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Coordinates: 51°29′28″N 0°10′37″W / 51.4912°N 0.1769°W / 51.4912; -0.1769

South Kensington
South Kensington is located in Greater London
South Kensington

 South Kensington shown within Greater London
OS grid reference TQ265785
London borough Kensington & Chelsea
Ceremonial county Greater London
Region London
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town LONDON
Postcode district SW7, SW3, SW5
Dialling code 020
Police Metropolitan
Fire London
Ambulance London
EU Parliament London
London Assembly West Central
List of places: UK • England • London

South Kensington is a district in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in London. It is a built-up area located 2.4 miles (3.9 km) west south-west of Charing Cross.

It is hard to define notional boundaries for South Kensington, but a common definition is the commercial area around the tube station and the adjacent graceful garden squares and streets (such as Thurloe Square, opposite the Victoria and Albert Museum). The smaller neighborhood around Gloucester Road tube station can also be considered part of South Kensington, as well as the institution area around Exhibition Road, which includes such famous names as the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, the Royal Albert Hall, Imperial College London, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Royal Geographical Society, the Royal College of Art, the Royal College of Music and Baden-Powell House. Although the postcode SW7 mainly covers South Kensington, some parts of Kensington and Knightsbridge also fall under this postcode.

Neighboring the equally affluent centres of Knightsbridge, Chelsea, and Kensington proper, South Kensington covers some of the most exclusive real estate in the world. It is home to large numbers of French expatriates (mainly employed in the financial City centre), but also Spanish, Italian, and Middle-Eastern citizens. A significant French presence is evidenced by the location of the consulate, the Lycée Français Charles de Gaulle - a large French secondary school opposite the Natural History Museum - and the French Institute, home to a French cinema. There are also several French bookshops and cafes in the area.

The nearest Tube stations are South Kensington and Gloucester Road.



The junction with Old Brompton Road and Pelham Street, outside South Kensington tube station.

The area was largely undeveloped until the mid-19th century, being an agricultural area supplying London with fruit and vegetables. However, following the 1851 Great Exhibition in Hyde Park, an 87 acre (352,000 m²) area around what is now Exhibition Road was purchased by the commissioners of the exhibition, in order to create a home for institutions dedicated to the arts and sciences - resulting in the foundation of the museums and university here. Adjacent landowners began to develop their land in the 1860s as a result of the creation of new roads and a boom in the development of areas around London, and the absorption of South Kensington into London was sealed by the arrival of the Underground to Gloucester Road and South Kensington in 1868, linking the area directly to the main railway termini and to the political, commercial and financial hearts of the city in Westminster, the West End and the City of London.

Notable residents

The Queen's Tower, Imperial College

Notable residents have included:

  • Sir Henry Cole (1808–1882), Campaigner, educator and first director of the Victoria Museum lived at 33 Thurloe Square.
  • Charles Booth (1840–1916), Pioneer of social research lived at 6 Grenville Place.
  • Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree (1853–1917), Actor-manager lived at 31 Rosary Gardens.
  • Virginia Woolf (1882–1941), British writer, and her sister Vanessa Bell (1879–1961), painter and interior designer, lived at 22 Hyde Park Gate until 1904.
  • Francis Bacon (1909–1992), Irish-born British artist lived at 7 Cromwell Place and 7 Reese Mews.
  • Benny Hill (1924–1992), British comedian lived at 1 & 2 Queen's Gate.
  • Nicholas Freeman, OBE, (1939–1989) Controversial Leader of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea lived in Harrington Gardens, near Gloucester Road.
  • Sir Isaiah Berlin (1909–97), liberal philosopher
  • Sir Francis Galton (1822–1911), English Victorian polymath, anthropologist, eugenicist, tropical explorer, geographer, inventor, meteorologist, proto-geneticist, psychometrician, and statistician.
  • Charles Crichton English director and script writer.
  • Dakota Blue Richards actress
  • Mika singer

Nearby places

External links

London/South Kensington-Chelsea travel guide from Wikitravel


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to London/South Kensington-Chelsea article)

From Wikitravel

Europe : Britain and Ireland : United Kingdom : England : London : South Kensington-Chelsea
Royal Albert Hall, Kensington
Royal Albert Hall, Kensington

South Kensington-Chelsea is a district of central London.


This district is defined as the southern part part of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBK & C). It includes the area south of the Royal Parks commonly known as High Street Kensington and South Kensington west to Earl's Court and Olympia and south to 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 and is also 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 as well very upmarket stores in Knightsbridge. Sloane Street connects Knightsbridge to Chelsea via Sloane Square and is lined with luxury brand boutiques.

