Your Guide to London West Kensington
Where is West Kensington?
West Kensington is the place to stay if you’re attending an event at the Olympia Exhibition Centre, coming to see tennis at the famous Queens Club, or want somewhere cheap that’s really close to Kensington’s tourist attractions. Based outside the congestion charging zone and straddling the boroughs of Hammersmith & Fulham plus the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, this primarily residential area of West London has 3 tube stations in tube Zone 2 that you can travel around London from (Kensington Olympia, West Kensington and Barons Court), as well as Kensington Olympia Train Station with direct trains to Gatwick. You’ll be surrounded by the attraction filled districts of Kensington, Earls Court, Shepherds Bush, Hammersmith and Fulham if you stay here.
History of West Kensington
Little seems to exist in the history books about the true beginnings of West Kensington, but it is safe to assume that as London expanded West (and the attractiveness of Kensington proper exploded in the mid 19th century), this spilled over into West Kensington. The growth of West Kensington as a district at this time was helped by its popularity amongst the artistic community that inhabited the grand villas near Holland Park and properties on Melbury Road, which still exist today. With the arrival of the tube and rail networks, the opening of the huge Olympia Exhibition Centre and the unveiling of the famous Queens Club at the end of the 19th century, West Kensington literally sprang into life!
Today, West Kensington is primarily a residential area filled with Victorian terraced houses (many of which have been broken up into flats), an abundance of affordable hotels and a mix of independent shops that give the area plenty of character. Whilst it hasn’t experienced the same levels of rejuvenation of neighbouring Earls Court and isn’t as grand as Kensington, things are starting to change! As wealthy Londoners are starting to realise that West Kensington is still a relatively cheap place to live, and the recent opening of Westfield London (Europe’s largest shopping centre) will have a profound effect on the entire area, more upmarket shops, restaurants and bars are opening. Couple this with an interesting range of attractions and West Kensington is definitely a place that you should visit!
The Positives of West Kensington
As West Kensington is mainly residential it’s cheap to stay in the hotels here, which is great news for you if you’re on a tight budget. Its location is another huge plus point as you’ll find the Olympia Exhibition Centre and Queens Club here, and you can walk to top tourist attractions in surrounding districts like the Natural History Museum in South Kensington and Shepherds Bush’s Shepherds Bush Empire. The rest of London’s must see sights are within easy reach thanks to the well connected tube stations that will whisk you to places like Westminster and Covent Garden. You’ll also find plenty of bus routes in the area, and Kensington Olympia Train Station has direct connections to Gatwick Airport. As West Kensington is close to the A4 you’ll find it easy to get to Heathrow and central London via road too!
Need to Know West Kensington
Often known as the black sheep of the Kensington family, it is true to say that West Kensington doesn’t exude the style of Kensington, or contain the huge museums of South Kensington, but it does have plenty of affordable hotels and is within really easy reach of plenty of tourist attractions. It’s often seen as the part of Kensington that fashionable Londoners ignore, with some areas having a rough and ready vibe about them. However, all of this is changing and as an influx of wealthy Londoners are starting to permeate the district, this is an up and coming area for you to discover.