Kensington: What to visit in this cultural district? - Good Deals London

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Damian Harper

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The district of Kensington and more specifically Holland Park Street is one of the most chic and expensive residential areas in London where there are beautiful Victorian mansions.

The residents are wealthy and some are world famous. In the past Winston Churchill, David Bowie and Freddie Mercury lived in Kensington. More recently stars like footballer David Beckham, producer Simon Cowell and singer Robbie Williams and Elton John have made their home.

But Kensington is also a shopping district with many shops in Kensington High Street and finally a cultural district. Indeed, there are many museums, one of the most famous concert halls in the world and the famous Kensington Palace.

Kensington Palace: residence of British sovereigns


Kensington luxury hotel was originally a mansion built in the early 17th century by the Duke of Nottingham. In 1689, King William III and Queen Marie II, wishing to leave Whitehall Palace, acquired this residence. They entrusted the redevelopment of their future residence to the baroque architect Christopher Wren.

Kensington Palace then became the residence of British sovereigns from 1689 to 1762, when George III decided to move to Buckingham. It was also in this palace that Princess Victoria was born and lived until her accession to the throne in 1837, at the age of 18.
Once queen, she moved to Buckingham Palace but still remained very attached to Kensington. After years of neglect, Kensington Palace is threatened with destruction. The queen insists that the palace of her childhood be preserved and obtains its restoration from parliament on the condition that the monument is open to the public.

Nowadays, several members of the royal family stay in this palace. In 1981, it became the official residence of the Prince of Wales and Diana. After their separation in 1992, Diana remained in Kensington while Charles moved to St. James's Palace.

Since the end of 2013, Prince William and Kate Middleton have been living at Kensington Palace with their three children.

Unlike Buckingham Palace which opens its doors to the public a few months a year during the summer period, Kensington welcomes visitors all year round.

Address : Kensington Gardens, Kensington, London W8 4PX


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Kensington Gardens: a haven of peace


Formerly the private gardens of Kensington Palace, Kensington Gardens located in central London and west of Hyde Park, are now part of the eight Royal Parks of London.

With an area of ​​110 hectares, Kensington Gardens is a vast haven of peace where one can discover many monuments, cultural activities and even a playground for children.

The main points of interest are:

Diana Memorial Playground, a playground for children under 12, created in 2012 in memory of Princess Diana.

The Albert Memorial, in Gothic Revival style, is the most imposing monument in Kensington Park, built to pay homage to Prince Albert (1819-1861), husband of Queen Victoria. It represents the prince seated under a canopy holding in his hand a catalog of the Universal Exhibition of 1851, an exhibition organized under the aegis of the prince consort and his gaze turned towards the Royal Albert Hall.

serpentine Gallery is a small exhibition hall, a showcase for modern and contemporary international art. Each summer, a temporary pavilion is built where an architect exhibits his works.

La Peter Pan statues located on the edge of Serpentine Lake, it was created in 1912 by sculptor George Frampton.


Kensington Square: one of the oldest squares in London


This verdant square, only accessible to residents, is surrounded by 17th and 19th century houses where the English composer Hubert Parry (no.17), the philosopher John Stuart Mill (no.18) and the actress Mrs Patrick Campbell (no.33) lived. 41) and Pre-Raphaelite painter Edward Burne-Jones no.XNUMX).
Finally, the two oldest houses in Kensington Square are at 11 and 12 where the diplomat and statesman Talleyrand lived.



Kensington High Street: an elegant street


This approximately 1400 m long street is lined with beautiful brick houses and many shops and restaurants, such as the excellent Dishoom, renowned for the quality of its Indian cuisine. There are also small antique and decorative shops in Kensington High Street, such as chain stores that offer an alternative to Oxford Street.


Holland Park: the most romantic of London's parks


Covering only 22 hectares, Holland Park is more intimate than Hyde Park (142 hectares) and Kensington Gardens (107 hectares).
Hilly and very flowery, Holland Park is home to creative gardens, a rose garden, small groves populated by peacocks, Australian emus and squirrels. At its heart stand the ruins of Holland House, a former mansion devastated by the bombs in 1941. The remains of the building have hosted since 1996 Opera Holland Park, an opera festival held every summer from June to August.

This atypical park has a surprising Japanese garden called the Kyoto garden. This exotic haven of peace was inaugurated in 1992 as part of the Japan Festival in London.