Chelsea is a 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 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.

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 all 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 nd gravitated to Camden, Islington, Ladbroke Grove, Brixton and Brick Lane.

The 1980s saw 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 and although the 'Hooray Henries' do not try to stand out, their loud braying voices, youth and wealth are hard to hide. They can be seen here in their natural habitat particularly on school holidays when they return from their boarding schools and all stay at a friends house, on the "King's Road, mate".

Get in

By tube

This is a large district and it is served by a similarly large number of tube stations:

  • South Kensington (District, Circle and Piccadilly lines). For the museums.
  • Knightsbridge (Piccadilly line). For Harrods, Harvey Nicholls and other upmark stores.
  • High Street Kensington (District and Circle lines). For general shopping and Kensington Gardens.
  • Hyde Park Corner [Piccadilly line). For Hyde Park.
  • Sloane Square (District and Circle lines) For King's Road.
  • Earls Court (District and Piccadilly lines).
  • Kensington Olympia (District line).
  • West Brompton (District line).

By bus

Route 94 from Piccadilly Circus and along Piccadilly makes the run to Knightsbridge



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.

  • Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), Cromwell Rd, +44 20 7942 2000 (), [1]. 10AM-5:45PM, F until 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/donation.  edit
  • Natural History Museum, Cromwell Rd, +44 20 7942 5000 (), [2]. 10AM-5:30PM. Probably the most popular of all the museums here and a must see for many visitors to London. Home to no less than 70 million specimens from across all the life sciences. Especially popular are the dinosaur exhibits, the Darwin Centre and the studio dedicated to BBC wildlife personality extraordinairre, David Attenborough. In the 1980s, the Geological Museum was absorbed but is still in a separate building with a separate entrance. Free/donation.  edit
  • Science Museum, Exhibition Road, +44 870 870 4868 (), [3]. 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. This includes their very popular 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. Free/donation.  edit
  • The Geological Museum (The Red Zone), Cromwell Rd, [4]. 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 under-rated. Free/donation.  edit
  • National Army Museum, Royal Hosp Rd, [5].  edit
Lawn chair in Kensington Gardens.
Lawn chair in Kensington Gardens.
  • Bram Stoker's House.  edit
  • Carlyle's House, 24 Cheyne Row SW3 5HL, +44 20 7352 7087, [6]. 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.  edit
  • Chelsea Old Church, 64 Cheyne Walk SW3 5LT, [7].  edit
  • Chelsea Physic Garden, 66 Royal Hospital Road SW3 4HS Telephone:, +44 20 7352 5646, [8]. Garden founded by apothecaries in the 17th century to the medicinal properties of plants. £5-8.  edit
  • Hyde Park, [9]. Nice big green park. The Serpentine is a small lake within Hyde Park, wildlife including a variety of birds, fountains. Rowing boats and pedalos are available for hire. As commonly used, the term also embraces the adjacent Kensington Gardens.  edit
  • Roper's Garden, Cheyne Walk.  edit
  • Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, +44 20 7589 8212, [10]. Since opening in 1871 it has become one of the most famous venues in the UK. It still mainly caters for a classical audience, but it also hosts many other varied events including the odd contemporary rock/pop acts.  edit
  • Royal Hospital, Royal Hospital Road, [11].  edit
  • The Serpentine Gallery, [12]. A nice free art gallery, near to the lake. Each summer a pavilion next to the gallery is designed by a different architect, which then houses various cultural events.  edit
  • Speakers Corner. By law, 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.  edit
  • Chelsea Football Club. See the former English Premier League champions ply their trade at their famous stadium, Stamford Bridge (which is actually located just on the Fulham side of the boundary of Chelsea). Chelsea, under coach Carlo Ancelotti, have gone from English football's nearly men to a sublime team which are one of the best teams in the world. Star players such as Didier Drogba, Joe Cole, John Terry, Frank Lampard and Michael Ballack will be joined in the 2009/10 season by Yuri Zhirkov, Russia's most expensive footballer.  edit
  • Cine Lumiere, Institut Francais du Royaume Unis, 17 Queensberry Pl SW7 2DT (tube: South Kensington), +44 20 7838 2144 (), [13]. French language movies.  edit
  • Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Sq, SW1W 8AS (tube: Sloane Square), +44 20 7565 5000, [14]. Britain's leading national theatre company dedicated to new work by innovative writers from the UK and around the world.  edit
  • Troubadour Club, 263-267 Old Brompton Rd (tube: Earls Court or West Brompton), +44 20 7370 1434, [15]. 8PM-2AM. This well known music venue 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. There is a good menu too but arrive early to get a table. It can get very busy. Well worth a visit. From £6.  edit
  • Harrods, 87–135 Brompton Road SW1X 7XL (tube: Knightsbridge), +44 20 7730 1234, [16]. M-Sa 10AM-8PM. The most famous store in London, favoured by the British establishment and owned by Mohamed Al-Fayed. Fairly strict dress code so do not turn up looking like a backpacker and expect to gain entrance.  edit
  • Harvey Nicholls, 109-125 Knightsbridge SW1X 7RJ (tube: Knightsbridge), +44 20 7235 5000, [17]. M-Sa 10AM-8PM. Large department store full of designer goods and an excellent cafe.  edit
  • The Duke of York Square Shopping Complex. 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.  edit
  • The Hummingbird Bakery, 47 Old Brompton Rd, South Kensington (Opposite of the South Kensington tube station), +44 20 7584 0055, [18]. A nice little bakery with wonderful cupcakes. Try their red velvet cupcake that is incredibly popular with the locals. A regular size cupcake ranges from £1.55-1.85.  edit
  • King's Road. One of London's smartest fashion streets, having evolved from the cutting-edge of bohemia and innovative fashion in the 60s 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.  edit
  • Sloane Street. Lined with high-end designer label stores.  edit




