South Kensington-Chelsea is a district of central London. It is one most densely populated places in London and most affluent areas in the world. For travellers, the main points of interest are Albertopolis, containing several of the UK's major museums, and the shopping around Knightsbridge and Sloane Square.
This district is defined as the southern part of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBK & C), from the Thames in the south to Kensington High Street in the north, also taking in Hyde Park in the east and the area around Kensington Olympia in the west. It includes the area south of the Royal Parks commonly known as High Street Kensington and South Kensington, west to Earl's Court, and south to West Brompton, Sloane Square and Chelsea. Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens combine to form the largest green space in metropolitan London and provide a real oasis in the heart of this vast city.
South Kensington hosts four of London's largest and finest museums, its oldest and one of its most famous concert hall, and is home to the venerable Imperial College. High Street Kensington leads to a long line of shops and department stores, offering a less hectic version of Oxford Street, and very upmarket stores in Knightsbridge. Sloane Street connects Knightsbridge to Chelsea via Sloane Square and is lined with luxury brand boutiques.
Chelsea is an extensive riverside area of London that extends broadly from Sloane Square in the east to the World's End pub in the west and down to the River Thames. The King's Road marks the main thoroughfare of Chelsea.
The district contains the second largest population of American immigrants in the United Kingdom, many of whom work in the financial sector in the City, while others are connected to institutions such as the American International University, which has a campus just off High Street Kensington. Many local shops, from convenience stores to supermarkets, stock American products in their ethnic food sections. South Kensington is sometimes called the "21st arrondissement" because the number of French expatriates living there would make London the sixth largest French city. The community results in many French cafés, delicatessens and other businesses in the area. Knightsbridge is known for its Russian and Arab populations, with the accompanying restaurants and institutions they bring.
The whole of the district contains some of the most expensive residential property in the world but is a little more downmarket towards its western edges.
Following the success of the Great Exhibition of 1851, of which he was a key figure, Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria, proposed a cultural hub to continue the Exhibition's work and to promote both arts and sciences together in one area. Profits from the Exhibition were used to purchase land, which was then in the countryside, and begin an ambitious plan for the area. The prince was so influential that the project became known as "Albertopolis", first in mockery and later with affection. The first building, the South Kensington Museum (now the Victoria and Albert Museum), opening in 1857. Today Albertopolis, loosely the area around Exhibition Road, contains a collection of world-class museums, universities, conservatories, and other cultural institutions. Its tradition for innovation continues: in 2012 Exhibition Road was redeveloped and converted into a shared space for pedestrians and motorists, with no kerb to separate them.
History of Chelsea
Chelsea's modern reputation as a centre of innovation and influence originated in a period during the 19th century when the area became a veritable Victorian artists' colony: artists such as Dante Gabriel Rossetti, J.M.W. Turner, James McNeill Whistler, William Holman Hunt and John Singer Sargent, as well as writers such as George Meredith, Algernon Swinburne, Leigh Hunt and Thomas Carlyle lived and worked here. A particularly large concentration of artists existed in the area around Cheyne Walk (pronounced Chey-nee) and Cheyne Row, where the pre-Raphaelite movement had its heart.
Following the Second World War, Chelsea, like many other formerly prosperous areas became rather run down and poor. It became prominent once again as an artistic centre, Bohemian district and hot spots for young professionals in the 1960s. The Americans called this period "Swinging London" and the King's Road became the definition of style and fashion and both the Beatles and the Rolling Stones lived in the neighbourhood.
In the 1970s, the "World's End" area of the King's Road was home to Vivienne Westwood's shop ("Sex"), and witnessed the genesis of punk music and style with many Mohawks to be seen on the road against the background of the closed down shops. Thereafter, working class youth culture was priced out of the area and gravitated to Camden, Islington, Ladbroke Grove, Brixton and Brick Lane.
In the 1980s, the rise of the Sloane (archetypally Princess Diana) and the Mohawks gave way to twin set pearls, pink Polo shirts and what an American would call a "preppy". Chelsea seems to have settled into stylish affluence and aspiration.
This is a large district, served by a similarly large number of Tube stations, in Zone 1 if not otherwise noted, and three Tube lines:
- Hyde Park Corner (Piccadilly line) – For Hyde Park.
- Knightsbridge (Piccadilly line) – For Harrods, Harvey Nichols and other upmarket stores.
- Sloane Square (District and Circle lines) – For King's Road.
- South Kensington (District, Circle and Piccadilly lines) – For the museums.
- Gloucester Road (District, Circle and Piccadilly lines)
- High Street Kensington (District and Circle lines) – For general shopping and Kensington Gardens.
- Earl's Court (District and Piccadilly lines, Zones 1 and 2) – Interchange with connections to all stations on the District line. Use Earl's Court for budget lodging and step-free tube access to/from Heathrow Airport too via Acton Town on the Piccadilly line.
- Kensington Olympia (District line, Zone 2)
- West Brompton (District line, Zone 2)
Like most parts of Zone 1 (Central London), this area is well connected by a variety of bus services. Here is a general list of the bus routes serving each major destination in this area:
- South Kensington Museums: 14, 49, 70, 74, 345, 360, 414, 430, C1
- Knightsbridge: 9, 14, 19, 22, 23, 52, 74, 137, 414, 452, C1
- High Street Kensington: 9, 23, 27, 28, 49, 52, 70, 328, 452, C1
- Sloane Square: 11, 19, 22, 137, 170, 211, 319, 360, 452, C1
- King's Road Chelsea: 11, 19, 22, 49, 211, 319
- Earl's Court: 74, 190, 328, 430, C1, C3
- Hyde Park Corner: 2, 9, 14, 16, 19, 22, 23, 36, 38, 52, 73, 74, 82, 137, 148, 414, 436, C2
The most useful buses for visitors to this area are:
- 9: from Aldwych via Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus serving Hyde Park Corner, Knightsbridge, Royal Albert Hall, and High Street Kensington (to Hammersmith)
- 11: from Liverpool Street Station via the City of London, St. Paul's, Aldwych, Trafalgar Square, Westminster, and Victoria Station serving Sloane Square and King's Road Chelsea (to Fulham)
- 14: from Warren Street Station via Tottenham Court Road, Shaftesbury Avenue/Soho, and Piccadilly Circus serving Hyde Park Corner, Knightsbridge, South Kensington Museums, and Fulham Road (to Fulham and Putney)
- 19: from Finsbury Park and Islington/Angel via Tottenham Court Road, Shaftesbury Avenue/Soho, and Piccadilly Circus serving Hyde Park Corner, Knightsbridge, Sloane Square, and King's Road Chelsea (to Battersea)
- 22: from Oxford Circus via Regent Street and Piccadilly Circus serving Hyde Park Corner, Knightsbridge, Sloane Square and King's Road Chelsea (to Putney Common)
- 74: from Baker Street via Oxford Street and Marble Arch serving Hyde Park Corner, Knightsbridge, South Kensington Museums, and Earl's Court (to West Brompton, Fulham, and Putney)
- 211: from Waterloo Station (near South Bank/London Eye) via Westminster and Victoria Station serving Sloane Square and King's Road Chelsea (to Fulham and Hammersmith)
- C1: from Victoria Station serving Sloane Square, Knightsbridge, South Kensington Museums, Earl's Court, and High Street Kensington (to White City/Westfield London)
All of these routes use iconic London red double-deck buses, except C1. They typically operate at least every 10 minutes. The usual TfL fares apply.
