London is one of the most diverse cities in the world, with every borough renowned for its own unique charm, but none is as affluent or as graceful as the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Home to royalty and some of the most celebrated UK talent across music, film, science, and politics, Kensington should be at the top of your list when you come to visit London. While visiting, we also recommend you stay in one of the beautiful hotels in Kensington.
Sure, Camden is chic and Brixton is edgy, but Kensington has a certain je ne sais quoi that simply cannot be replicated anywhere else. If you want to experience class and elegance and truly see how London’s elite live, Kensington is the place to be.
Whilst the undeniable opulence is, without a doubt, the main draw of the area, Kensington has so much more to offer visitors. There are boutiques and eateries aplenty; not to mention the cultural dive of Museum Mile.
If you’re planning a trip to the wonderful city of London, here are just a few of the reasons you need to reserve a day or two to explore glorious Kensington.
While you’re staying in one of the hotels in Kensington, we recommend you visit the Royal Palace, of course. The royal family are perhaps the most well-known people around the globe. Adored by millions of people and idolised by even more, the most prestigious family in Great Britain is based right here in Kensington. If you’re a fan of The Crown or simply want to see first-hand how the other half (or rather fortunate minority) live, then a trip to Kensington Palace is in order.
The childhood home of Queen Victoria, the family home of Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon and Prince Charles and Princess Diana, and – briefly – the marital home of the Sussexes, Kensington Palace has been enjoyed by royals since the 1600s. For a period of time it became known as the ‘Aunt Heap’, but extensive renovations and new residents have revived the grand palace to its former glory.
Whilst you won’t find Her Majesty the Queen there, you will be in the vicinity of a wealth of young royals, including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their brood. In addition to Wills and Kate, Princess Eugenie and her husband also reside in one of the palace’s private apartments.
Whilst there, you can take a tour of the many stately rooms and public apartments, retracing the footsteps of monarchs past and future.
When you have a grand palace, you need a garden to match. Kensington Gardens covers over 260 acres and forms part of the collection of Royal Gardens. Given the central London location of Kensington, the open green space and perfectly manicured landscape of Kensington Gardens is a welcome reprieve from the hustle and bustle of local socialites and businesspeople.
You can tour the ornamental Italian Gardens curated by Queen Victoria, marvel at the ever-popular Peter Pan statue, wander to the Albert Memorial, and pay homage to Princess Diana at the Memorial Playground.
Whether you’re a royalist or simply enjoy the great outdoors, Kensington has something to suit thanks to its perfect balance of bold affluence and humble nature (something which cannot be found anywhere else).
Aside from the beautiful hotels in Kensington, perhaps one of the biggest draws of the area is Museum Mile – where you will find three of the world’s most famous museums. For the history buffs and nature lovers, you’ll want to hit up the Natural History Museum first. Its imposing façade has graced the big screen on several occasions, but it’s what’s inside that will really impress you. From complete skeletons of pre-historic giants to bountiful displays of creatures collected from every corner of the globe, the Natural History Museum is one of Kensington’s many jewels that begs to be explored.
Just a few feet down the road is the Victoria & Albert Museum – one of the world’s leading art, design, and fashion museums. Once inside, you’ll have the opportunity to gaze upon the precious Raphael Cartoons, gander at product concepts and designs dating back thousands of years from fallen Asian dynasties, and get up close and personal with the evolution of fashion.
Opposite the V&A is the Science Museum, home to thousands of revolutionary science artefacts that showcase how far the human race has come. From the ‘Exploring Space’ exhibit which features the spacesuit of Helen Sharman, the first Briton in space, to the Gipsy Moth aircraft flown by Amy Johnson from Croydon to Australia in 1930, you simply won’t believe your eyes as you observe the items that literally shaped the modern world.
All three museums are free to visit, and all three cement Kensington as an educational and historical hub with a complex and rich history.
Kensington High Street
When you’re all cultured out, venture to the shopping district of the royal borough and take a wander down Kensington High Street. For most people, Kensington is unfamiliar and unlike anything in their normal lives (that’s part of its allure), but the High Street offers a taste of home with its chain stores and recognisable brands. Of course, there are a number of boutique outlets unique to Kensington, so if you’re looking for a one-off London souvenir, what better place to find it?
The High Street is lined with clothing, technology, homeware, and cosmetics shops, giving you the freedom to shop ‘til you drop in one of London’s biggest shopping areas!
Hotels in Kensington
Most people don’t have the budget to buy a property in Kensington, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be wined and dined at some of the world’s top restaurants and bars until the small wee hours. After all, there is far too much to see and do in Kensington for just one day.
Why not plan your visit to some of London’s best sights and tourist experiences, carefully drinking in the splendour of it all, before making your way back to your room in one of the hotels in Kensington? That way, you’ll be able to truly appreciate the vivacious and alluring atmosphere of one of the smartest, grandest, and poshest boroughs of London, and you won’t have to rush home as you can rest your head alongside the rich and famous.