As local estate agents, it is easy to fall in love with the charm of the area in which we work. From the north to the south of Kensington, it is plain to see that its charisma and history is felt through its buildings, shops and its beautiful period properties.
A stroll away from Notting Hill Gate, to the south of the borough, lies Kensington. This part of Kensington and Chelsea has a traditional feel. It is quieter than Notting Hill and Bayswater but still has a life of its own that is grounded in its own rhythm. It’s a slightly more family orientated area and has retained some of its larger houses and more relaxed feel. That said, Kensington has a lot to offer and is not short on nightlife, eateries as well as places for the whole family.
Once a vibrant and bustling high street, home to some of the largest retail names including the giant Barkers department store and the world’s most beautiful Biba store, nowadays, Kensington has a more relaxed atmosphere. There is still a great choice of retail shopping, but this pretty high street has become well-known for its cafes and restaurants. High St Kensington has retained its charm and has some longstanding resident eateries that have stood the test of time and popularity.
One of Kensington’s long term restaurants is Bill Wyman’s Sticky Fingers. This American style eatery has been a resident since 1989. Established by Wyman, the legendary Rolling Stone’s bass guitarist, it is still a firm local favourite. It has a Hard Rock café style yet has a more personal feel. It’s a popular choice, has some fun nights and is a great choice for the whole family. Barbecue wings and burgers will indeed leave you with a full stomach and sticky fingers as you appreciate the walls of photo framed rock stars set in time across the walls.
A unique place worth mentioning is the Unique Kensington roof gardens. Owned by Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, the iconic rooftop garden consists of over an acre of green space which towers 150 meters above street level. The former night club and restaurant occupied the top two floors of this beautiful grade II listed art deco building, which has now closed its doors to restore the space to renew this unique setting. The garden hosts to a variety of fawn and flora; this includes its iconic resident flamingos and ducks who have now been relocated to a sanctuary. In terms of nature, it is home to 70 mature trees including oaks and fruit trees. The Garden is set to reopen at the beginning of 2020 where you will be able to enjoy amazing uninterrupted views across London.
One of the most impressive food courts in London is Wholefoods, the first wholefoods store in Europe store which took over the premises of the former Barkers department store in 2007, and it still holds prime position on Kensington High Street. There is no lack of choice here, this health food store spans over three floors and contains approx 80,000 square feet of organic food, including eateries such as Bone daddy and Sushi and Robata on the first floor. Alternatively, you can take your deli food upstairs or sip on your freshly brewed coffee while enjoying the view over High-Street Kensington. Ranging from its cheese room to nuts, coffee beans, precooked food and a beautiful colourful section of fruit and vegetables to choose from, there is really nothing you cannot find here. They have a great selection of every health product you could desire. Did I mention the huge choice of organic chocolate bars of all descriptions?
Kensington High street is well positioned for green spaces in Central London, at each end of the high street, there is a beautiful park to enjoy. At one end, you can walk through Kensington Gardens, take in the sights of the Palace or stroll along towards the Albert Memorial (picture), towards Knightsbridge and Central London. At the other end of the High Street, you can find the ever popular Holland Park which is the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s largest park and spans over 22 hectares. The park has a variety of green areas including a football, games green, tennis courts, children’s play area, an ecology centre, and wild forest walks. It is also home to the beautiful and serene Kyoto gardens, the park’s Japanese garden which was gifted by the chamber of commerce of Kyoto in 1991 from which the London garden takes its name
To see more about the activities at Holland Park, you can visit the borough’s website:
Kensington church street winds its way up to Notting Hill Gate passing a number of antique shops which have clustered there over time. Some of the worlds most renowned experts are based here, offering a variety of art and antiques from different eras and from across the globe. This high concentration of registered and approved art and antique shops created a circle of authenticity and gave the road a reputation for quality fine art and antiques.
For a little bit of British traditionalism, one can meander through the quieter side streets. I love to walk through Church Row, stuck in a period of its own, this little row of quaint shops sells items such as suits, cuff links, ladies’ hats, and bow ties. It’s a step back in time and a pleasant moment of repose from the busy streets of Central London.
Further to the south of the borough, fringing the river Thames, Chelsea is well known for vibrant Kings Road, famous for being a fashionista’s hang-out in the ‘60s, and punks congregated during the ‘70s. It has preserved some of its individual designer boutiques. In more recent times, it has featured in Made in Chelsea, and the Saatchi Gallery has made its home there. Its local residents include the popular Bluebird café and the iconic art deco design Peter Jones department store.
There is plenty to do in and around the area and for central London has a softer pace with wide sunny roads. South Kensington is also home to the world famous Royal Albert Hall for some of the top cultural events to see. A stone's through away is Exhibition road which is home to some of the UK’s most visited museums including the remarkable national History museum.