Nestled between Kensington, Chelsea and Knightsbridge there is a neighborhood in London called South Kensington. The area, nicknamed London’s Museum Quarter or South Ken, is slightly hard to describe with only a few words. What used to be an agricultural center in the 1600’s and 1700’s, now boasts some of London’s finest and most prestigious museums, as well as The Royal Albert Hall and The Royal College of Art.
Especially the three – free – museums cannot be missed when visiting this area, and spending an entire day hobbling from one exhibition to the other is not unusual. In fact, to see all the collections that the Victoria and Albert Museum has on offer can take you a few days. The Museums: Natural History Museum, The Science Museum and – as mentioned – the Royal and Albert Museum are located within walking distance from each other and connected neatly by the South Kensington tube walking tunnel. So even when the typical London weather is playing up, you can still visit all the museums without having to worry about rain messing up your day.
The Museums are great fun for people of all ages. Where you can learn all about the world around us at the Natural History Museum (even coming face to face with a T-rex and taking the escalator into the center of the earth), the Victoria and Albert Museum is perfect for the art and design buffs, with millions of pieces ranging from drawings to fashion and from jewelry to architecture. Both museums are architectural highlights in their own right, with the grand staircase and Romanesque architecture to be seen as you enter the Natural History Museum, and the Italianate courtyard of the Victoria and Albert Museum. The family friendly Science Museum focuses on how the world around us works and boasts all sorts of hands on activities and workshops suitable for all ages.
When you feel you have taken in enough cultural knowledge, it’s easy enough to take a stroll up to the edge of Kensington Gardens, one of the Royal Parks of London. Looking up, you will find the impressive statue of Prince Albert looking directly upon the Royal Albert Hall on the other side of the street. The concert hall which is primarily famous for its Proms concerts, is a beautiful dome structure making it a great subject for photo taking, even when you are not interested in classical music, pop concerts or dance performances.
Taking in the precious sunbeams in the park are a good way to revitalize and escape the hustle and bustle of London. Kensington Gardens is one of the quieter parks, with the exception of places like the Princess Diana Memorial and Kensington Palace. Especially when it’s hot summer weather, you will find ample groups of families splashing around in the water fountain of the Memorial. Many people will also find their way to enjoy a sumptuous afternoon tea at the Orangery of Kensington Palace. Kensington Palace features some beautiful gardens as well, which can be accessed for free. Guided tours of the palace are organized to show visitors how the royals spent their days over the years in Kensington Palace.
Head back over to Kensington High Street for fine dining at the end of the day, and dance the night away at the world famous Roof Gardens where you will definitely come eye to eye with real life flamingos in one of the four themed gardens. A day in London well spent.
To get the best access to everything this city has to offer, the Palace View luxury vacation rental from Time & Place offers the perfect location. Walk to nearby Buckingham Palace, Picadilly Circus, or St. James Park, while only being a hop, skip and jump away from Kensington. This 2-bedroom, penthouse apartment offers views of historic St. James Street and Palace from its private rooftop terrace. With well-appointed living spaces and a gourmet kitchen, this luxury accommodation lets you live like a London local in high-style.
About the Author: Maaike is from and based in the Netherlands. During her bachelor’s study in international tourism management she worked in London for a little while and instantly fell in love with the city. While looking for a job in London, she travels around Europe and writes about her travels and the city she loves so much on her blog: Travellous World.