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Stunning Victorian buildings and an elegant atmosphere are the hallmarks of Kensington & South Kensington. Royal palaces, gardens and world-famous museums are just a stroll away!
Kensington and South Kensington are two of the most sought-after residential neighborhoods in London due to their historic charms, beautiful Victorian buildings, excellent shopping and dining options, easy transportation connections and for a fabulous location near Kensington Gardens. All of these features together make Kensington or South Kensington an ideal home base for your holiday in London. Start your day with a stroll through Kensington Gardens and a visit to Kensington Palace or enjoy the latest exhibitions and world-class collections along Museum Row in South Kensington. Or simply hop on the Tube to reach all the main sights in central London quickly and easily. Here are some of the top things to see and do during your stay in Kensington and South Kensington.
Located at the western edge of Kensington Gardens, this is a real working royal palace that was once the home of Queen Victoria and more recently Princess Diana and Princess Margaret. It is now the official London residence of Prince William and his wife Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, as well as Prince Harry. Visitors can discover the history of the palace and its many important royal residents while touring the State Rooms and special exhibitions.
Enjoy a leisurely stroll through Kensington Gardens around the Round Pond, along the Serpentine or stop to marvel at the soaring Albert Memorial dedicated to Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert. The expansive gardens are perfect for running, walking, picnicking, bicycling, roller-skating or simply renting a deck chair and relaxing in the sun. It’s a pleasure to stay in a vacation rental near Kensington Gardens so you can enjoy this beautiful open space in the heart of London during your holiday.
Kensington Gardens has three delightful playgrounds that are perfect for letting the kids run and play. The Diana, Princess of Wales, Memorial Playground is one of the most popular. Located in the northwest corner of Kensington Gardens, this playground has a charming Peter Pan theme complete with a 50-foot tall wooden pirate ship, fountains and lots of fun things to discover. The Princess Diana Memorial Fountain is another popular spot for families in Kensington Gardens.
The Royal Albert Hall
The distinctive circular shape of the Royal Albert Hall has been a South Kensington fixture since it opened in 1871. This important concert hall hosts many classical concerts, including the annual Proms concerts, as well as concerts for all music genres. Many of the world’s leading performers and artists have graced the stage at the Royal Albert Hall. It’s a great spot to enjoy a show during your stay in London!
The Royal College of Music
Located near the Royal Albert Hall, the Royal College of Music is a distinguished music conservatory dating back to 1882. It boasts many celebrated alumni, including Ralph Vaughan Williams, Gustav Holst, Benjamin Britten, Neville Marriner and Andrew Lloyd Webber. The Museum of Musical Instruments houses early instruments and masterpieces, but check in advance as hours are limited.
The Royal College of Art
The Royal College of Art is located across from Kensington Gardens in a modern building that belies the founding of the college in 1837 as a school of design. Many noted artists, illustrators, designers and architects have attended the Royal College of Art, including 19th-century architect Edward Lutyens and garden designer Gertrude Jekyll, sculptors Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth and celebrated painter David Hockney.
South Kensington is home to “Museum Row” along Exhibition Road, which includes some of London’s most popular museums. The collections are outstanding, and many are excellent spots if you’re traveling to London with children.
Victoria & Albert Museum
The V&A, as the Victoria and Albert Museum is called, houses one of the most important collections of decorative arts and fashion in the world, including an unbeatable dress collection of clothing from the 1300s to the London’s swinging 60s and today. Along with the Natural History Museum and Science Museum, the V&A is free to visit. Once of the best parts of staying in Kensington and South Kensington is being close enough to pop into these marvelous museums and explore the collections at your own pace during your stay in London.
Natural History Museum
Located in a spectacular Victorian era building designed by Alfred Waterhouse, the Natural History Museum has a massive collection of over 70 million items. However, the most popular displays are the dinosaur skeletons, including the huge Diplodocus dinosaur in the vaulted central hall.
