Places to see in London South Kensington
South Kensington Attractions
The posh and rich area of South Kensington has a wealth of attractions, even if you’re on a tight budget! South Kensington is “museum district”, all of which are free (except certain exhibitions), and boasts some of most splendid houses London has to offer. Therefore our one must do activity is almost a random selection; there’s simply too much to choose from!
Recommended Attraction in South Kensington
We’re going to do it; we’re going to choose between the best museums in London; arguably some of the best in the world. And the answer is the Natural History Museum. If you had to choose between the Natural History Museum, the V&A and the Science Museum, we reckon our choice has the most on offer. Aside from hosting spectacular exhibitions of the world’s best wildlife photography, the mainstays of this enormous, purpose-built museum are breath-taking and appeal to people of all ages. The final boast of this great venue is the festive ice-rink outside, meaning that in the winter you can have a quick skate with your loved one before/after taking in the sights of life throughout history!
Alternative Things To Do in South Kensington
Well needless to say there are the other large museums: the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Science Museum, both of which are not to be missed and contain enough to keep your mind stimulated for months. All of these museums also run late night events on occasion, and it’s worth keeping your ear to the ground for those. Whilst on the museum front, if you’ve magically run out of things to see in the three biggies, there’s also the Lord Leighton Museum in Holland Park (which is an attraction in itself), the Army Museum and Kensington Palace. There are some beautiful gardens in Holland Park as well as in Kensington Gardens (inside Hyde Park) to round off your free day out!
Attraction List in South Kensington
We’re not exaggerating when we say that there is too much to see in each of these museums to do in a day, and you couldn’t have chosen a better area of London to simply meander around, grab a coffee or a drink, and make a few discoveries of your own. So with deals like ours, and our great range of budget hotels in the area, you should head over to our South Kensington hotel booking service and pick up a bargain.
Visit the largest Royal Park in London spanning 250 acres and come here to Hyde Park. You can go rollerblading through the park grounds, visit the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain, listen to the public speakers at Speakers Corner, go for a swim in the Lido or even take a boat out on the Serpentine Lake.
Address: The Old Police House, Hyde Park, London W2 2UH
Phone: 020 7298 2000
Once the private gardens of Kensington Palace and now the very public Kensington Gardens, this 260 acre park is packed with must-see attractions including the Serpentine Gallery which exhibits contemporary art, the beautiful Italian Gardens and formal avenues of trees, the Peter Pan Statue and the Diana Princess of Wales Playground, which is great for children. Put on your comfy walking shoes and you can start the Diana Memorial Walk which runs for 7 miles through Hyde Park, Green Park and St James’s Park.
Address: London, W2 2UH
Phone: 0300 061 2000
As Queen Victoria was actually born in Kensington Palace and great Royal figures like Diana Princess of Wales lived here, this is a hugely important historical building. You can visit the State Apartments and tour the Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection where you can see dresses worn by the Queen and Princess Diana.
Address: Kensington Gardens, London, W8 4PX
Phone: 0844 482 7777
This colossal monument is actually the Albert Memorial which was commissioned by Queen Victoria to lament her husband Prince Albert’s loss (he died of typhoid in 1861). This 126 foot high monument designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott is actually one of the grandest high Victorian sights you will ever see. It’s well worth taking the guided tour of the monument to find out more!
Address: Kensington Gardens, London, W2 2UH
Phone: 020 7298 2100
There’s no mistaking this huge oval building! The Royal Albert Hall was originally built as another memorial to Prince Albert and is one of London’s leading entertainment venues today. You can take a guided tour inside, and if you’re in London between July and Mid September you should book tickets to The Proms. At other times classical concerts, music gigs and even the odd opera are held here.
Address: City of Westminster, London SW7
You might think it a bit strange that there’s a museum dedicated to the colours, uniforms, insignia, paintings, maps and documents of the Polish Armed Forces in the heart of South Kensington, but that’s exactly what the Sikorski Museum is. So try something a bit different!
Address: 20 Prince's Gate, London, SW7 1PT
Phone: 020 7589 9249
This 85 metre Queens Tower is all that remains of the fabulous Imperial Institute building. This copper roofed Renaissance style tower is actually the tallest building in the area!
Address: Queen's Tower, City of Westminster, London SW7
The Science Museum illustrates just how intertwined science is with everyday life so take a day out to explore the IMAX cinema and galleries like the Making the Modern World Gallery where you can see the Apollo 10 command module and Stephenson’s rocket. You and your children will have great fun in the Launchpad Gallery where you can get involved in experiments.
Address: Exhibition Road, London, SW7 2DD
Phone: 0870 870 4868
You’ll have an amazing time exploring the Natural History Museum. The escalator to the Earth Gallery passes underneath a huge suspended globe and the solar system, and the Dinosaur Gallery contains an animatronic Tyrannosaurus Rex! You can discover precious gems, metals and crystals in the Vault, but the favourite amongst children has to be the Creepy Crawlie Gallery! Even the building designed by Alfred Waterhouse that houses the museum will wow you!
Address: Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD
Phone: 020 7942 5000
Housing over 4 million exhibits, it’s no wonder that the 150 year old Victoria and Albert Museum is the world’s great museum of art and design. You’ll never get around it all in a day but highlights include the famous Photography Gallery which contains over ½ million photographs, the Fashion Galleries which illustrates how fashion has changed since the 18th century, and the British Galleries where exhibits include Henry VIII’s writing desk.
Address: Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL
Phone: 020 7942 2000
With a nave bigger than St Paul’s Cathedral and standing over 200 feet tall, the Brompton Oratory is well worth a visit during your stay. You’ll love the Italianate architecture of this, the 2nd largest Roman Catholic Church in London.
Address: Brompton Road, London SW7 2RP
Phone: 020 7808 0900
This striking building on Exhibition road is actually the Ismaili Centre which acts as a community centre and a meeting place for the Ismaili community.
Address: Cromwell Gardens, London Area, London SW7 2SL
Phone: 020 7581 2071
Thurloe Square is one of the most handsome garden squares in the whole of South Kensington. Its two acre communal garden is private, but come here and you will get a great view of the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Address: Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London SW7 2SD
Here is the statue of Bela Bartok, a famous Hungarian composer who lived for a while in Sydney Place nearby. It actually stands on a traffic island outside South Kensington Tube Station!
Come to 7 Cromwell Place and you will be standing outside what was the studio of one of Britain’s most celebrated 20th century artists, Francis Bacon, back in the 1940’s. It is now the home of the National Art Collections Fund.
Address: 7 Cromwell Place, London, SW7 2JN
Phone: 020 7225 4800
Get a taste of France in South Kensington and take a trip to the Institut Francais. You can watch world and French films in the 300 seater Cine Lumiere, as well as dine in its French restaurant Bistro. You’ll even find French bookshops, patisseries and brasseries clustered around the Institut Francais on Queensberry Place.
Address: 17 Queensberry Place, London, SW7 2DT
Phone: 020 7871 3515
You will find a 3 metre statue of Baden Powell (the founder of Scouts) just outside Baden Powell House. Head inside and you can explore The Story of B.P Exhibition, which contains memorabilia including the original of his Last Message to Scouts.