s beautiful back streets and cobbled mews
Home to some of the most decorative buildings in London, Kensington will certainly leave you with serious house-envy after visiting the area. It’s worth taking a stroll through the cute cobbled streets and stunning mews areas, especially the famous Holland Park Mews – well known for the uniform nature of its houses.
Greenery covers the entrance to Kynance Mews
Make sure to take a wander down picturesque lanes
Explore the small businesses sitting on the back streets of Kensington
Hit High Street Kensington
If you want some retail therapy, check out the area’s bustling shopping district. High Street Kensington boasts everything you could ever wish for, from designer labels and flagship brands to niche independent stores. When you’ve worked up an appetite from wandering around the shops, plan a pit stop at one of the area’s great selection of adorable brunch spots and fine-dining restaurants.
Peruse the shops on High Street Kensington; something is sure to tempt you
Spanning over 1 million square feet (92,903 square metres), seven floors and more departments than you can imagine, Harrods in Knightsbridge is one of London’s most iconic shopping destinations. It’s also steeped in history, having launched in 1849 as a tea and grocery store and developing into what it is today. It housed the first-ever escalator, or ‘moving staircase’ as it was then called, and had to be rebuilt in 1883 after a fire destroyed the original space. The owners, however, used this to their advantage and created the impressive emporium it is today.
Situated in Hyde Park’s Kensington Gardens, the Albert Memorial is a famous part of British history, commemorating the death of Prince Albert. Queen Victoria commissioned the statue to honour the life of her beloved husband who died of typhoid in 1861. The pair were allegedly soulmates, so the memorial celebrates the love between this royal couple. If you’re a hopeless romantic, or a fan of the monarchy, make sure you visit this sentimental statue.
Once known as an exclusive place for live classical music, the Royal Albert Hall now hosts different shows from a number of different genres. Some of the best musical productions have taken place on the premises of this magnificent, Grade I-listed building, such as the BBC Proms and the classic Brit Awards.
Accessible (Wheelchair), Accessible (Blind), Accessible (Deaf), Family Friendly
Indoors, Historical Landmark, Scenic, Loud
Walk through Kensington Gardens to Hyde Park
If you enjoy the great outdoors and being close to nature, then make the most of the area’s green spaces. Kensington Gardens are a hit with visitors year-round and are one of eight Royal Parks in London, covering 265 acres in total. Traditionalists will love paying a visit to Kensington Palace, which holds various royal-related exhibitions, while the Serpentine Galleries are suited to those with a keen interest in contemporary art, showcasing world-renowned temporary exhibitions throughout the year. It’s also worth checking out the Serpentine Pavilion – an annual architecture commission that’s often built by one of the world’s greatest architects.
The Huntress Fountain is one of the decorative elements in Hyde Park
Ducks swim in the Serpentine, and people eat the Lido Café and Bar
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These recommendations were updated on June 25, 2019 to keep your travel plans fresh.