Your Guide to London Kensington
Where is Kensington?
Birthplace of Queen Victoria and home to London’s world famous museums such as the gigantic Natural History Museum and the exciting Science Museum, Kensington is a rich residential area with some of the most expensive streets and squares in London all waiting for you to explore! This attractive central London district in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea is situated inside the congestion charging zone and surrounded by equally exciting districts like Notting Hill, Knightsbridge, Chelsea and Shepherds Bush. You’ll find it really easy to travel around the rest of London too as Kensington has three tube stations all based in tube zone 1 – High Street Kensington, Gloucester Road and South Kensington.
History of Kensington
Kensington has a rich and Royal history worth delving into! Its name is Anglo Saxon in origin and probably stems from the word Chenesitun which means town of Chenesi’s people. It was actually a largely rural area until Kensington became popular with ‘persons of quality and note’ in the early 17th century who began to notice its clean air and proximity to London. When William III purchased Nottingham House in 1689 and got Christopher Wren to transform it into Kensington Palace before moving in, his entourage soon followed, which increased demand for housing in the area and stimulated trade and local employment too! It was The Great Exhibition of 1851 that really started to transform Kensington into the prosperous district that it is today. Profits from the exhibition were used to buy Albertopolis, 87 acres of land upon which Prince Albert intended to build permanent facilities for enlightenment of the public. The Natural History, Science and Victoria and Albert Museums stand on this site today.
The most considerable wave of residential expansion took place between 1850 and 1880 when high class areas were built to cope with increasing demand for houses now that the railways had arrived. Notable shops like Barkers and Derry and Toms opened on Kensington High Street to cope with rich demand and the Kensington that we see today began to take shape. In fact, members of the Royal family still inhabit Kensington Palace and the beautiful Victorian and Georgian terraces, stucco villas and eccentric studios that were built are still intact and inhabited by rich residents. Some of the large Victorian houses have been converted into hotels, which is only good news for you!
The Positives of Kensington
The major advantage to staying in Kensington is the fact that this area is home to many of London’s top tourist attractions including Kensington Palace and the world famous South Kensington museum district. You’ll be able to walk to them from your hotel, as well as making the most of fabulous shopping on Kensington High Street and lush green spaces such as Kensington Gardens and Holland Park.
As Kensington has no less than 3 tube stations (with a direct link to Heathrow Airport) and a greatly improved bus route service you will find it easy to travel across the rest of the capital too. Thanks to its rich residents, Kensington has an unmistakable air of grandeur which you will enjoy – from sumptuous houses to high class shops and restaurants - Kensington has it all.
Need to Know Kensington
As Kensington is filled with some of London’s greatest tourist attractions and a residential district for affluent Londoners you’ll find this a busy place to stay, with dense traffic on major through roads like Kensington Road. This is a small price to pay when you consider the fact that places like Kensington Palace and the Science Museum will be on your doorstep! You will also find plenty of green open spaces like Kensington Gardens and Holland Park to escape to. You may think that Kensington will be out of your price range as it’s so prosperous, but rest assured that there are still plenty of affordable hotels and accommodation for you to choose from! As there are so many educational institutions in the area there’s a sizeable student population so there are plenty of affordable bars and restaurants too!