Exhibition Road and Cromwell Road in South Kensington are home to several world class museums and all have free entry, only charging for special temporary exhibitions. They do accept (and encourage) donations if you feel you have enjoyed your visit.
Each of them more than justifies a full day's visit. It's probably more rewarding to spend your time on a relaxed visit to one or perhaps two of the South Kensington museums, giving yourself a chance to breathe in the atmosphere of the institutions and wander through some of the less obvious galleries, than it is to attempt to fit all of them into one day.
- 1 Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), Cromwell Rd (tube: ), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Sa-Th 10AM–5:45PM, F 10AM–10PM. Named in honour of Queen Victoria and her consort Prince Albert, this museum has existed for over 150 years. It contains a huge collection of decorative arts from all over the world and far back in time, trying to see everything in one day would be exhausting. There are regular exhibitions concentrating on a particular theme from Chinese art to fashion designers. Frequently they put on children's activities and late DJ nights. Free admission, some paid exhibitions.
- 2 Natural History Museum, Cromwell Rd (tube: . The Cromwell Road entrance is closed until at least June 2017 due to ongoing renovation work at the museum.), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 10AM–5:30PM. Probably the most popular of all the museums here and a must see for many visitors to London. Home to at least 70 million specimens from across all the life sciences. It's difficult to say what the most popular exhibit here is; the blue whale which towers over the entrance hall, the (now slightly tacky-looking) animatronic Tyrannosaurus rex in the dinosaur gallery, or the life-size model blue whale in the mammals gallery. Also well worth a check are the Darwin Centre (book on a free tour to see some of the most interesting, and sometimes gruesome, specimens not on public display); and the studio dedicated to BBC wildlife personality extraordinaire, David Attenborough. The NHM's "Earth Galleries" were once the adjacent Geological Museum, an independent institution until the 1980s, and still located in a separate building with a separate entrance. Free/donation.
- 3 Science Museum, Exhibition Rd (tube: ), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 10AM–6PM. Dedicated to scientific exhibitions and collections bar those related to the life sciences. A number of famous historical machines and inventions are housed here including Stephenson's Rocket. The space exhibits are especially popular. Exhibitions tend to concentrate on explaining scientific principles with working models and there is a strong emphasis on education and attracting children. The Science Museum opened a "Children's Gallery" in the 1930s and it continues to lead the way in this area; now, there are three separate galleries aimed at all ages of younger visitor, from 5 to 16. The museum also runs "Science Nights" whereby children spend an evening learning principles and participating in experiments before spending the night sleeping in the museum with the exhibits. Also houses a vast library of scientific and medical books and journals. By donation.
- 4 The Geological Museum (The Red Zone of the Natural History Museum), Cromwell Rd (tube: ). 10AM–5:30PM. This venerable old institution was absorbed by the neighbouring Natural History Museum in 1985 but still has something of a separate identity. Unsurprisingly, devoted to all things geological with especially popular exhibits on vulcanology and earthquakes and fossils of all types. Very popular with kids and often underrated. Free/donation.
- 5 National Army Museum, Royal Hospital Road, SW3 4HT (tube: ). Daily 9:40AM-5:20PM (last admission: 4:20PM). Free/donation.
- 6 Memorial Scrolls Trust Museum (Czech Scrolls Museum), 3rd floor, Kent House, Rutland Gardens, SW7 1BX (Tube: ), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. By appointment only; scheduled guided tours of 60 min for up to 20 people once a week, see details here. Following the mass murder perpetrated by the Nazis, the Jewish population of postwar Czechoslovakia was a tiny fraction of its former size, and religious persecution continued under the communist regime. This tiny museum tells the fascinating story of how, in 1964, 1,500 Torah scrolls were rescued from rotting in Prague and brought to London, where they were painstakingly restored by hand. 130 scrolls remain in situ, but the rest have been distributed among synagogues across the UK and around the world. Suggested donation £5 per visitor.
Parks and gardens
This area, while urban, is not lacking in green areas. Many residential squares have gated gardens in their centre, although only the residents will usually have keys to access them. Many other green areas will be open, however. The dominant green area is, of course, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. These royal parks are contiguous and often mistaken for just one park, called Hyde Park, although they are officially separate and have different opening hours. Together they are one of the larger metropolitan parks on Earth and cover more land than some small countries. The parks are popular for urban bird-watching as they hold over a hundred different species, from common urban birds and waterfowl to kestrels, owls and parrots. Flocks of the latter, ring-necked parakeets, have established themselves throughout London, although no one knows from where they came (one theory is that they escaped from the filming of The African Queen in 1950, although there are records of urban parrots as far back as the Victorian period).
- 7 Chelsea Physic Garden, 66 Royal Hospital Rd SW3 4HS, ☏ . Nov-Mar: M-F 11AM–3PM; Apr–Oct: M 11AM–5PM, Tu–F Su 11AM–6PM (Late Openings Jul-Aug T W 11AM-10PM, last entry 8:30PM). Garden founded by apothecaries in the 17th century to the medicinal properties of plants. It was only opened to the public in the 1980s, when it became a charity. The heat-sink caused by its thick walls, combined with the general waste heat of London itself, keeps the garden much warmer than it would otherwise be at this latitude. Due to this, the garden contains the world's most northerly example of a grapefruit outside of a greenhouse, and the largest fruiting olive tree in the country. The collection contains thousands of different plant species. Apr-Oct £10.50; Nov-Mar £7.40.
- 8 Hyde Park (tube: , , or ). 5AM–midnight. The eastern half of the twin parks. Of the two, Hyde Park is open for longer and has more open, unwooded land; it is often host to concerts, fun fairs and events. Free.
- 9 Diana Memorial Fountain (south of the Serpentine, by the bridge). More of an artificial stream than a fountain, flowing in an oval through an open grassy area which, in normal summers, is a popular paddling spot for children and grown-ups alike. Free.
- 10 Rose Garden (close to Hyde Park Corner). The roses are mixed with herbaceous plants and bedding flowers so there's always some horticultural interest no matter the time of year, though the roses' peak is in June. Two interesting fountains depict Diana the huntress and a boy seemingly wrestling a dolphin.
- 11 Holocaust Memorial (between the rose garden and the Serpentine). A quiet birch wood surrounds an understated memorial stone inscribed with a quotation from the Book of Lamentation: "For these I weep. Streams of tears flow from my eyes because of the destruction of my people.".
- 12 The Serpentine. The Serpentine is a long, thin artificial lake within Hyde Park which contains a range of waterfowl and fish. It was first made by damming the River Westbourne but it is now fed by three boreholes. The western end of the lake is actually in Kensington Gardens, in which it is called The Long Water. Swimming and boating are popular activities on the Serpentine; see 'Do' section.
- 13 Speakers Corner. By custom, in this far northeastern corner of the park (by the Marble Arch Tube stop near Mayfair), people are free to say whatever they like about who and whatever they like. Worth checking out to see the lunatics and exhibitionists spouting off.
