South Kensington is one of the most beautiful places in London, and a must-see on any London itinerary. Famous for its world-class museums, quaint bookshops, and sweet cafes, it has an understated, real-world sophistication, while still maintaining a warm, neighbourhood allure. Whatever the weather, the neighbourhood’s old-world charm has something to entice everyone.
The Science Museum
Good museums interact with their visitors, and no museum does that better than The Science Museum. Alongside historic collections, you’ll find a world of hands-on experiments that brings science alive for all ages. The interactive Garden area is specially designed for under fives, while the hands-on Launchpad gallery is perfect for teenagers.
Victoria and Albert Museum
At the Victoria and Albert Museum, you can see art and design from the past 3000 years, including ceramics, furniture, fashion, jewellery, photographs, sculpture, textiles and paintings. Even with an ever-changing calendar, our highlight is the awe-inspiring ensemble of Italian Renaissance sculptures and the seven Raphael Cartoons (tapestry designs for the Sistine Chapel).
Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum rightly commands an international reputation as both a world-class visitor attraction and a leading scientific research centre. There are over 80 million species in the Natural History Museum’s archive but one will stick in your head when you leave: the blue whale floating in the Central Hall.
Set right in the heart of London, Hyde Park covers 350 acres and is home to a number of famous landmarks including the Serpentine Lake, and Speakers Corner and offers world-class summer concerts but still has plenty of quiet places to unwind. The park offers various recreational activities including open water swimming, boating, cycling, tennis and horse riding. It’s the perfect backdrop to join the many joggers or walkers enjoying the open air.
The Serpentine Gallery
After you’ve picnicked in the park, satisfy your appetite for art with a visit to the Serpentine Gallery. Perfect for any cultural vulture, its contemporary exhibitions, rotating every two months, enthral and entertain as does the summertime pavilion, designed and built by a new artist every year.
When you’re in Kensington Gardens, make sure you visit Kensington Palace, the current London residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The palace gardens are an intimate, tranquil and secluded oasis all year round. Marvel at the history and heritage of Kensington Palace or admire the homage to Princess Diana, a Memorial Playground that kids adore thanks to the massive wooden pirate ship, sensory trail and play sculptures.
The Royal Albert Hall
Vigilantly watched over by a statue of Prince Albert from Hyde Park, The Royal Albert Hall is one of the finest examples of Victorian splendour in all of the country. Located on the northern edge of Kensington, a simple 15-minute walk from The Harrington, this immense space has been famous of the annual Proms festival since 1941. However, the 5,272 seats of the Hall are often sold out throughout the year thanks to the fantastic calendar of events from classical recitals and operas to Cirque du Soleil and charity comedy events.
If you haven’t been to Harrods, you haven’t lived! Floors and floors of designer wear, gorgeous gifts, beauty products, furniture and the best toy shop in London makes Harrods THE British department store. The food court is a great place to have lunch (especially the champagne and oyster bar) and, with the number of celebrities who frequent the store, you never know who you’ll bump into whilst browsing or chowing down.
Indulge in a slice of one of the finest British traditions and take Afternoon Tea at The Ritz London. Enjoy a selection of finely cut sandwiches, freshly baked scones with Cornish clotted cream and strawberry preserve, and a mouth-watering range of exquisitely presented pastries and teacakes, which will be replenished on request whilst dining in The Palm Court.
South Kensington Farmers’ Markets
South Kensington Farmers’ Markets takes place in Bute Street, one of Kensington’s premier foodie destinations and has been a hit with locals on Saturdays when the street is closed to traffic. Look out for, amongst other things, traditional sausages from Parsons Nose, fresh fish from Les Lawrence’s day boats on the South coast and a fantastic array of soft fruit in the summertime. Bute Street itself is also home to some great food shops including a fabulous ice cream parlour and excellent fishmongers.