All these pubs charge about the same and the quality is more or less the same too.

  • Admiral Codrington, Mossop St.  edit
  • Builders Arms, Britten St.  edit
  • Coopers Arms, Flood St.  edit
  • Phoenix, Smith St.  edit
  • Pigs Ear, Old Church St.  edit


  • La Nuova Delizia, 63-65 Chelsea Manor St. Noon-midnight. 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.  edit
  • The Pig's Ear, 35 Old Church St, [19]. Lively, old-world style pub/restaurant on Old Church Street. Acclaimed bistro fare and a wide selection of wines by the glass.  edit
  • The Troubadour Cafe, 263-267 Old Brompton Rd, [20]. 9AM-midnight. 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.  edit
  • Fifth Floor Café, 109-125 Knightsbridge, [21].  edit
  • Kensington Creperie (Cafe Creperie), 2 Exhibition Rd, +44 20 7589 8947, [22]. 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.  edit
  • Aubergine, 11 Park Walk, +44 20 7352 3449, [23]. Dinner: M-Sa 7M-11PM, lunch: M-F noon-2:30PM. Chef William Drabble creates a menu of modern French cuisine.  edit
  • Tom's Kitchen. Populist spot for Tom Aikens's aptly named restaurant, albeit certainly in the "Splurge" category, the fish and chips make it certainly worth the difficulty getting reservations and the rather high cost.  edit
  • Chelsea Potter, 119 Kings Rd (First pub when walking away from Sloane Square Tube Stop). Traditional pub fare, but when warm outside, best people watching spot around. Also, Aussie and Kiwi barmen solidify the awesome environment here.  edit
  • Coopers Arms, 87 Flood St. Great pints, including Peroni on tap. Best Sunday Roast around, and more of a gastropub than a traditional pub.  edit
  • Henry J Beans, 195-197 Kings Road, +44 20 7352 9255. The biggest and best beer garden in London. Burger and Rib shack menu, showing American sports.  edit
  • The Hour Glass, 279 Brompton Rd, SW3 2DY, +44 020 7581 2840. 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.  edit
  • The Phoenix, 23 Smith St. 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).  edit
  • Townhouse, Beauchamp.  edit
  • Troubadour Wines, 267 Old Brompton Rd (Right next door to its famous sister, The Troubadour Cafe). 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.  edit
  • Ambassadors Hotel, [24]. 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.  edit
  • Avonmore Hotel, 66 Avonmore Rd, W14 8RS, +44 (0) 20 7603 4296 (+44 (0) 20 7603 3121, fax: +44 (0)20 7603 4035), [25]. Close to the West End.  edit
  • Chelsea House Hotel, 96 Redcliffe Garden (5 min from Earl Court Underground, go to right on Earls Court Rd, the hotel's 50 m after crossing Crompton Rd). checkin: 2PM; checkout: 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.  edit
  • easyHotel Earl's Court, 42-48 West Cromwell Rd (5 min from Earls Court tube station), (), [26]. 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.  edit
  • The Lord Jim Hotel, 23-25 Penywern Rd Earls Court, +44 20 7370 6071 (, fax: +44 20 7373 8919), [27]. One of the best hotels on Penywern Rd, 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.  edit
  • Merlyn Court Hotel, 2 Barkston Gardens, Earls Court, +44 20 7370 1640 (, fax: +44 20 7370 4986), [28]. 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 £35.  edit
  • St. Mark Hotel, Barkston Gardens, Earls Court, +44 20 7373 0060, [29]. This popular budget hotel offers 25 guest rooms all with private in-suite facilities. Book online for best deals.  edit
  • Kensington House Hotel, 15/16 Prince of Wales Terrace W8 5PQ, [30]. Boutique townhouse rooms and accommodation just off High Street. Attractions are a short walk away and include Kensington Gardens, art galleries, museums and cafés.  edit