Finally, with its many sports facilities (tennis court, golf practice, football and cricket ground), it offers an ideal setting to exercise!


Address : Ilchester Place, Kensington, London W8 6LU

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18 Stafford Terrace: an Edwardian home


Formerly known as Linley Sambourne House, this Victorian gem was the home of cartoonist Linley Sambourne from the satirical newspaper Punch where he lived from 1874 until his death in 1910.

Today this house is a museum open to the public where you can discover a refined and almost unchanged decoration whose walls are covered with wallpaper by William Morris (1834 - 1896) and drawings by Sambourne.


Address : 18 Stafford Terrace, Kensington, London W8 7BH

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Design Museum: the largest design museum in the world


Inaugurated in 1989 in the Bermondsey district, the Design Museum was founded on the initiative of Terence Conran, the pope of design and creator of Habitat.

Building on its success, the museum moved in November 2016 and took the place of the former Commonweath Institute, tripling its exhibition area.

Resolutely modern, the museum brings together nearly a thousand objects from around the world, from the most banal to the rarest, and each year presents new developments in design and architecture.

We fell in love with the showcase on the evolution of our computers, from the first MacBook until today as well as for the wall presenting the characteristic objects of our time (photo above) such as the Tube panels, the famous blue bag from Ikea, Levis jeans ...

Finally, the temporary exhibitions with varied themes are always cutting-edge and original and many activities for children are offered.


Address : 224-238 Kensington High St, Kensington, London W8 6AG

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Leighton House Museum: London architectural gem


This art museum is housed in the former home of Victorian painter Frederic Leighton (1830 - 1896) built in 1864 by architect George Aitchison. The development of this house, which lasted 30 years, testifies to Leighton's fascination with the Orient, where he made multiple trips and brought back many objects and furniture.

This palace-like house conceals many small treasures such as a vast collection of oriental mosaics from Iznik, Damascus and Persia, decorating the walls and a magnificent flowered earthenware, signed William De Morgan (1839-1917), a key figure of the Arts & Crafts movement.

During the visit, we discover beautiful marquetry, ceramics, dyes, pottery but also many paintings, drawings and sketches.

Address : 12 Holland Park Rd, Kensington, London W14 8LZ

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Royal Albert Hall


Royal Albert Hall is one of the most famous concert halls in the world. Inaugurated in 1871, it is named in honor of Prince Albert (of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha), husband of Queen Victoria

The greatest artists in the world have performed in this hall as Jimi Hendrix, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Freddie Mercury and more.

Guided tours offer visitors the opportunity to go behind the scenes of this prestigious building, inspired by Roman amphitheatres. Among the most emblematic rooms open to the visit: the auditorium, the Royal Retiring Room, a magnificent richly decorated room designed for the Royal family or the Henry Willis organ, one of the largest organs in the world, just after that of Liverpool Cathedral.

Address : Kensington Gore, South Kensington, London SW7 2AP

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Royal College of Music - Royal College of Music


Built in 1893, the Royal College of Music Museum has more than 15 musical treasures, including the oldest known guitar, the first stringed keyboard instrument, and a Handel spruce and a Haydn harpsichord.


Address : Prince Consort Rd, South Kensington, London SW7 2BS


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Science Museum or the history of inventions and discoveries


Founded in 1856, this free science museum has more than 10 pieces spread over seven levels, presenting just about all scientific, technological and medical activities.

From the first steam locomotive to the Apollo 10 capsule, thinking by the first Rolls Royce or even WWII planes, the science museum highlights the scientific and industrial preeminence of 17th century Britain nowadays.

The museum also has an interactive space with a flight simulator and an Imax cinema with 3D and 4D film projections.

Address : Exhibition Rd, South Kensington, London SW7 2DD

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The Clockmakers' Museum for watch enthusiasts


On the 2nd floor of the Science Museum, is the Clockmakers's Museum which brings together one of the finest collections of clocks, watches and sundials in the world.

The Museum of Watchmakers is the world's oldest collection of clocks and watches, and considered one of the most beautiful. It contains some 600 English and European watches, 30 clocks and 15 marine timekeepers, as well as a number of rare watch portraits.

Public access is free from 10:00 a.m. to 17:30 p.m. every day.

