Top Sight Tours Group

26 May

South Kensington: A Neighbourhood Guide

Are you a fan of museums great shopping and posh restaurants? Than make your way to South Kensington after a great Top Sights tour! Below is the guide to one of the best neighbourhoods for London travelers.


One of London’s most affluent areas, Kensington is the go-to destination for entertainment, sightseeing and accommodation. But what is it about this area that make it so interesting? Top Sights Tours has gathered a list of some kensington facts that may very well surprise you. 


London’s French quarter is in South Kensington

If you’d like to sit in a cafe, eating a baguette and sipping on black coffee, but can’t make it across the Channel, then head to Bute Street in South Kensington. This area is home to the largest French expat population in the capital and local residents have transformed it into a petit slice of home.

Queen Victoria’s first name wasn’t Victoria at all – it was actually Alexandrina! She was christened in the Cupola Room at Kensington Palace.


Kensington is home to London’s Museum District.

Located at the crossing of Cromwell Road and Exhibition Road, it includes the Natural History Museum, Science Museum, and Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A). The Royal Albert Hall is also a neighbour. Located at Kensington Gore, it sits between the museums and Kensigton Gardens, right across the road from The Albert Memorial.


After the death of Queen Victoria in 1901 (who was born at Kensington Palace), Kensington was granted the status of a Royal Borough. It has since been amalgamated into the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in 1965.


The district is home to a fifth of London’s and the UK’s most visited attractions.

Having four of its attractions ranking in the London’s Top 20 Most Visited Attractions list, and three in the UK’s Top 20 Most Visited Attractions, Kensington is home to some of London’s and the UK’s most visited sights. Namely, the Natural History Museum, Science Museum, V&A Museum, and Royal Albert Hall


You can visit Royal Albert Hall

A great piece of architecture completed in 1871 and famous for holding the BBC Proms annually each summer since 1941.


Kensington Palace has been home to royalty since 1689, including Prince William, Prince Harry and the late Lady Diana, Princess of Wales.


Kensington Gardens is one of eight Royal Parks in London and boasts an Italian and Dutch style gardens


Parson’s Nose Situated in Kensington is a top-quality butchers that also offers butchery classes. As well as a branch on Old Brompton Road, there are two additional shops in Putney and Fulham


Kensington Palace is currently home to Prince William, Kate and their children, as well as Megan Markele, prince Harry and their new son Archie. Other famed residents include Madonna; David and Victoria Beckham; singer and actress, Kylie Minogue; 


You can visit The Anglesea Arms

Charles Dickens was a local at this pub when he lived over the road at 11 Selwood Terrace. The Great Train robbery was also planned from the back room in this pub!


Kensington was originally a village.

Being part of central London, it’s hard to believe that Kensington was once a village on the outskirts of the capital. Later, it became the Metropolitan Borough of Kensington .


Royals first moved into Kensington after 1689 when William III moved into Kensington Palace . After this point the area was resided by many famous monarchs and royals who used it as a place of permanent residency, they were lucky in those days when they didn’t have to pay to park outside their own homes! 


During the 19th Century there was an expansion of buildings and development south and west towards Earls Court in Kensington. Many 16 th and 17th century buildings still survive today in the area. They are of a great variety and types of architectural styles existent in these buildings, such as brick and stucco, Regency terraces, Georgian, and large inspired brick and terracotta homes.


Another Queen to have lived at Kensington Palace was Queen Anne. Her story is one of the saddest, for although she had 18 pregnancies, none of her children survived to adulthood. After her husband had also passed, she had a most scandalous friendship at Kensington Palace with an intimate friend Sarah, the Duchess of Marlborough. They called each other Mrs. Morley and Mrs. Freeman, but this relationship was also to end with a storming argument within Kensington Palace. 


Image result for south kensington


It’s not Portobello; it’s Puerto Bello.

Until the mid 18th-century, Portobello Road was actually known as Green’s Lane. Then in 1740, Portobello Farm was built. Its name honoured a victory when the Admiral Edward Vernon captured the Spanish-ruled town of Puerto Bello in what is modern Panama. Today, Portobello Road is famous for its bustling market.


The Staircase of the “Kings Apartments” is one of the jewels of the Palace. The walls and ceiling are covered with frescoes painted by William Kent of eminent visitors to the palace. See if you can spot the artist himself, and the “Wild Boy,” a naked and completely silent teenage boy was found living in the woods near Hanover in Germany in 1725. He was brought to London and spent time at the courts of King George I and of his son and daughter-in-law, the Prince and Princess of Wales.


Kensington has access to 6 Underground stations and 2 train stations.

Kensington has four London Underground stations inside its area – High Street Kensington, South Kensington, Gloucester Road, and Earl’s Court. It’s also accessible by a further two Underground station at its borders – Holland Park and Notting Hill, and two train stations – Kensington (Olympia) and West Brompton, also at the edges of the district


The name of the area is believed to have originally been “Kenesignetun” in Anglo-Saxon, which means Kenesigne’s land or meadows.


Although the borough is geographically one of the smallest in London, at just over 4.7 square miles, it is one of the most densely populated areas in Europe – the current population is estimated at 190,000 people and there is a high population turnover estimated at over 20 per cent per year. The borough is primarily residential in character. Property prices and private sector rents are the highest in the country. However, half the permanent lettings by registered social landlords are to homeless households and there are 1,000 households living in temporary accommodation.


The Royal Borough maintains four nursery schools, 26 primary schools, five secondary schools, two special schools and a Pupil Referral Unit.


Kensington is also a UK Parliament Constituency, with smaller voting wards covering the northern and central parts of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea for political purposes.




See Our London Walking Tours