  • Montana Hotel, 16-17 Gloucester Rd (2 minutes walk from Gloucester Road Tube Station). Good standard tourist class accommodation in an excellent area.  edit
  • NH Harrington Hall Hotel, 5-25 Harrington Gardens SW7 4JB, +44 20 73969696, [31]. Beautiful old building and useful location- staff were friendly and welcoming  edit
  • The Beaufort Hotel, 33 Beaufort Gardens, [32]. A privately owned small boutique hotel close to Harrods and Harvey Nichols offering first class service and contemporary style.  edit
  • The Berkeley, Wilton Pl, Knightsbridge, +44 20 7235 6000, [33]. Five star luxury hotel. Individually designed suites and rooms. Features Marcus Wareing's restaurant and fine afternoon tea in London at the caramel room.  edit
  • Blakes Hotel, 33 Roland Gardens, [34]. A fashionable small couture luxury hotel respected for client privacy.  edit
  • Cadogan Hotel, 75 Sloane St, +44 20 7235 7141 (, fax: +44 20 7245 0994), [36]. Cadogan is a classic Edwardian townhouse hotel, provides comfortable elegant five star hotel accommodation and service.  edit
  • K+K Hotel George, 1-15 Templeton Pl (tube: Earls Court), +44 20 7598 8700 (, fax: +44 20 7370 2285), [37]. 154 rooms and free wireless (and wired) internet access. The hotel is also right next door to Earl's Court exhibition center.  edit
  • La Reserve Hotel Chelsea, 422-428 Fulham Road, [38]. Spacious hotel offering 43 en-suite bedrooms. The hotel overlooks Chelsea Football Club.  edit
  • myhotel Chelsea, 35 Ixworth Pl. On a quiet residential street on the doorstep of fashionable shops and minutes from South Kensington and King's Rd.  edit
  • No. 11 Cadogan, 11 Cadogan Gardens, Knightsbridge (Knightsbridge), +44 20 7730 7000, [39]. This designer hotel and private club is London's finest couture space with its beautiful facilities and impeccable service.  edit
  • Astons Apartments, 31 Rosary Gardens, South Kensington (tube: Gloucester Rd), +44 20 7590 6000 (, fax: +44 20 7590 6060), [40]. They have 54 self contained apartments of both standard and executive style set within three Victorian town houses. All apartments are en-suite and have either kitchenette or kitchen facilities. Wireless internet access available at cost. Single studio apartments £65, twin studio £95, four person executive £165.  edit
  • Troubadour Garret, 267 Old Brompton Rd (tube: Earls Court), +44 20 7370 1434, [41]. checkin: Noon; checkout: Noon. A luxury one bedroom apartment nestled at the top of the Troubadour Cafe and Club in Earls Court. Despite the close proximity to all the action and buzz of the cafe downstairs, the accommodation is quiet and tranquil. The most important feature of The Garret is a very large and comfortable Philippe Starck double bed (2.5m square). Antique furniture, a double sofa bed, high powered shower and free WiFi internet connection. There is a small kitchenette if you would like to cook, and breakfast items can be stocked in the fridge. More likely you will want to go downstairs to the cafe for a properly filling breakfast or brunch. Room service also available. £150.  edit
  • York House Luxury Studio Apartments London, Philbeach Gardens, Earl's Court (Close to Earls Court Exhibition Centre and Earl's Court Tube Station), +44 20 7370 6648, [42]. Offers tastefully designed studio apartments with private shower and kitchenette facilities.  edit
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!


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