Discovering the Unexpected Charms of Kensington

Kensington charms

The beautiful Kyoto Garden in Holland Park.

We’re passionate about introducing our guests to the many charms of Kensington, a London neighborhood we fell in love with many years ago. This peaceful and exclusive residential area is home to Kensington Palace, renowned museums and the beautiful Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park. It’s no wonder why savvy travelers choose Kensington as one of the prime spots to stay in London. Our London Perfect guests delight in uncovering the myriad unexpected treasures that this neighborhood has to offer. Here is a sneak peek of some of our personal favorites!

Kensington charms

Stroll through peaceful Holland Park.

Holland Park – Japanese Garden, Peacocks & Opera!

While smaller than nearby Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park, it’s precisely the hidden away feeling of Holland Park that makes it such an unexpected charm amidst the bustling streets of London. Its allure lies in the tranquil atmosphere of its 55.6 acres (22.5 hectares) of gardens. The park boasts a natural gem, the enchanting Kyoto Garden, a serene oasis inspired by Japanese design, where you can wander among koi ponds and lush greenery. Find a quiet bench and you might even hear the distinctive call or catch a bright green flash of the ring-necked parakeets that call the park home. There are even peacocks roaming freely, adding a touch of whimsy to the landscape.

See one of Holland Park’s resident peacocks. (credit)

Holland Park also hosts the renowned Opera Holland Park open-air performances during the summer months, offering a unique musical experience in a lovely natural setting. Enjoy the blend of natural beauty and cultural offerings of Holland Park just around the corner when you stay at our exceptional Phillimore vacation rental nearby.

An Art Break at the Leighton House

While visiting Holland Park, head to the remarkable Leighton House. Once the private residence of the Victorian artist Frederic, Lord Leighton, this opulent mansion now serves as a museum dedicated to his life and work. The house itself is a masterpiece of aestheticism, with its intricate Arab Hall adorned with stunning mosaics, colorful tiles and a mesmerizing dome ceiling. The museum’s collection has a diverse array of artwork, including Leighton’s own paintings, as well as pieces by his contemporaries.

While there were once a community of lavish artist home-studios in the Holland Park area, the Leighton House is one of only two still standing and the only one open to the public. Re-opened in 2022 after a £8 million renovation, the museum now houses a lovely cafe as well as exhibition spaces. During the summer, the garden is the perfect spot for an artistic break.

Afternoon tea surrounded by history at the Royal Albert Hall. (Photo credit: Royal Albert Hall)

Afternoon Tea at the Royal Albert Hall

The Royal Albert Hall stands as a cultural beacon in London, renowned for its stunning architecture and world-class performances since 1871. While it needs no introduction for the legendary events it hosts, you can also enjoy guided tours that reveal the venue’s architectural marvels and illustrious past. For a delightful experience, indulge in traditional afternoon tea in the beautiful Coda Restaurant offering a unique blend of culture and culinary delights. Whether attending a show or enjoying a tour, one of the perks of staying in Kensington is the chance to visit to the Royal Albert Hall for an unforgettable glimpse into London’s music history.

Enjoy a treasure hunt along Kensington Church Street.

Antique Shopping on Kensington Church Street

While you might have heard of the Portobello Road antique market in nearby Notting Hill, did you know that Kensington Church Street is a dream for antique treasure hunters? Stroll along this charming street and stop to explore a curated selection of antique boutiques offering a diverse range of treasures. From vintage furniture to rare collectibles, the street promises something for every collector. Unlike the bustling energy of Portobello Road, Kensington Church Street offers a more refined and intimate shopping experience, making it an ideal spot to find a souvenir from London that’s steeped in history.

Visit a Victorian Home at the Sambourne House

Ever wonder what life was like in a London Victorian home? Head to the Sambourne House, located near Holland Park, which stands as a remarkable time capsule of Victorian life. Once the home of the esteemed Punch cartoonist Edward Linley Sambourne and his family, this meticulously preserved townhouse offers a captivating glimpse into late 19th-century domesticity. Visit the home’s intricately decorated rooms, adorned with original furnishings, wallpapers and artwork, providing a vivid snapshot of Victorian taste and lifestyle. Every corner of the house exudes a sense of nostalgia and historical richness, making it one of the most interesting small museums in London.

Visit one of London’s most distinctive pubs!

Churchill Arms – A Flower Covered Pub

It’s not every day you can visit a pub quite like The Churchill Arms. This beloved landmark is renowned for its eye-catching display of flowers and greenery. Inside, patrons are greeted with cozy interiors steeped in history, adorned with memorabilia celebrating the life and legacy of Winston Churchill. Beyond its picturesque facade, the pub offers a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

Pirate Ship at the Diana Memorial Playground

There’s fun to be had at the Diana Memorial Playground!

Climb on a Pirate Ship at the Diana Memorial Playground

The Diana Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens is just one of the many reasons Kensington is a great spot for family vacations in London. This is a magical haven for children, complete with a pirate ship at its center. Inspired by the adventures of Peter Pan and designed in honor of Princess Diana’s love for children, this playground is the perfect destination for swashbuckling adventures and creating lasting memories for the littlest travelers to London!

London’s Design Museum (Credit: Design Museum/ Gravity Road)

Design Museum

While Museum Row often attracts the attention of art lovers in Kensington, there’s another spot that you won’t want to miss in the area. The Design Museum in London showcases a diverse range of exhibits, spanning architecture, fashion, product design and digital media. From groundbreaking prototypes to iconic pieces of contemporary design, the museum’s collections highlight the power of design to shape our lives and surroundings. From July 5, 2024 to February 23, 2025, the Design Museum is set to host the blockbuster Barbie®: The Exhibition.

Go Horseback Riding in Hyde Park

Hear the clip clop of hooves on London’s cobblestones and enjoy a horseback riding experience in Hyde Park with Hyde Park Stables. As one of the city’s oldest riding schools, Hyde Park Stables provides riders of all levels the opportunity to explore the park’s scenic pathways and iconic landmarks from a unique perspective. Whether trotting along the serene Serpentine Lake or cantering through leafy glades, this is special way to be immersed in the tranquility of nature right in the heart of London. With knowledgeable instructors and well-trained horses, Hyde Park Stables ensures a safe and enjoyable adventure for equestrians of all ages. Find out more about their private lessons and rides here.

Stay in the heart of Kensington at Brompton.

Plan a Perfect Stay in Kensington

Ready to plan your London holiday and enjoy the charms of Kensington for yourself? Contact our team here to book a beautiful vacation rental in Kensington with London Perfect!

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