Address : 2nd floor, The Science Museum, Exhibition Rd, London SW7

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Natural History Museum


The Natural History Museum, nicknamed "Cathedral of Nature" houses the world's largest collection of life and earth sciences with more than 70 million specimens. The museum is also famous for its terracotta facade and Victorian Romanesque architecture with towers, spiers, arches and columns reminiscent of Rhine churches.

Since 2017, the museum entrance hall has housed an impressive 25,2-meter blue whale skeleton, intended to remind visitors that humanity has a responsibility to protect the biodiversity of our planet.

Address : Cromwell Road, South Kensington, London SW7 5BD

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Brompton Cemetery: a Victorian cemetery in Kensington


A vast 16 hectare necropolis erected in 1840, Brompton Cemetery is one of the Magnificent Seven (literally, the Magnificent Seven), seven cemeteries built in the mid-19th century around London to bury the dead victims of epidemics.

It has more than 35 neo-Gothic, Egyptian and Baroque style burials where people of all classes of society rest, including many historical figures, such as the suffragist Emmeline Pankhurs or the founders of the Chelsea Football Club.
Unique Crown Cemetery, and managed by The Royal Parks, it is considered one of Britain's finest Victorian cemeteries and is said to have inspired the author of the saga Harry Potter !

Today, the cemetery de Brompton is paradoxically a place of life and meetings where Londoners play sports, walk their dogs or go out with their family.

Address : Fulham Road, Kensington, London SW10 9UG

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Winston Churchill's house

Sir Winston and his wife, Baroness Spencer-Churchill, purchased 28 Hyde Park Gate in 1945 after his resignation as Prime Minister. With the exception of 1951 to 1955 - when they were back at 10 Downing Street - the couple lived in the house until Sir Winston died in 1965.

In 2016, this historic mansion was on sale for £ 23million.

Address : 28 Hyde Park Gate, South Kensington, London SW7 5DJ


David Bowie's apartments in Kensington

David Bowie and his apartment at 22 Clareville Grove

In 1968, David Bowie the then 21-year-old lives with his 19-year-old dancer Hermione Farthingale girlfriend in South Kensington at 22 Clareville Grove. They met in January 1968 during the shooting of a BBC TV movie (The Pistol Shot) where both made an appearance.
Hermione Farthingale left him in 1969 and went to Scandinavia. Bowie will be affected by this breakup.

Address : 22 Clareville Grove, Kensington, London SW7 5AS


His last London home

David Bowie lived in Gilston Road from 2008-2011 where he spent years designing and creating his home with designer Jonathan Reed. He briefly lived in this luxurious property because he was disturbed by the paparazzi.

In 2005, he sold his 4-story house for £ 7,2million.

Address : 43 Gilston Road, Kensington, London SW10 9SJ


The Freddy Mercury apartments in Kensington

Freddie Mercury settles in with his friends in Kensington

Freddie Mercury alternately lives with his parents who are in Feltham, a small town in the western suburbs of London, and with his friends Paul Humberstone and Chris Smith who rent an apartment at 42b Addison Gardens in Kensington.

Address : 42 Addison Gardens, Hammersmith, London W14 0DP


Mercury moves in with Mary Austin at Holland Road


From 1970 to 1976, Mary and Freddie moved into a small old-fashioned apartment near Kensington Market where he would write his masterpiece Bohemian Rhapsody.
It is also at this address that Doug Puddifoot organized in 1973 the first photoshoot of the group, several of these photos are used on the back of their first album.

Address : 100 Holland Road, Kensington, London W14 8BD


Freddie Mercury moves to Stafford Terrace

At the end of 1976, Freddie and Mary separate and leave their apartment at 100 Holland Road. Freddy is moving into a stunning two-story penthouse at 12 Stafford Terrace in Holland Park. As a farewell gift, Freddie gives Mary Austin a nearby apartment worth £ 300.000.

Address : 12 Stafford Terrace, Kensington, London W8 7BH


Golden Lodge: Freddie Mercury's last home


Under the guidance of Mary Austin, Freddy bought Golden Lodge in 1985 in the Kensington district he loved so much. He decorates this large 28-room Georgian mansion with numerous master paintings and adds a recording studio where wet evenings and late recording sessions are held.

It was in this house in the heart of Kensington that Freddie Mercury died on November 24, 1991, at the age of 45. In her will, the artist bequeaths her mansion where she still lives and half of her copyright to Mary Austin.

Address : 1 Logan Pl, Kensington, London W8 6DE

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