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If you’ve ticked off all of the main city centre attractions in London, then it might be time to venture somewhere that offers something a little bit different, somewhere that’s still got that same vibrant atmosphere but with its own unique vibe. Nowhere has this more than the super fashionable Kensington, a place where the chicest restaurants and bars sit side by side with some of the city’s most exclusive shops. Exploring these beautiful Victorian streets is one of the very best things to do in London for those looking for a taste of the highlife. It’s so much fun to think of what to do in Kensington, London because there’s such an extensive range of truly amazing attractions, from getting lost in one of the world-famous Kensington Museums, to walking the corridors of Great Britain’s most prestigious property; Kensington Palace. As well as all of this, there’s a couple of secret spots that I’m going to share with you which I think you need to know about, because we all know that London is filled with hidden gems and Kensington certainly no exception! Whether you’re trying to discover your new favourite London district, or even just trying to find some new quirky places to wine and dine, this is my ultimate list of the best things to do in Kensington!
Have a drink in the Churchill Arms
If you’re picturing a traditional English pub, complete with authentic sign and Union Jack flags then you’re halfway there. Add to that a dazzling arrangement of hanging baskets that’s caused it to become an internet sensation, then you’ve got the full picture! The Churchill Arms is an absolute icon of the city and one of the best things to do in Kensington if you’re yearning for a taste of something completely unique, you’re simply not going to see somewhere with such extravagant décor, that’s for sure! It’s located just a short walk from the stunning Kensington Palace, making it the perfect place for an afternoon tipple for anyone with tired legs from hiking around Kensington Gardens. To see any information on food, events or drinks, then visit their website, which reads; ‘truly British eccentricity’. You can’t sum it up better than that really!
Walk down the magical mews
Like a lot of places in London, one of the best things to do in Kensington is to simply walk the streets, they’re just so pretty! Few sights sum up this area more so than the fairy-tale Mews that often lurk down unsuspecting side streets, where perfect Instagram opportunities are just waiting for anyone who dares to explore them. These are essentially small cobbled streets which stagecoaches once used, but now many of them are incredibly pretty areas that offer a perfect snapshot into a London of long ago. Just above South Kensington Station lies some of city's prettiest, including the pastel coloured Petersham Mews, or the always ornately decorated Stanhope Mews. By far the most beautiful of all is Kynance Mews, a tiny street just a short walk away with stunning ivy clad archways marking its entrance, which makes it feel as though you’re truly stepping back in time!
Visit the Natural History Museum
Kensington Museums really need no introduction, I mean could you even come to this part and London and not visit at least one of them? Spending a day admiring the unparalleled collections of the Natural History Museum is not only one of the best things to do in Kensington, but it’s one of the best in all of London! At over one-hundred years old and with a stunning selection of over eighty million historical artefacts, dinosaur remains and taxidermies, the museum is perhaps the world’s leading institution of research and preservation of historically important items. Its iconic main entrance can be found next to the V&A on Exhibition Road in South Kensington, and as if it couldn’t get any better, the Natural History is completely free to enter, so if you’re searching for some free things to do in London, then here it is.
Explore Kensington Palace
Taking a trip over Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens to the beautiful Kensington Palace has long been one of the most popular things to do in London, and it’s no surprise, the place is stunning. I mean where else can you walk down the same corridors as the Royal Family? The building itself is one of pure royal opulence, with an interior that feels as though you are on the set of a historic period drama with its grand collection of timely artworks and furniture. It’s one of the best ways to gain an insight into the lives of one of the world’s most famous family’s and costs just under twenty pounds to enter, although the Kensington Gardens are completely free to explore and just perfect for spending a warm sunny day ambling around. Highlights include the elegantly designed Italian Gardens, the iconic Serpentine and of course the Diana Memorial Fountain.
Have brunch at Kensington Place
There’s absolutely no shortage of restaurants in Kensington and pretty much everything from cheap eats all the way to the finest of dining can be found here, making it a great place for all you foodies out there! For this list, I’m choosing Kensington Place because it’s totally different to anything else in the area. Whilst you might expect to find mostly Victorian architecture around Kensington, Kensington Place is alternatively housed in a light-filled modern building where metal and glass are the primary materials. Of course, the food here is very good as well and has a strong emphasis on fish, although other dishes will be on offer and they’ll be just as tasty, believe me! One of the most popular things to do in London is to go for brunch, so why not come and try out their varied brunch menu that contains a variety of much-loved English favourites!
Get lost in Holland Park
Second only to Kensington Gardens in terms of popularity, Holland Park is a diverse parkland that I think has a more mysterious quality to it than its more famous neighbour. You’re so much more likely to stumble upon a strange sculpture hidden just out of sight or even an entire garden that can feel like it belongs to you and you alone. The Dutch Garden offers an intricately designed set of fountains, walkways and horticultural displays, whilst the Kyoto Garden is an absolute place of Zen amidst the city that surrounds it. Some of the best things to do in London are the ones where you’re not sure what you’re going to find next, and Holland Park is a great example of this. There are multiple sports facilities, cafes and beautiful wooded walks for you to enjoy, just make sure to explore every corner of it or you might just miss something!
Discover the Victoria and Albert Museum
Perhaps it’s somewhere like the richly artistic Bloomsbury that you would think of first for stunning galleries and creative culture, but it’s Kensington that possesses the most impressive of them all; the Victoria and Albert Museum. It’s one of the worlds largest collections of artworks and designs pieces on the planet and is one of many cultural institutions that Prince Albert founded in the 1800’s. Nowadays, the it’s still one of the top Kensington Museums, remaining one of the best places in London to learn about design via talks, workshops, exhibitions and courses. Everything from fashion, architecture, photography and engineering can be found inside the museum, so you’re always going to find something to enjoy, that’s for sure! Take a look on their website to get a better understanding of what’s on their upcoming calendar.
Enjoy mouth-watering Cupcakes at L’Eto Caffé
After a day exploring all of the Kensington museums and beautiful green spaces, you’re going to need to take a rest somewhere, and where better than a café that sells some of the most elegantly designed cakes you’ve ever seen? The treats in L’eto Caffé are the kind that will make you stop in the street and stare longingly through the window at them, there’s everything from cheesecakes, apple pies, parfaits and cupcakes - you name it, you’re going to find it here. It’s not just cakes though, there’s a full menu which includes a delicious breakfast selection of dishes from all across the globe, all of which are prepared with the finest and freshest ingredients. It’s got an equally varied lunchtime menu, so if you’re looking for some restaurants in Kensington for a midday bite then you should definitely give this a go!
Shop Kensington Highstreet
Any list of what to do in Kensington, London would be incomplete without including the area’s beating heart; the Kensington Highstreet. It’s an energetic and vibrant arrangement of chic restaurants and cool bars alongside fashionable clothing brands, well worth spending an hour exploring to see which of eclectic range of shops take your fancy. Shopping in Kensington is definitely a real mix, you’re going to find some pretty high-end shops here as well as all of the chain stores that you love, not to mention food shops and outdoor shops as well! If you want a classy experience that you might expect to get in somewhere like the highly exclusive streets of Marylebone, then take a train to South Kensington’s Sloane Street, an exquisite collection of some of the most sought-after brands in the fashion world, absolutely perfect for spot of window shopping!
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