- 14 7 July Memorial. A memorial made out of 52 stainless steel columns representing each of the 52 victims who died in a series of terrorist attacks in the London bombings on July 7th, 2005.
- 15 Kensington Gardens (tube: , , or ). 6AM–dusk. The western half of the twin parks and the half that is often forgotten in public consciousness. It tends to be more formal than its neighbouring park. Free.
- 16 Albert Memorial. Highly detailed, Gothic-style monument to commemorate Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria. Opposite the Royal Albert Hall.
- 17 Diana Memorial Playground. Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground
- 18 Elfin Oak. A 900-year-old tree stump carved and painted to feature elves and small animals.
- 19 Italian Gardens.
- 20 Kensington Palace, Palace Green, W8 4PX (Tube: or ). W-Su, Nov-Feb 10AM-4PM, Mar-Oct 10:30AM-5PM. A royal residence which is still used by Prince William, Kate and their young family. Much of it is however open to the public and it is a very popular tourist attraction perhaps due as much to its association with Princess Diana as anything else. The King's Gallery here is a magnificent Regency period court drawing room and contains some impressive paintings including a Van Dyke. Also a nice restaurant on site called The Orangery. Adult £17, child (aged 5-14) £8.50, concession (incl. child aged 16, 17) £13.60.
- 21 The Round Pond (half way along the Broad Walk). Full of swans, geese, gulls, and other birds. Deckchairs can be hired for £1.50. The park benches and grassy areas are free.
- 22 The Serpentine Gallery, Kensington Gardens, W2 3XA, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Su 10AM-6PM. A nice modern art gallery, near to the Serpentine. Too small to host a permanent collection, instead hosts temporary exhibitions which can last anything from a few weeks to over a year. Each summer a pavilion next to the gallery is designed by a different architect, which then houses various cultural events. Free.
- 23 Roper's Garden, Cheyne Walk. Small green area, with benches, by the Thames. Created in the crater of a World War II bomb site, it contains an ancient cherry tree to commemorate the visit of Gunji Koizumi, the man who introduced judo to the country. Named after Margaret Roper née More, to whom the area was a gift from her father, Sir Thomas More, on her marriage to William Roper.
Blue plaques mark the buildings in which the notable people of the past lived and worked. The scheme started in London in 1866 and continues to this day. There are hundreds of houses and other buildings marked in this way in the area; the following are just a sample of those that can be viewed. This can be a pleasant way to look around the city, something to see on your journey, or the focus of a pilgrimage to see the historic sites related to a specific figure.
- 24 Alfred Hitchcock's House, 153 Cromwell Road, SW5 0TQ (tube: Earl's Court). A plaque erected in 1999 marks the house where the famous director lived from 1926 to 1939.
- 25 Bram Stoker's House, 18 St Leonard’s Terrace, SW3 4QG (tube: Sloane Square). In 1977, the London Dracula Society unveiled the plaque that marks the home of the author of Dracula.
- 26 Mark Twain's House, 23 Tedworth Square, SW3 5DR (tube: Sloane Square). The American writer lived at this address from 1896 to 1897.
- 27 Oscar Wilde's House, 34 Tite Street, SW3 4JA (tube: Sloane Square). The famous Victorian writer lived at this house.
- 28 Rosalind Franklin's House, Donovan Court, Drayton Gardens, SW10 9QS (tube: South Kensington or Gloucester Road). One of the discoverers of the DNA molecule lived here in the 1950s until her death in 1958.
- 29 T.S. Eliot's House, 18 Kensington Court Place, W8 5QF (Tube: High Street Kensington). The poet lived and died in this house.
- 30 Sir William Gilbert's House, 39 Harrington Gardens, SW7 4JU (tube: Gloucester Road). One half of the comic opera writing team Gilbert & Sullivan lived here.
- 31 Sir Winston Churchill's House, 28 Hyde Park Gate, SW7 5DJ (tube: Gloucester Road or High Street Kensington). One of the UK's greatest prime ministers lived and died at this address.
- On the same 220-m street are plaques for the founder of the Scouting movement Robert Baden Powell, author and playwright Edith Bagnold, sculptor Jacob Epstein, and one for each of Leslie Stephen (writer) and his daughters Vanessa Bell (artist) and Virginia Woolf (novelist) who were both born at number 22.
Churches and buildings
- 32 Billionaries' Row (Kensington Palace Gardens) (tube: High Street Kensington or Notting Hill Gate). One of the most expensive residential streets on the planet! Most of the buildings here are embassies or ambassadorial residences but the rest of the mansions belong to some of the richest people in the country (or elsewhere). For added historical value, during World War II, the current Norwegian embassy was where King Haakon VII led the Norwegian government-in-exile (commemorated by a blue plaque) and MI19's "London Cage" prisoner-of-war facility was located here. There is no public right of way but the Crown Estate allow pedestrians and cyclists to use the street; photography is not permitted.
- 33 Brompton Oratory (Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary), Brompton Rd, SW7 2RP (tube: South Kensington), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Beautiful Italianate church created during the Catholic revival of the 19th century.
- 34 Carlyle's House, 24 Cheyne Row, SW3 5HL, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. W-Su 2PM-5PM. Now preserved by the National Trust, this 18th-century house was the home of the historian Thomas Carlyle from 1834 and now houses a museum dedicated to his life and work. £2.50-4.90.
- 35 Chelsea Old Church, 64 Cheyne Walk, SW3 5LT (tube: South Kensington, Gloucester Square or Sloane Square), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Tu-Th 2PM-4PM. This church on the bank of the Thames was built in 1157. It is the only church in London with chained books. A statue of Thomas More sits in front of the church.
- 36 Crosby Hall, Cheyne Walk, SW3 5AZ (tube: Sloane Square). Not open to the public. All that remains of a Tudor mansion built in the City of London. In 1910, to avoid demolition to make way for a bank, it was moved brick by brick and reassembled at Cheyne Walk. It is now a Grade II* listed building and possibly the largest private home in the capital.
- 37 Holy Trinity Church, Sloane St, SW1X 9BZ (tube: Sloane Square), ☏ . From their website: "In common with the aims of the Arts & Crafts Movement, the architect of Holy Trinity Church, John Dando Sedding, believed that a church should be 'wrought and painted over with everything that has life and beauty—in frank and fearless naturalism.'" Naturalism or not, the church is known as an ornate building.
- 38 Royal Hospital, Royal Hospital Rd (tube: Sloane Square), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Tours: M–F 10AM & 1:30PM; museum: M–F 10AM–4PM. A retirement home for soldiers created by King Charles II. Tours around the listed building and grounds are regular and include the museum (which can be visited separately) whose exhibits contain military memorabilia donated by Chelsea Pensioners over the years. Tours: £4–8 per person; museum: free.
- 39 Russian Orthodox Cathedral (Cathedral of the Dormition and All Saints), 67 Ennismore Gardens, SW7 1NH (Tube: ), ☏ . Su service 9:30AM-11:30AM, visits noon-6PM. Constructed in the Lombard style as an Anglican church in the 19th century, and passed to the Moscow Patriarchate in 1956. Rather beautiful and unique in London. Free.