Discover the world of scientific discoveries and developments at the Science Museum in South Kensington. The huge collections are fun for the whole family, and also include an IMAX Cinema.
Royal Geographical Society
The Royal Geographical Society is located next to the Royal Albert Hall in a red brick building designed by the noted architect Norman Shaw in 1874. The Society supported many of the world’s most famous explorers and expeditions, including those of Darwin, Livingstone, Shackleton and many more. The collections of the Royal Geographical Society were opened to the public in 2004, and now visitors can enjoy special exhibitions on display.
High Street Kensington
One of London’s top shopping spots, Kensington High Street is lined with tons of fashion boutiques, home décor shops and a huge Marks & Spencer store. You’ll also find lots of restaurants if you need to stop off for a break from shopping. Nearby Kensington Church Street is well-known for antique shops.
Christie’s South Kensington is the branch of Christie's that auctions more affordable antiques and collectables than the King Street location. Offering over 100 sales each year with over 20,000 lots, the Christie’s South Kensington location on Old Brompton Road is a busy showroom. Check their catalogues for the latest offerings and sale schedules.
Knightsbridge Luxury Shops
Knightsbridge is a London fashion center, and it is located just a short walk or quick bus or Tube ride from our Kensington and South Kensington vacation rentals. Along Brompton Road and Sloane Street you’ll find the biggest names in international fashion, including Valentino, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Dior, Salvatore Ferragamo, Jimmy Choo and many more. If you’re looking for the latest London fashions, don’t miss the specialty boutiques along Beauchamp Place and Walton Street.
Knightsbridge is home to one of the most famous department stores in the world – the unmistakable Harrods. This huge store has beautiful food halls on the ground floor with tempting displays of chocolates, candies and a lovely selection of tea. The store is enormous and fun to explore all the levels up and down the famous Egyptian themed escalators. If you’re looking for gifts or London souvenirs, the Harrods Gift Shop on the second floor is a fun place to visit.
Harvey Nichols is an excellent London department store where Princess Diana used to shop after hours. It’s a great spot for fashion, and also includes an excellent food hall and chic restaurant on the top floor.
Located near the South Kensington Tube station at the intersection of Brompton Road and Fulham Road, the Brompton Cross area is a trendy spot for designers, including a Stella McCartney boutique that opened in 2012.
The area surrounding our Kensington and South Kensington vacation rentals is literally teeming with excellent restaurants, cafés and traditional English pubs. You’ll also find French, Indian, Persian, Moroccan and Italian restaurants nearby, which is just one of the many reasons these neighborhoods are so popular. When you book a London Perfect vacation rental you will receive our popular London Guide, which includes details on the best restaurants nearby where locals dine, as well as top shopping spots and things to do in the neighborhood.
As these are prime residential neighborhoods in London, you’ll find an excellent selection of supermarkets and food shops near our Kensington and South Kensington vacation rentals. On High Street Kensington there is a lovely Whole Foods and just down the street a huge Marks & Spencer with a great selection of fresh foods and produce. Right at the exit of the Gloucester Road tube there’s a big Waitrose with ready-to-eat meals if you’re looking for something quick and delicious for dinner. Nearby on Cromwell Road is an even larger supermarket called Sainsbury’s, which is open 24 hours/day.
Kensington and South Kensington are well serviced on the London Underground. Our Kensington vacation rentals are near the Kensington High Street Tube station, which is located not far from Kensington Gardens and Kensington Palace. It’s located on the Circle and District lines, which connect direct to Notting Hill Gate, Sloane Square and the trendy King's Road, the City of London, the Houses of Parliament at Westminster, the river cruises at Embankment, the London Eye and many other top spots in central London.
Our South Kensington vacation rentals are located near the Gloucester Road station or the South Kensington station, which are on the Circle and District lines as well as the Piccadilly line. The Piccadilly line is very convenient as it is a direct line to the theater district and West End, Piccadilly Circus and great shopping in Knightsbridge, Mayfair and Covent Garden. The Piccadilly line also goes direct to Heathrow Airport.