It’s no surprise that Kensington is one of my favourite places to shop. With such an awesome and chilled vibe, nothing else comes close. Here are the 13 best things to do when spending the day in Kensington.
1. Visit Buckingham Palace
It's every tourist's dream to visit the Royal Palace and see the black and gold metal gates, Guards surrounding the entrance where Her majesty once resided. Take a bus trip down to the palace gardens. If you are planning your visit in advance, why not book a guided tour? They’re usually on every Friday and Saturday and will sell out very early, so book in advance!
2. Go for a Sweet Breakfast
Try some sweet or savoury pancakes. I mean who doesn't love pancakes, right? My Old Dutch has a varied menu with both sweet and savoury pancakes and it’s such a cool vibe. What a nice way to start the day!
3. Visit a Show at Olympia
Kensington, Olympia hosts a whole load of exhibitions and shows during the year. Search online for any shows taking place there. There are usually a number of exhibitions taking place there from roadshows to mental health talks, why not book some tickets or better yet, see if you can grab some for free! You’ll have a great day out.
4.) Visit the Royal Albert Hall
Yes, of course, you need to have tickets, and yes that might cost you a little packet, but it’ll sure be worth it. Look around other sites such GetyourGuide as for any available discount codes. You never know what might be available, but it’s an experience you won't want to miss.
5.) Visit any one of the museums
Within footsteps of each other, you’ll find the National History Museum, The Science Museum, and the V&A Museum. You could easily spend a day in Kensington visiting all three! No need to worry about costs either because they are all FREE! Of course, donations are welcome and accepted but it’s definitely not mandatory.
You’ll be able to take lots of photos inside. Sometimes the museums may even have an event on, and while they are free to visit, check online to see if the events are ticketed. You’ll find cafes and shops where you be able to grab a bite to eat and purchase souvenirs. If you want to see something different, The V&A will definitely tickle your fancy with lots of fancy fashion collections and one-of-a-kind objects. You might even walk in on a fabulous fashion show as I did!
6.) Take a Shopping trip to Harrods
One of the largest department stores in Europe, Harrods features about 20 restaurants, a beauty salon and high-end fashion clothing. It is known as the worlds leading luxury department store and is home to over 3000 brands. Whether it is food, jewellery, clothes or even furniture, please believe Harrods has it all. Have lunch or dinner in one of the restaurants after all that retail therapy.
7.) Explore the Borough
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea is quite large. Don't restrict yourself just to the area. Visit the famous Ladbroke Grove area, home of Notting Hill Carnival, and visit Portobello market, which some would describe as the best London market. Full of quirky knicks and knacks, and fashionable clothing pieces. This is one of the best things to do alone in London, as you’ll be less than 10 minutes walk away from the Kensington Swimming pool (the Kensington leisure centre).. This brings me to my next point.
8.) Visit Kensington Leisure Centre
Whether you’re alone or with the kids, Kensington Leisure Centre is the perfect place for a fun splash or a serious swimming lesson. Check out the timetable and find out when the soft play for under 10s is on. Better yet, you’ll find the schedule for all and you can even visit the Spa if you need a relaxing day to yourself!
9.) Visit the Royal Kensington Gardens
Formally part of Hyde Park, The Diana memorial playground is absolutely great fun for children. Alongside the Diana memorial, you’ll find the Elfin Oak made from an Oak Tree with carved-out figures such as elves and fairies- a magical experience for all kids! Don't forget the others, The Peter Pan statue, The Albert memorial, The Kensington gardens, the bandstand and Queen Anne's Alcove. There's also the Diana Memorial playground, and the Elfin Oak - made from an Oak tree, with carved out elves and fairies!
10.) Visit St Mary Abbots Church
For a sense of peace visit the St Mary Abbots church. Situated right on the corner of Kensington High Street, this beautiful church, built in 1872 is a nice place to visit- any time of year. It has a small forecourt garden and provides peace and quiet and a warm and enchanting feeling, especially around Christmas. Be sure to check out London prayer times as they differ on the weekdays and the weekends.
11.) Take a stroll on the back roads
Quite literally, if you walk around the quietest roads, you’ll easily pass through Notting Hill, Queensway and Bayswater- are all within walking distance. Don't miss out on those multi-coloured houses in Notting Hill and the infamous Ice skating rink in Queensway. On a hot summer's day, don't miss the opportunity to visit Holland Park, which is very close to Bayswater.
12.) Visit Japan House
Japan House often has various free exhibitions, events and performances held in this gallery. With sentimental pieces, this gallery is something not to be missed. You’ll discover everything about Japanese culture. If you’re a lover of Anime (like my son) you’ll most definitely find something extremely interesting, you’ll find a delicious Japanese restaurant on site and what’s best, Admission is FREE!
13.) Visit the Design Museum
Many people don't know about this hidden gem, and I must admit- I was once one of those people! But if you know me well, you know a freebie can't get passed me for too long! Take a trip down to The Design Museum in Kensington. The Design Museum has a variety of products on display ranging from cultural to contemporary art and fashion, to architecture. They often have talks, courses and workshops available.
There may be a small charge for some of the events or workshops but general admission is free. Like many galleries, membership is available to purchase so you can enjoy unlimited FREE entry to all exhibitions. It is a family-friendly environment, so bring the kids along. There are drop-in workshops where you can have a hand at designing, what a creative experience! Visit the website to know what events are on so you can execute your visit!
And if you’re a fan of healthy eating and leading a healthy lifestyle, you can't visit Kensington without visiting Kensington Whole Foods. But don't be like me and purchase a slice of pizza!
What are your favourite places to visit in Kensington? Leave your comments below, and feel free to add new suggestions!
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