London-Kensington-and-Chelsea-South-Kensington-tube-stationThe Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, located West of Westminster, covers around 5 square miles, with about 70% of this area being a part of a conservation area. There is a great deal of historic importance in the region but there is a thriving commercial centre too. The area plays host to a great number of London landmarks, international embassies and locations of great cultural interest.

How to get there

There are a number of underground stations in Kensington & Chelsea, which connect travellers to other parts of the city via the following tube lines:

Central Line
Circle Line
District Line
Hammersmith & City Line
Piccadilly Line

These lines connect Kensington & Chelsea directly to a variety of train stations such as Victoria Station, Kings Cross St Pancras and Liverpool Street as well as providing a direct connection to Heathrow Airport. The lines also provide easy connection points for all other major train and airport hubs in the Greater London area.

There are also a number of bus routes that go through Kensington & Chelsea which connect to the rest of the city, including the hop-on-hop-off red bus tours.

Where to stay

Even though Kensington & Chelsea is viewed as an upmarket area, there is a good variety of hotel accommodation to suit nearly all budgets. If money is no object and you want the grander things in life, No11 London carries prices upwards of £300 per night, and The Royal Garden Hotel, overlooking Kensington Gardens, costs around £250 for their cheapest room per night.

No.11 Cadogan Gardens hotel living room
Image: No.11 Cadogan Gardens hotel living room by martinvarsavsky via Flickr

At the other end of the scale, the London Vicarage Hotel is situated just off Kensington High Street and provides their cheapest room, including breakfast, for a wallet-friendly £63 per night.

If you shop around, a night in a decent mid-range hotel close to the action be found for £100 — £150.

What to do in Kensington & Chelsea

You will not be short of ideas for activities in Kensington & Chelsea and whether you want to relax, soak up culture or enjoy some retail therapy, there is plenty to see and do. Here are our top things to see and do in the borough:

Kensington Gardens

Kensington Gardens
Image: Kensington Gardens by sachab via Flickr

Often mistaken by tourists as a part of Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens is one of the best parks in London. The park stretches over 275 acres and contains the Round Pond with a great range of wildlife, the Italian Gardens and the Sunken Garden — all basking the glory of Kensington Palace. And if you feel like a spot of afternoon tea, the Orangery restaurant provides a great place to relax.

World famous museums

The front entrance of the Victoria and Albert Museum
Image: The front entrance of the Victoria and Albert Museum by sean_hickin via Flickr

Some of the best museums in London can be found in Kensington & Chelsea, including:

Kensington Palace
Leighton House Museum
Natural History Museum
Science Museum
Victoria & Albert Museum
National Army Museum

These will provide more than enough excitement and information for any history buff, with the Victoria & Albert, Science Museum and the Natural History Museum being regarded as amongst the best museums in the UK — and they’re free!

Harrods

Harrods is the biggest department store in Europe (spanning 5 acres) and can be found on Brompton Road in Knightsbridge. The store contains over 330 departments selling everything from kittens to kitchen ware, and gormet food to gold bricks.

Harrods London UK

Image: Harrods department store by GeorgInfanger via Flickr

The store even has a dress code that is enforced by their doormen. This dress code has, over the years, seen many big name guests turned away from the store. With up to 300,000 people shopping in the store at peak periods, the Harrods shopping experience is one not to miss out on.

Shopping

There are also a range of other shopping opportunities in Kensington & Chelsea. Kensington High Street provides a standard High Street shopping experience, albeit with a few more upmarket stores. And the Kings Road combines big brand names, boutique stores and lots of pubs and cafes to help you enjoy your shopping experience.

If you wish to shop at the biggest names in the world, Sloane Street is your number one destination. Here you will find some of the biggest fashion names in the world including; Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Louis Vuitton, Jimmy Choo, Fendi, Prada, Bulgari, Chanel and Giorgio Armani amongst others.

Outdoor markets

Kensington & Chelsea is also home to two popular markets. The first is the world famous Portobello Road market in Notting Hill, where you can buy antiques and trinkets as well as clothing — both new and vintage.

Portobello Road market
Image: Portobello Road market by Flickr user garryknight via Flickr

The second is not quite so well known, and most tourists wouldn’t even know it existed. Taking place every Saturday from 10am to 4pm, it is an outdoor market held outside of Partidges in Chelsea (nearest station: Sloane Square). Highlights include hand made sushi, oysters & champagne, jerk chicken patties and steak sandwiches. As well as a variety jams, fudges and cakes for your gastronomic pleasure.

Chelsea Football Club

Stamford Bridge (View of West Stand)
Image: Stamford Bridge (View of West Stand) by Vespa125125CFC at en.wikipedia

The 2012 Champions League winners hail from Stamford Bridge in Chelsea and are one of the biggest football clubs in the world. Anyone keen to see a game while in the area would be advised to book early through the official club site as a limited capacity of around 40,000 sees a high demand for tickets.

This guide to Kensington & Chelsea has been provided by farrar.co.uk, a local Chelsea estate agent with an unmatched knowledge of the K&C area.

Image (top): South Kensington Station by garryknight via Flickr