welcome to Kensington neighbourhood

Kensington is an affluent district in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in the West End of central London.

Kensington will make you feel awesome as you move along its pristine porch-fronted Victorian terraces, seduce you with its museums, and refuse to let you go home.

Hailed as the ‘Royal Borough’ in 1901, upper class families flocked here to form the most elite of neighbourhoods, and a wealth of appropriately la-de-dah shops and restaurants popped up to keep them all happy. The buildings are kept wonderfully pristine and a wealth of parks provide a slice of solace on a sunny afternoon.Whatever your cup of tea, you’ll be able to enjoy in the best. And there are quite literally, many places to enjoy a banging cuppa.

Sunrise

To begin with Sunrise , you can go for a jogging , cycling or attend a bit of yoga to relax your muscles.Breakfast stop can be at ‘Star Trek & Oreo’ pancakes at My Old Dutch on the high street , its yummy and you will prefer to visit again.

You are surrounded by some of the most beautiful green parks in London town. Swerve the expansive lawns of Hyde Park for the more characterful Japanese-inspired Kyoto Garden in Holland Park; grab a take out coffee from Cafe Phillies, and zen out with the lanterns, waterfalls and peacocks.

If you’re closer to Kensington Gardens, the former private gardens to the palace, go and seek out the Elfin Oak, a 900-year-old oak tree, which is home to some mischievous looking elves and gnomes.

A stay in London wouldn’t be complete without afternoon tea, so head to The Ivy Kensington between 3-5pm every day for fine tea in even finer art-deco surroundings. Or if you want something a smidgen more quaint, go to Candella Tea Room; a teeny place – look up and you’ll feel why haven’t you been here earlier. Stop by Maitre Choux for the most insanely good éclairs you’ve ever seen and tasted. Each one is a gloriously edible work of art, but trust me, you’ll have no problem tucking straight into one.

You’ll find a whole strip of boutiques towards Chelsea along The King’s Road – it’s long, but it’s been designed with shopping in mind. You’ll find a tonne of great cafes.

If you’re more of an interior shopper, check out Mint for cool contemporary and one off pieces, and Andrew Martin for eclectic furniture from around the globe that you’ll just want, so so bad.

If you’re a museum lover this is the place where you will find Science, history, art, design, you name it, Kensington’s got it. Run around, soak it up and saturate that brain of yours with as much culture as it can take. The best thing about the place is they’re all so close together that you could probably get round them all in a day.

Lets start with the Design Museum in Holland Park, which hosts a mixture of exhibitions, which even non-design buffs will enjoy. Move on to Leighton House Museum down the road, to see stunning interiors that’ll give you serious house envy. Then head to the V&A to see their free collection of art and design as well as a rotating schedule of incredibly original exhibitions. They’ve also got a good cafe space, which isn’t as hectic or stressful as many other food-hall type museum eateries. And if you’re still standing sans blisters after all of that, head to the Science and Natural History Museums to see dinosaurs, robots and fun interactive things that’ll have kids and adults.

Now let’s go to the Royal Albert Hall. They host a variety of events from regular gigs, through to film screenings with live orchestras. With ornate architecture and near perfect acoustics, it’s always a treat for the eyes and the ears.

You may have already heard of the famous Kensington Roof Gardens; now owned by Richard Branson. But back in the day it was owned by Barkers, mentioned earlier. They commissioned a big old garden to be plonked on the roof back in 1936, then charged people a shilling to enter, with profits going back to local hospitals. The good news is it’s now free to enter, and see the gardens during the day. Those shillings add up you know. They also have 4 resident flamingos – Bill, Ben, Splosh and Pecks, so go say hi. In the evening, book a table at Babylon for dinner. You’ll get great skyline views over the city – sadly, it costs a bit more than a few shillings to eat there, but it’s a wonderful experience.

Daphne’s is a delightful swanky Italian with stately surroundings. With a roaring fire in winter, it’s all too easy to feel dangerously at home. As is the case with Maggie Jones’s, albeit with a much more ‘farmhouse’ feel. Pots, pans and wicker line the walls of this cosy British haunt; try a pie or the lamb! Go for traditional pierogi at Ognisko – a restaurant on the bottom floor of a swanky Polish community club. And it goes without saying that you must end the meal with a vodka. And if you want to go to another corner of the earth still, Bombay Brasserie gives you romantic Indian dining in a conservatory illuminated by low light and night stars.

The Churchill Arms is London’s most decorated pub, hiding under a camouflage of flowers, but all isn’t what it seems. Inside, mind your head – low-hanging antiques and dim lighting give this place a unique atmosphere. It’s always busy, but cramming into one of its nooks is all part of the charm. The Warwick Arms also gives you a cosy pub feel with its real log fire, and it’s a little out of the main throng so it’s great for those wanting to escape the busy centre for a while. If wine’s your poison, try Vini Italiani. Shop by day and bar by night, expect to say ‘go on, just one more’, more than just once. For cocktails, head to Chelsea institution Bluebird on King’s Road, or drink yourselves back to the 1920’s at Barts – a fun, ‘hidden’ speakeasy with impressively novel cocktails and prohibition era tunes and props.

We could go on and on. Kensington’s got a bit of everything. The place to be and be seen, nobody bats an eyelid at the many stars who frequent its streets and call it home. Bag yourself a townhouse and a super-greens smoothie, and you’ll be a local in no time.

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Sandeep Madhavan
London UK

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