Kensington comprises the area along the southern edge of Hyde Park from Exhibition Road (where the big museum complex is) and the area to the west of the park bordered by leafy Holland Park Avenue on the north and traffic-heavy Cromwell Road on the south. This more westerly zone includes the satellite neighborhood of Holland Park, with its serenely grand villas and charming park, as well as local shopping mecca Kensington High Street and the antiques shops on Kensington Church Street.
Kensington’s first royal connection was created when King William III, fed up with the dampness arising from the Thames, bought a country place there in 1689 and converted it into Kensington Palace. Queen Victoria's consort, Prince Albert, added the jewel in the borough's crown when he turned the profits of the Great Exhibition of 1851 into South Kensington's metropolis of museums: the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A), the Science Museum, and the Natural History Museum. Posthumous tributes to the prince in the area include the Royal Albert Hall, with bas-reliefs that make it resemble a giant, redbrick Wedgwood teapot, and the lavish Albert Memorial.
Turn into Derry Street or Young Street and enter Kensington Square, one of the most complete 17th-century residential squares in London. The house at 18 Stafford Terrace, one of London’s most gorgeously decorated from the Victorian era—its lavish use of Islamic tiles, inlaid mosaics, gilded ceilings, and marble columns make for an Arabian Nights fantasy—is nearby as well.
POINTS OF INTEREST
Formerly the grounds of an aristocrat's house and open to the public only since 1952, Holland Park is an often-overlooked…Learn More >
Reopening in late 2016 in its new home—the former Commonwealth Institute, a modernist landmark—this was the first museum in the…Learn More >
18 Stafford Terrace
The home of Punch cartoonist Edward Linley Sambourne in the 1870s is filled with delightful Victorian and Edwardian antiques, fabrics,…Learn More >