- 40 Brompton Cemetery, entrances on Old Brompton Road and Fulham Rd (tube: West Brompton, Earl's Court or Fulham Broadway). One of the "Magnificent Seven" old cemeteries in London. Graves range from plain to ornate and the site can be a tranquil place to walk amid the bustle of the city. It was opened in 1840 and is still a working cemetery, although it was closed for a some time in the late 20th century. Can be nice, if morbid, for an afternoon stroll, especially as a route (and cycle route) between Old Brompton Road and Fulham Road.
- 41 Penfold Post Box, Kensington High Street, W8 (near the junction with Melbury Rd). One of the few Victorian hexagonal Penfold post boxes still in use. Although there are others in this district, this one in notable for a narrow escape during World War II: minor bomb damage can still be seen in the base of the pillar.
- 42 Police Box, Earls Court Road, outside Earl's Court station (tube: Earl's Court). This police box was intended as part of a 1990s high-tech revival of the 1920s-60s police box system. The experiment failed and this is now the only police box left in London. It remains as street furniture and is quite popular with fans of the TV series Doctor Who.
- 43 Royal College of Art, Kensington Gore, SW7 2EU (tube: High Street Kensington or South Kensington), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. usually 10AM–5:30PM. A Victorian school, now a university with a mission to advance knowledge of the fine arts. Exhibitions are common. Times and admission charges vary but can often be free, although visitors may need to book tickets to certain events.
- 44 Royal College of Music, Prince Consort Rd, SW7 2BS (tube: South Kensington), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Museum: Tu–F 11:30AM–4:30PM; performances: varies. Victorian school of music created on a suggestion by Prince Albert. It is still an active school but visitors may be more interested in its museum and performances. The free museum houses instruments dating back to the 15th century with several unusual pieces. Performances—by students, professors or visitors—are often free as well. Museum: free; performances: Varies but many are free (although tickets may be required).
- 45 Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, SW7 2AR, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. The UK learned society of geographers, founded in 1830. Hosts weekly lectures and other gatherings, many of which are free to attend to any member of the public. The RGS has funded many British expeditions over the years and displays at its northeastern corner statues of two of its best-known explorers: Dr David Livingstone, who hoped to end the East African slave trade by finding the source of the Nile; Sir Ernest Shackleton, who led the "worst journey in the world" across the Southern Ocean to rescue his stricken crew trapped in the Antarctic sea ice. Both men died on expedition.
- 46 Saatchi Gallery, Duke Of York's HQ, King's Road, SW3 4RY. Daily 10AM-6PM. Prestigious contemporary art gallery worth a visit. Usually free.
- Watch football: 1 Chelsea FC, Fulham Rd, Fulham, SW6 1HS (tube: ). Aren't in Chelsea but a short walk west of it. Their home ground Stamford Bridge is just west of Brompton Cemetery, which puts it over the boundary into Fulham.
- 2 Boating on the Serpentine (Blue Bird Boats), Serpentine Road, Hyde Park, W2 2UH, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Easter-Halloween daily 10AM-dusk, solar shuttle every 30 min noon-dusk. Rowing boats and pedalos available for hire. Alternatively, you can go on a (very short) 'cruise' on the solar shuttle, a silent boat powered entirely by the rays of the mighty London sun. Rowing and pedalo: adult £12 per hour, child £5 per hour.
- 3 Swimming in the Serpentine (Serpentine Lido). May-Sept. Famous swimming club in Hyde Park's lake. The winter months are members-only (hardy club members traditionally take part in a swim on Christmas Day), but during the summer months the lido is open to the general public. A concrete 'beach' area, sun loungers, a kiddies' paddling pool and café are also on-site. 2020 season is members-only due to COVID.
- 4 Hyde Park Tennis and Sports Centre, South Carriage Drive, W2 2UH (tube: South Kensington), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Times vary by month and area; generally open in daylight hours. Contains six hard tennis courts, two mini tennis courts, a six-rink lawn bowling green and a nine-hole putting green; plus support facilities such as changing rooms and a café. Bowling greens, tennis courts and nearby football pitches can be booked. Putting is mostly drop-in only (as is some tennis). Some equipment can be rented from the sports centre. £7.50 bowling green; £5.50 putting green (adult).
- 5 Institut Français du Royaume-Uni, 17 Queensberry Pl, SW7 2DT (tube: South Kensington), ☏ . M–F 9AM–11PM; Sa 10AM-11PM; Su depends on events. The first in a worldwide network of institutes to promote and present the best of French culture. The site includes a café-restaurant, a cinema showing French films, the largest French library in the UK and a French language centre, and runs other events. Set in a Kensington block that also includes the French consulate and a French school.
- Le Bistrot. M–F 9AM–8:30PM; Sa 11:30AM–8:30PM; Su 1:15PM–8:30PM. French café.
- Children's Library, 32 Harrington Rd, SW7 2DT, ☏ . Tu–F 2PM-5PM; Sa noon–6PM.
- Ciné Lumière, 17 Queensberry Pl, SW7 2DT, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M–F 9AM–11PM; Sa 10AM–11PM. Watch French-language movies in the Institute's cinema. £9 general ticket.
- Language Centre, 13 Cromwell Pl, SW7 2JN, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. M–Th 9AM–8:30PM; F 9AM–4PM; Sa 9:30AM–4:30PM. Learn French or take courses on French culture from France's official teaching centre in the UK. Intensive courses can be completed in just two weeks, general courses are closer to 10–15 weeks. From £295 per course & from £120 for 3 sessions of private tuition.
- La Médiathèque, 17 Queensberry Pl, SW7 2DT, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu–Sa noon–7PM (6PM on Th). The largest French library in the UK. Read and borrow French books from the library. Non-members are free to browse; members can borrow books.
- 6 London Cru, 21/27 Seagrave Road, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Urban winery based in West London run by a team of experts that include international winemaker Gavin Monery and Master of Wine student Mark Andrew. The winery offers public tours, wine tastings, courses, and custom winemaking. from £15.
- 7 Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore (tube: South Kensington), ☏ . Since opening in 1871 as part of Queen Victoria's memorial to her late husband it has become one of the most famous venues in the UK, and remains one of London's main concert halls. It still mainly caters for a classical audience, but it also hosts many other varied events including the odd contemporary rock/pop acts, and its corridors are sometimes used as exhibition spaces. During July–September the Albert Hall hosts the BBC Proms. This British national institution is a series of nightly classical concerts with world-leading performers for which standing tickets can be bought on the door on the night for as little as £5.
- 8 Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Sq, SW1W 8AS (tube: Sloane Square), ☏ . Britain's leading national theatre company dedicated to new work by innovative writers from the UK and around the world.
- 9 The Troubadour, 263-265 Old Brompton Rd, SW5 9JA (tube: Earl's Court or West Brompton), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Café: 9AM–midnight; club: 8PM–2AM. Famous bohemian cafe with a pleasing menu of hearty dishes such as fishcakes, burgers and delicious filling salads. Good wine list too and lovely leafy garden out the back. There is a great little music venue downstairs and even accommodation on the top floor. As a music venue, the Troubadour has been programming acoustic music since the 1950s when Bob Dylan et al took to the stage. It's bigger now and has gone electric but is still one of the best venues in London for up and coming talent. The musical spectrum is broad. On any night you might catch solo singer-songwriters or full bands. No heavy rock or covers bands though. Amongst the acts hosted have been, Adele, Laura Marlin, Jamie T and The Kleeks. There is a good menu too but arrive early to get a table. It can get very busy. Well worth a visit. Entry from £6. Food from about £10-20.
