Living in Kensington
Kensington is one of London’s most desirable areas. The Royal Borough (given ‘Royal’ status in 1901) has been home to the monarchy since 1689. Their well- tended gardens at Kensington Palace are open to the public, as are those of Holland Park. When it comes to shopping, Kensington High Street has every high street brand you can think of with the landmark Barkers building, now Whole Foods, reminding us of the street’s history in retail supremacy. With popular parks, museums and shops in easy reach and a crowd of competing hotels nearby, Kensington is brilliant for tourists wanting to be that little way out of the centre.
Did You Know:
- St Mary Abbots Church in Kensington has, at 278 feet, the tallest church spire in London.
- The Victorian Gothic building was designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott , and was completed in 1872.
- Swinging 1960's iconic fashion house Biba had its flagshop store on Kensington High Store
- German pilots used the Albert Memorial as a landmark during World War I
Architecture and property:
Whether you are looking for a house or a flat Kensington offers of some of the most desirable types of property in all brackets. The detached mansions of Holland Park and the terraced and semi-detached townhouses scattered around Kensington High Street are among the most sought-after family residencies in London.
Kensington is also home to some of the largest and most exclusive properties in London. These can mainly be found on Holland Park and Kensington Palace Gardens.
North of the high street the best semi-detached or terrace townhouses in the area can be found between Holland Park and Kensington Church Street. Streets such Phillimore Gardens, Stafford Terrace and Argyll Road are highly sought after as are the streets of Brunswick Gardens, Palace Gardens Terrace.
South of the High Street is an area known as the Velotten Estate which is home to some fabulous houses. Victoria Road and Cottesmore Gardens are highly sought after.
The oldest Properties in the area dating back to the late 1700’s can be found surrounding Kensington Square. Kensington is also famous for its abundance of Edwardian mansion blocks. Campden Hill Court, Campden Hill Gate, Abingdon Court and Abingdon Mansions, Iverna Court and Iverna Mansions, to name but a few.
Kensington has some of the best prime developments in Central London, all with concierge service and secure parking. Academy Gardens, Thornwood Gardens, Holland Green, One Kensington Gardens and Holland Park Villas are some of the most high end prime developments that you will find anywhere in London.
Who lives there:
Kensington has vibrant and eclectic mix of residents from all over the world. The local community is mainly made up or UK and European nationals together with residents from Russia, the Middle East and Asia.
Where to eat:
Kensington offers a vast selection of fantastic restaurants, generously scattered along the vibrant High Street and surrounding streets of W8.
Maggie Jones’s - Traditional farmhouse-style British menu, set within a cosy, rustic and informal restaurant themed like an old barn.
Kitchen W8 - Michelin-starred, stylish contemporary and neighbourhood friendly restaurant offering high-end modern European cuisine.
Kensington Place - Modern British brasserie with arty decor and fresh fish from the next-door market.
The Churchill Arms – A famous watering hole, once frequented by Winston Churchill's grandparents, with a delicious Thai Kitchen set in a butterfly-themed conservatory offering a menu of family recipes.
The Windsor Castle – Delicious seasonal pub grub and a legendary Sunday Roast menu, with a delightful addition of a pub garden complete with heated areas ideal for alfresco dining.
Sticky Fingers – A family friendly American Diner, born to legendary Rolling Stones rocker Bill Wyman.
Wholefoods Market – Eco-minded chain with natural & organic grocery items, with a Prepared Foods department, including a deli, an ethnic restaurant, burger joint, neighbourhood diner, Parisian café, pizza joint, BBQ shack, sushi/seafood bar, raw foods bar, taco bar, salad bar, sandwich bar, olive bar and wine bar.
The Ivy Kensington Brasserie - A modern British grill restaurant comprising a main restaurant, a tranquil secret garden terrace for al fresco dining and a semi-private table for ten for an extra special experience.
Aubaine - Elegant relaxed French dining, all day offering a true blend of cosmopolitan style and French cuisine.
Where to drink:
With a great choice of trendy and sophisticated pubs, bars and coffee shops in Kensington, you’ll be sure to find the perfect spot.
La Caffettiera - Delivering the perfect Italian coffee experience, with an excellent selection of freshly prepared sandwiches and pasta.
