Kensington

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

Kensington Palace

This is a rare chance to get a glimpse into the more domestic and personal side of Royal life. Neither…

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Science Museum

With attractions ranging from painlessly educational exhibits, like the new interactive gallery where kids can perform their own hands-on scientific…

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Victoria & Albert Museum

Known to all as the V&A, this huge museum is devoted to the applied arts of all disciplines, all periods,…

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