- 10 Fulham Road Picturehouse, 142 Fulham Rd, SW10 9QR (tube: ), ☏ . Trendy and reasonably priced 3-screen art deco cinema which shows mainstream and independent films. Also shows a lot of classics.
- 1 The Duke of York Square Shopping Complex (just off King's Road, near Sloane Square). Has a range of spacious branches of popular fashion chains, but lacks some of the road's character, however the small adjoining public space of Duke of York square is a welcome place for a rest between shopping, and a popular place to hang out.
- 2 Harrods, 87–135 Brompton Rd SW1X 7XL (tube: Knightsbridge), ☏ . M-Sa 10AM–8PM. The most famous store in London, favoured by the British establishment and owned by the state of Qatar. Fairly strict dress code so do not turn up looking like a backpacker and expect to gain entrance.
- 3 Harvey Nichols, 109-125 Knightsbridge, SW1X 7RJ (tube: Knightsbridge), ☏ . M-Sa 10AM–8PM. Large department store full of designer goods and an excellent cafe.
- 4 The Hummingbird Bakery, 47 Old Brompton Rd, SW7 3JP (Opposite South Kensington tube station), ☏ . A nice little bakery with wonderful cupcakes. Try their red velvet cupcake that is incredibly popular with the locals; it even comes in a gluten-free version. A regular size cupcake ranges from £1.55-1.85.
- 5 H.R. Owen Ferrari London, 125 Old Brompton Rd, SW7 3RP (tube: Gloucester Road or South Kensington), ☏ , fax: . M–F 9AM–6PM; Sa 9AM–5PM. If the expensive clothes and products in other shops don't appeal, expensive cars are also available in this area.
- 6 King's Road (tube: Sloane Square, for north-east end). One of London's smartest fashion streets, having evolved from the cutting-edge of bohemia and innovative fashion in the 1960s to a more genteel place to indulge in retail therapy, albeit with a notable presence of trendy young Londoners (including many so called Sloane Rangers). It is a very attractive street that retains the atmosphere of a small town whilst being in the heart of a huge city. There is a huge range of fashion stores from upmarket chains to one-off boutiques, as well as variety of other shops, complimented by cafés, restaurants, bars, pubs and clubs. There is an obvious affluence to the road without any bling or snobbiness. King's Road stretches south-west from here for miles, though the best of the shopping is in the first mile.
- 7 Lamborghini London, 27 Old Brompton Rd, SW7 3TD (tube: South Kensington, opposite the south entrance), ☏ . M–F 9AM–6PM; Sa 10AM–3PM. If you fancy a new car and have a lot of spare change, it might be worth a look. Poorer people are allowed to look at the shiny cars too.
- 8 Sloane Street (tube: Sloane Square or Knightsbridge). Lined with high-end designer label stores, such as Chanel, Dior, Fendi, Gucci, Hermès, Jimmy Choo, Louis Vitton, and many more.
- 9 Whole Foods Market, 63-97 Kensington High Street, W8 5SE (tube: High Street Kensington), ☏ . M-Sa 8AM–10PM; Su noon-6PM. The Kensington branch of this American chain of natural food supermarkets is the largest in the world.
- 10 The Carnival Store, 95 Hammersmith Road, W14 0QH (Tube: Kensington (Olympia) and a short work along Hammersmith Road.), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Fancy dress stocking an extensive range of budget to mid-range costumes, masks and acessories, staff are very approachable and prepared to answer queries.
Despite being a very upmarket and affluent area, there are still many places to eat on a budget, especially on the high street areas by the stations, each of which has its share of chain restaurants and fast food outlets. Gastropubs are another eating options, which can be found in the Drink section.
- 1 La Nuova Delizia, 63-65 Chelsea Manor Street, SW3 5RZ, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Noon–11PM. Quaint Italian bistro offers 18 different pizzas, three risottos, various pasta dishes, gnocchi and other traditional Italian entrees. It’s top-notch food at a great value. £10–12 for a main meal.
- 2 Little Japan, 32 Thurloe Street, SW7 2LT, ☏ . Japanese restaurant and take-away between South Kensington station and the museums.
- 3 Pop's, 272-274 Old Brompton Road, SW5 9HR (tube: Earl's Court or West Brompton), ☏ . M–Sa 6:30AM–6:30PM; Su 8AM–6:30PM. Simple and straight-forward "greasy spoon" café for a good all-day breakfast or other budget meal. £5.50 for a Full English Breakfast.
- 4 Beirut Express, 65 Old Brompton Rd, SW7 3JS (tube: South Kensington), ☏ . 11AM–12:30AM. Part of the local Maroush chain of Lebanese restaurants based in Edgware Rd. From £14.
- 5 Comptoir Libanais South Kensington, 1-5 Exhibition Road, ☏ . M–Sa 8:30AM–midnight, Su 8:30AM–10:30PM. Delicious Lebanese food, served without fuss, and fairly promptly considering the crowds. Wide range of vegetarian choices. The pretty, colourful dining room includes several long tables, where you will be seated next to other diners. Part of a moderate-sized chain across London, and beyond. Mains £12-15.
- 6 Côte Brasserie, 7-12 Sloane Sq, SW1W 8EG (tube: Sloane Sq), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M–F 11:30AM–11PM, Sa 10AM–11PM, Su 10AM–10PM. Modern restaurant/bar at the Sloane Square Hotel serving French cuisine. Popular lunch place for people working in the area.
- 7 Da Mario, 15 Gloucester Rd, SW7 4PP (at Queens Gate Terrace, few blocks N of Gloucester Rd tube), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily noon-1AM; last order at 11:30PM. Popular family-run ristorante with great pizzas and Italian dishes. Come early or get on the waiting list or book in advance. Mains around £10–16.
- 8 Café and Terrace at Harvey Nichols (Fifth Floor Café), 109-125 Knightsbridge SW1X 7RJ (tube: Knightsbridge), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M–Sa 10AM–8PM, Su 11:30AM–6PM. The aptly name café on the fifth floor of Harvey Nichols. A roof terrace gives a view of the rooftops of Knightsbridge.
- 9 Firezza, 116 Finborough Rd, SW10 9ED (tube: West Brompton), ☏ . M–Th 5PM–11PM; F Sa noon–midnight; Su noon–11PM. Takeaway pizza isn't unusual but this local company produces not only gourmet pizza but square, metric, gourmet pizza. Take out and delivery only. From £8.99 per half metre.
- 10 Great India Tandoori, 79 Lower Sloane St, SW1 W8DA (tube: Sloane Street), ☏ . noon–3PM; 6PM-midnight. One of Chelsea's most popular restaurants. Established by Satir Ahmed in 1960.
- 11 Kensington Creperie (Cafe Creperie), 2 Exhibition Rd (tube: South Kensington), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Su 11AM–11:30PM, M noon–11:30PM. A small, cute, often crowded cafe and authentic French creperie, popular with the local French and various other South Ken expats. Given its location near the tube, it is a fine place to sit outside and watch the fashionable young people pass by. £3–8.50.