Patisserie Valerie - Long-standing chain patisserie serving coffee and light meals, plus luxury handmade cakes and patisserie as well as offering a continental menu
The Orangery – Set in the grounds of Kensington Palace, a relaxed and elegant setting for breakfast or lunch and the only royal palace in London where you can enjoy a traditional afternoon tea.
Wine, Beers and Cocktails:
The Kensington Roof Gardens - Set 100ft above London and comprises three gardens spanning across 1.5 acres, a private members Club and Babylon Restaurant. The Kensington Roof Gardens is an ideal venue for every special event, from dinners to discos, weddings to business meetings and even BBQs on summer nights.
Dirty Bones – A neon-lit diner serving up New York style comfort food and excellent cocktails alongside live music.
Kensington Wine Rooms – A stylish bar with high stool and banquette seating, for wines by the glass and Modern European bites.
Bodo Schloss - Restaurant, bar and old fashioned disco, offers award winning quality drinks with a cocktail menu designed to titillate the senses and transport you straight to the alps.
Culturally vibrant, the area offers a terrific cross-section of character and sophistication, from the bustling High Street and boutique shops within the surrounding streets to the major museums of South Kensington. The Royal Albert Hall is constantly hosting events from concerts to concertos and in addition Holland Park hosts its own highly regarded annual opera festival, set among the gardens and façade of the original Holland House.
Kensington Olympia puts on many exhibitions and shows including the world renowned Olympia horse trials.
Sports & Leisure:
- Campden Hill Tennis Club, private members club.
- Virgin Active with pool
You’ll find fashion stores such as Zara, H&M, Gap, Miss Sixty, Topshop, Urban Outfitters, TK Max, American Apparel and Uniqlo; shoe shops Dune, Clarks, Russell & Bromley and Kurt Geiger; books at Waterstones.
Marks & Spencer has a flag ship store here selling food, furniture, clothing and pretty much everything else. The largest Whole Foods in the country opened to much fanfare in 2007 in the Barkers building. A veritable Aladdin’s Cave of all things healthy with a little unhealthy thrown in as well!
The restaurant upstairs prepares a whole range of foods and is a very popular destination for lunch. For other supermarkets, Kensington High Street also has a Waitrose where every now and again Prince Harry can be spotted buying his lunch or dinner. There is also a large section of skiing and outdoors shops, Snow & Rock, Columbia, Kathmandu, Ellis Brighman.
Parks & Green Spaces:
Every year millions of Londoners and tourists visit Kensington Gardens, one of the capital's eight Royal Parks. Kensington Palace, the Italian Gardens, Albert Memorial, Peter Pan Statue and the Serpentine Galleries are all located within its 265 acres.
Planted with formal avenues of magnificent trees and ornamental flower beds, the gardens are also home to the popular Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground
Holland Park is 22.5 hectares of gardens, children’s play facilities, sports areas, a cafeteria and large areas of woodland abundant with wildlife. Contained within the park is the beautiful Kyoto Garden; a Japanese garden donated by the Chamber of Commerce of Kyoto in 1991.
Holland Park provides facilities for tennis, football, golf practice nets, cricket practice nets and netball. Health walks and other activities are also run in the park.
High Street Kensington Underground Station (Zone 1) is served by the Circle and District lines and Notting Hill Gate Underground Station are served by the Circle, District and Central lines.
Gloucester Road Underground Station (Zone 1) is also within reach and is served by the Circle, District and Piccadilly Lines.
The nearest Overground station is Kensington Olympia Station (Zone 2) which is a combined rail and tube station, and is served by the London Overground line which travels as far as Zone 9, with the District line also available via this station.
Numerous buses from Kensington High Street serve central London including the 10, 27, 9, and 70.
Bisecting Kensington is the A4 which leads straight out to the M4 therefore for those wanting easy access to Heathrow Kensington is an ideal place to live.
The A40 is also very close to the centre of Kensington whicg provides easy access to the west of England.
Kensington’s much-coveted independent schools include Thomas’s, Pembridge Hall, Wetherby Pre-Prep, Norland Place, Notting Hill Prep and Hawkesdown House. The outstanding state schools are St Mary Abbots CE Primary School, Fox Primary School and Holland Park School.
Kensington is represented by The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
Kensington council tax rates
The council tax rate in Kensington is set by The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. The rate of council tax varies and is dependent on the following valuation bands:
COUNCIL TAX – 2016/17