- 12 La Bouchee, 56 Old Brompton Rd, SW7 3DY (tube:South Kensington), ☏ . M-F noon–3PM, 5:30PM–11PM, Sa noon–4PM, 5:30PM–11PM, Su noon–4PM, 5:30–22:30. Decent, reasonably priced French Restaurant. £14.50 for 2 courses.
- 13 The Pig's Ear, 35 Old Church St, SW3 5BS (tube: South Kensington), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M–F noon–10PM; Sa noon–10:50PM; Su noon-9PM. Lively, old-world style pub/restaurant on Old Church Street. Acclaimed bistro fare and a wide selection of wines by the glass. Mains around £10–16.
- 14 Sole Luna Pizza & Pasta, 32-34 Thurloe St, SW7 2LT (Adjacent to the northern exit from South Kensington underground station), ☏ . This Italian bistro-style restaurant offers good food but the prices are too high compared to the rather bad service. The waiters, which change often, are not very attentive and almost yank the plates and glasses from the customer as soon as they have finished. The restaurant can be very busy due to its location, but the service leaves a lot to be desired. £4–25.
- 15 Babylon (Entrance at street level from Derry Street, just off Kensington High Street right next to the station), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Sa 11:30AM–midnight, Su 11:30AM–5:30PM. Set amid Kensington Roof Gardens, seven floors above High Street Kensington station with a view over the city. £39.50 for 2 courses.
- 16 Bibendum, 81 Fulham Rd, SW3 6RD (tube: South Kensington), ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. Restaurant: M-F noon-2:30PM, 7PM-11PM; Sa 12:30PM-3PM, 7PM-11PM; Su 12:30PM 7PM-10:30PM. Bar: M-Sa noon-11PM; Su noon-10:30PM. Café: M-F 8:30AM-5PM; Sa 9AM-noon. Café, restaurant and oyster bar in Michelin House, an ornately tiled art nouveau building which belies the fact that it used to be a garage, albeit one catering to the few rich patrons who could afford an automobile in Edwardian London. Bibendum is the name of the character most commonly known as the Michelin Man.
- 17 Gordon Ramsay, 68 Royal Hospital Road, SW3 4HP (Tube: Sloane Square), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Lunch M-F noon–2:30PM, dinner: M-F 6:30PM-11:30PM, closed weekends. The original, flagship branch of the Ramsay empire. You are highly unlikely to find the man himself behind the stove these days, but this triple Michelin-starred eatery deserves its reputation as one of the finest on the planet. The lunch menu is just about affordable, but getting a reservation is problematic. Dress code applies.
The southern area by the river has had a bohemian reputation since the nineteenth century, when it was a famous artists colony. In the 1960s it was part of the Swinging London culture, in the 1970s it was famous for punks, and in the 80s known for rich Sloane Rangers.
- 1 Builders Arms, 13 Britten St, SW3 3TY (tube: South Kensington or Sloane St), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M–Sa 11AM–11PM; Su noon–10:30PM. Gastropub near the Royal Marsden Hospital and just off the King's Rd.
- 2 Chelsea Potter, 119 Kings Rd, SW3 4PL (First pub when walking away from Sloane Square tube station), ☏ . M–F 11AM–11PM; Sa 11AM–midnight; Su noon–midnight. Traditional pub fare, but when warm outside, best people watching spot around. Also, Aussie and Kiwi barmen solidify the awesome environment here.
- 3 Coopers Arms, 87 Flood St, SW3 5TB (tube: Sloane St), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Great pints, including Peroni on tap. Best Sunday Roast around, and more of a gastropub than a traditional pub.
- 4 Maggie's, 329 Fulham Rd, SW10 9QL (tube: West Brompton, Earl's Court, Gloucester Road or South Kensington), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Tu–W 11PM–2:30AM; Th 10:30PM–02:30; F Sa 10:30PM–3:30AM. 1980s-themed nightclub. Named after 1980s prime minister Margaret Thatcher, whose speeches can be heard playing in the toilets. At the splurge level of costs, both to get in and at the bar. £15 entry.
- 5 The Phoenix, 23 Smith St, SW3 4EE (tube: South Kensington or Sloane Square), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M–Sa 11AM–11PM; Su noon–10:30PM. Great pints, tremendous place for a pint on a sunny day. be sure to grab one of the outdoor tables and enjoy a cool pint on a hot day here (when not raining in London).
- 6 Queens Head, 27 Tryon St, SW3 3LG (tube: Sloane Square), ☏ . M–Th noon–11PM; F–Sa noon–midnight; Su noon–11PM. LGBT traditional pub; real ale and standard pub food separates it from the trendier Kings Rd establishments. Karaoke every other Saturday.
The western side of this destination is, in relative terms, the cheaper end of the area. Major urbanisation, and drinking establishments, came with the underground stations in the 1860s.
- 7 Courtfield, 187 Earl's Court Rd, SW5 9AN (tube: Earl's Court), ☏ . M–Sa 8AM-midnight; Su 9AM–11:30PM. CAMRA-listed gastropub, serving food and a range of beers.
- 8 Drayton Arms, 153 Old Brompton Rd, SW5 0LJ (tube: Gloucester Road), ☏ . M–Sa noon–11PM; Su noon–10:30PM. A mix of traditional pub and bohemian nightspot. A good range of beer and slightly more upmarket than some other pubs in the area.
- 9 Gloucester Arms, 34 Gloucester Rd, SW7 4RB (tube: Gloucester Road), ☏ . M–W 11AM–11PM; Th–Sa 11AM–midnight; Su noon–10:30PM. Traditional pub.
- 10 The Prince of Teck, 161 Earl's Court Rd, SW5 9RQ (tube: Earls Court), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M–Th 11AM–11:30PM; F 11AM–midnight; Sa 8AM–midnight; Su 8AM–11:30PM. Traditional pub downstairs with a dining area on the first floor.
- 11 Troubadour Wines, 267 Old Brompton Rd, SW5 9JA (Right next door to its famous sister, The Troubadour Cafe; tube: Earl's Court or West Brompton), ☏ . noon–10PM. This cozy wine bar is a quieter alternative to the buzz next door. With a great selection of wines from around the world, many of which are not available anywhere else in London, this is a peaceful oasis where you can discover delicious and good value wines. Drink in or take home.
- 12 Zetland Arms, 2 Bute St, SW7 3EX (tube: South Kensington), ☏ . M–Sa 11AM-midnight; Su noon–11PM. Traditional pub near South Kensington station.
- 13 Hjem Kensington, 3 Launceston Place, W8 5RL. Popular Danish café.
The eastern side of this destination is the most exclusive. Knightsbridge was constructed in the 19th century, at a time when pubs and beer shops were considered something only frequented by poor people. The owners and designers of Knightsbridge included pubs in the plans, for their servants, but made sure to place them down side streets where they wouldn't spoil the view.
- 14 Admiral Codrington, 17 Mossop St, SW3 2LY (tube: South Kensington), ☏ . M Tu 11:30–11PM; W Th 11:30AM–midnight; F Sa 11:30AM–1AM; Su noon–10:30PM. Gastropub.
- 15 The Antelope, 22 Eaton Terrace, SW1W 8EZ (tube: Sloane Square), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M–Th & Sa noon–11PM; F noon–12:30PM, Su noon–10PM. Traditional pub with many original features preserved from its Georgian origin.
- 16 The Hour Glass, 279 Brompton Rd, SW3 2DY, ☏ . This small, triangular, very easy-going pub just a little away from the main street bustle is a favorite among the locals, above all because the seating inside is designed to prevent overcrowding, but also for its pavement seating and upscale gastropub fare.
This destination has many hotels and accommodation across a range of price points. As with most things in London, cost is often relative to the distance from the centre. For this destination, the hotels around Knightsbridge in the east are more in the splurge range, while those around Earls Court in the west are mostly budget or mid-range. For more splurgey, upmarket hotels, you might want to look at Mayfair-Marylebone. For more budgety, affordable hotels, try either Hammersmith and Fulham or Paddington-Maida Vale.
If privacy and luxury are not big concerns, or just not in your price range, these hostels will at least give you a place to sleep for the night.
- 1 The Londonears Hostel, 1 Barkston Gdns, SW5 0ER (tube:Earl's Court), ☏ , fax: . Youth hostel for those willing to sleep in a bunk bed in a dormitory with many others. From £12 for a bed in a dormitory with up to 14 people.
- 2 Park House Women's Hostel, 227 Earl's Court Rd, SW5 9BL (tube: Earl's Court), ☏ , ✉ PH@viridianhousing.org.uk. Women only. Single rooms with shared facilities. From £49.
Many of these listings are converted townhouses, often on streets full of other converted townhouses.
- 3 Ambassadors Hotel, 16 Collingham Rd, SW5 OLX (tube: Gloucester Road), ☏ , fax: . Popular three star hotel situated on Collingham Road between Earls Court and Kensington. The hotel offers 140 en-suite rooms, all with modern amenities. Book direct for best rates and low prices.
- 4 , 20 Nevern Square, Earls Court, SW5 9PD, ☏ . Overlooks the tranquil gardens of Nevern Square and offers a mix of European and Oriental influences. £79 and up.
- 5 Avonmore Hotel, 66 Avonmore Road, W14 8RS (tube: West Kensington), ☏ , , fax: .
- 6 Chelsea House Hotel, 96 Redcliffe Gdn, SW10 9HH (5 min from Earl's Court Underground, go to right on Earls Court Road, the hotel's 50 m after crossing Crompton Rd), ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 10AM. The staff is very gentle and helpful. It is clean, and the rooms are all right, they are a bit small, have fridge, a small TV, but no table. The hotel is not nice, but OK. The breakfast is uninteresting, except the coffee, which is awful! But, the tea and the juice are good. It is close to many pubs, cafés and shops. Good place to stay, but lots of traffic.
- 7 easyHotel Earl's Court, 42-48 West Cromwell Rd, SW5 9QL (5 min from Earl's Court tube station), ✉ firstname.lastname@example.orgHotel.com. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 10AM. Guests can only book an easyHotel on the website and rooms are priced on the basis of the earlier you book, the less you pay. £varies.
- 8 Mayflower Hotel, 26-28 Trebovir Road, Earls Court, ☏ . The Mayflower Hotel is a boutique Bed and Breakfast hotel in Earls Court in London. The hotel is close to Kensington High Street. From £73.
- 9 Exhibition Court Hotel 4, 25 Collingham Pl, SW5 0QF (tube: Earl's Court or Gloucester Road), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Neat and tidy 2-star hotel less than 5 minutes walk from Earls Court tube station. They have a 24-hour front desk. Double rooms with bathroom from around £60 (summer pricing) with basic breakfast included. The rooms are nicer than many of the double rooms in the hostels along Earls Court Rd, for much the same price, although there is no wi-fi internet.
- 10 The Jade (formerly "Green Court Hotel"), 52 Hogarth Rd, SW5 0PU (tube: Earl's Court Station or West Brompton), ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 10:30AM. Long-established private 2-star hotel around 2 minutes' walk from Earls Court tube station. Well-heated, double-glazed and secure. Telephone and cable TV in room (Sky News, CNN), free wi-fi and continental breakfast. From £45.
- 11 Kensington West, 25 Matheson Road, W14 8SN (tube: West Kensington), ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Refurbished 2-star hotel offering 24-hour reception, wireless internet, and flat screen TVs. From £65.
- 12 The Lord Jim Hotel, 23-25 Penywern Rd, SW5 9TT (tube: Earl's Court), ☏ , fax: , ✉ LJH@lgh-hotels.com. One of the best hotels on Penywern Road, they have 45 rooms ranging from singles to quads. Breakfast is included, some rooms en suite. There is a TV lounge, a 24-hour concierge, and the staff is friendly and helpful. It is clean and the shared bathrooms are not bad at all. Online booking £37 for the booking itself, between £17-33 per person single.
- 13 Merlyn Court Hotel, 2 Barkston Gdns, SW5 0EN (tube: Earl's Court), ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. Lovely and friendly family run bed and breakfast hotel. Totally no smoking. Located in a quiet Edwardian Garden Square. Bright and clean rooms. Family rooms are available. From £45 (without bathroom); from £65 (with bathroom).
- 14 St. Mark Hotel, 4 Barkston Gdns, SW5 0EN (tube: Earl's Court), ☏ , fax: . This hotel offers 25 guest rooms all with private en-suite facilities. Book online for best deals.
- 15 Ashburn Hotel, 111 Cromwell Road, SW7 4DP (entrance on Ashburn Gardens, 150m west of Gloucester Rd tube), ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 4-star boutique hotel with 38 newly converted (as of 2014) rooms offers continental breakfast, free wifi, AC, and champagne in the evening. Two sets of windows block out road noises effectively.
- 16 Holiday Inn London Kensington Forum, 97 Cromwell Rd, Kensington, SW7 4DN (tube: Gloucester Road), ☏ . 4-star hotel near Kensington High Street with 906 rooms offering the usual Holiday Inn services
- 17 Kensington House Hotel, 15/16 Prince of Wales Ter, W8 5PQ (tube: High Street Kensington), ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. Boutique townhouse rooms and accommodation just off Kensington High Street.
- 18 Montana Hotel, 67/69 Gloucester Rd, SW7 4PG (2 minutes walk from Gloucester Road tube station), ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Good standard tourist class accommodation in an excellent area.
- 19 NH Harrington Hall Hotel, 5-25 Harrington Gdns, SW7 4JW (tube: Gloucester Road), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Beautiful old building and useful location, with friendly and welcoming staff. From £178 per night.
- 20 Simply Rooms & Suites, 21 Avonmore Road, W14 8RP (tube: Kensington (Olympia) or West Kensington), ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. New 4 Star hotel boutique hotel offering high spec bedrooms in an excellent location off Kensington High Street (opened May 2010).
- 21 The Sloane Square Hotel, 7-12 Sloane Sq, SW1W 8EG (tube: Sloane Square), ☏ , ✉ reception@SloaneSquareHotel.co.uk. Modern and stylish hotel with good location in Chelsea close to a great array of shops.
- 22 Number Sixteen, 16 Sumner Place SW7 3EG (tube: South Kensington), ☏ . Victorian mansion with gorgeous stylish interior. Afternoon tea in the Orangery is a treat. No dogs. B&B double £300.
- 23 The Beaufort Hotel, 33 Beaufort Gdns, SW3 1PP (tube: Knightsbridge), ☏ , toll-free: 0800 328 2572, fax: , ✉ email@example.com. A privately owned small boutique hotel close to Harrods and Harvey Nichols offering first class service and contemporary style.
- 24 The Berkeley, Wilton Pl, SW1X 7RL (tube: Knightsbridge), ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Five star luxury hotel. Individually designed suites and rooms. Features Marcus Wareing's restaurant and fine afternoon tea in London at the caramel room.
- 25 Capital Townhouse, 22 Basil St, Knightsbridge SW3 1AT (tube: Knightsbridge), ☏ . Chic luxury hotel with great dining. Assistance dogs only. B&B double £300.
- 26 Eccleston Square Hotel, 37 Eccleston Square, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: noon, check-out: noon. £169.
- 27 Blakes Hotel, 33 Roland Gdns, SW7 3PF (tube: Gloucester Road, South Kensington or Earl's Court), ☏ , toll-free: , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. A fashionable small couture luxury 5-star hotel respected for client privacy.
- 28 54 Boutique Hotel, 54 Queen's Gate, SW7 5JW (tube: South Kensington), ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. Across the road from the Natural History Museum.
- 29 Cadogan Hotel, 75 Sloane St, SW1X 9SG (tube: Sloane Square or Knightsbridge), ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Cadogan is a classic Edwardian townhouse hotel, provides comfortable elegant five star hotel accommodation and service. From £209 per night.
- 30 K+K Hotel George, 1-15 Templeton Pl, SW5 9NB (tube: Earls Court), ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. 154 rooms and free wireless (and wired) internet access.
- 31 Marriott London Kensington Hotel, 147 Cromwell Rd, SW5 0TH (tube: Earl's Court or Gloucester Road; opposite Sainsbury's supermarket), ☏ , fax: . From £160 per night.
- 32 myhotel Chelsea, 35 Ixworth Pl, SW3 3QX (tube: South Kensington), ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Four star hotel on a quiet residential street on the doorstep of fashionable shops and minutes from South Kensington and King's Rd.
- 33 No. 11 Cadogan, 11 Cadogan Gdns, SW3 2RJ (tube: Sloane Square), ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. This designer hotel and private club is arguably London's finest couture space with its beautiful facilities and impeccable service.
- 34 The Park Tower Knightsbridge Hotel, 101 Knightsbridge, SW1X 7RN (tube: Knightsbridge), ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Five star luxury hotel in a Modernist tower across the road from Harvey Nichols, with views over Knightsbridge and Hyde Park. From £309 per night.
- 35 San Domenico House, 29-31 Draycott Pl, SW3 2SH. A lovely Italianate place.
- 36 100 Queen's Gate Hotel London, 100 Queen's Gate, SW7 5AG, ☏ , toll-free: , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Five star luxury hotel in a historic building with 228 rooms.
There are public phone booths on the main streets throughout this area.
- 1 Internet Café, Earl's Court Rd (across the road from Earl's Court station, above the Bureau de Change). M–F 8:30AM–11:30PM; Sa Su 10AM–11:30PM. 50p/half hour.
- 2 Global Talk Internet, 42-44 Thurloe St, SW7 2TN (just outside South Kensington station), ☏ .
- 3 Kensington Call Shop, 124A Cromwell Rd, SW7 4ET (tube: Gloucester Road), ☏ .
There are three public libraries within this destination, all of which have wi-fi networks available to anyone. They all also have computers available for public use but a library membership card is required to book these machines.
- 4 Brompton Library, 210 Old Brompton Rd, SW5 0BS (tube: Earl's Court), ☏ , fax: . M Tu 9:30AM–8PM; W 9:30AM–5PM; Th 9:30AM–8PM; F–Sa 9:30AM–5PM.
- 5 Chelsea Library, Chelsea Old Town Hall, King's Rd, SW3 5EZ, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M Tu 9:30AM–8PM; W 9:30AM–5PM; Th 9:30AM–8PM; F Sa 9:30AM–5PM; Su 1PM–5PM.
- 6 Kensington Central Library, Phillimore Walk, W8 7RX (tube: High Street Kensington), ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. M Tu 9:30AM–10PM; W 9:30AM–5PM; Th 9:30AM–8PM; F Sa 9:30AM–5PM.
For medical supplies, there are pharmacies throughout this area. The principal emergency medical facility in this destination is Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, with more facilities in neighbouring areas.
- 7 Chelsea and Westminster Hospital Urgent Care Centre, 369 Fulham Rd, SW10 9NH (tube: Fulham Broadway, Earl's Court or South Kensington; but not very close to any, take a bus or taxi if necessary), ☏ , fax: . 24 hours. The Urgent Care Centre offers a walk-in service for minor injuries and illnesses at the hospital's Accident & Emergency Department.
- 8 Kensington Police Station, 72 Earl's Court Rd, W8 6EQ (tube: High Street Kensinton & Earl's Court). M–F 10AM–6PM.
The two largest supermarkets within this area are in the western, slightly cheaper area. Most general supplies can be found at either.
- 9 Sainsbury's Superstore, 158a Cromwell Rd, SW7 4EJ (tube: Gloucester Road or Earl's Court), ☏ . M 07AM–midnight; Tu–F 6AM–midnight; Sa 6AM–10PM; Su 11AM–5PM. A small selection of travel supplies, including visitor-to-the-UK power adaptors, can be found in the pharmacy section.
- 10 Tesco Kensington Superstore, West Cromwell Rd, W14 8PB (tube: Earl's Court), ☏ . M 6AM–midnight; Tu–Sa 24 hours; Su 11AM–5PM. Larger selection of world foods (for the homesick). Some travel supplies split between the pharmacy and electronics sections.
Your interests may decide your onward journey:
- For more shopping like Sloane St and King's Rd, try Mayfair-Marylebone, which includes Oxford St, Regent St, Bond St, etc.
- For cultural centres like Albertopolis, you want to look at South Bank, home of (amongst others) the National Theatre and the British Film Institute.
- Museums abound in London but one of its other major examples is the British Museum in Bloomsbury.
|Routes through South Kensington-Chelsea|
|Mayfair-Marylebone ← Notting Hill-North Kensington ←||N E||→ Westminster → The City|
|Wimbledon ← Hammersmith and Fulham ← Wimbledon-Edgware Road ←||S N||→ Wimbledon-Edgware Road → Notting Hill-North Kensington → Mayfair-Marylebone|
|Wimbledon ← Hammersmith and Fulham ← Wimbledon-Tower Hill ←||S E||→ Wimbledon-Tower Hill → Westminster → The City|
|West London ← Hammersmith and Fulham ← Richmond/Ealing-Upminster ←||W E||→ Richmond/Ealing-Upminster → Westminster → The City|
|West London ← Hammersmith and Fulham ←||W E||→ Westminster-Mayfair-Marylebone → Bloomsbury|
|North London ← Hammersmith ←||N S||→ Fulham → Wandsworth|
|Routes through South Kensington-Chelsea|
|Heathrow Airport ← Hammersmith ←||W E||→ Westminster → The City|