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Things to Do in Kensington (+ South Kensington) | What to See & Where to Stay & Eat

Wondering about the things to do in Kensington, London? Then you’re in the right place! There are plenty of places to visit in Kensington. As well as lots of South Kensington attractions in the neighbouring area to keep you busy.

Whether you want to find places to go by day or things to do in Kensington at night, this guide is for you. There are attractions in Kensington for all ages, from young kids to older adults. What’s more is that many of the best things to do in South Kensington and Kensington are free.

Things to see in Kensington include a trio of world-class museums, a couple of very impressive parks and gardens, London’s most magnificent music and theatre venue, a royal palace, and much more. One of us used to work in Kensington High Street, so we do know what we’re talking about!

From things to do in Kensington with kids who need to burn off excess energy to places to go when it’s raining out, here is the complete guide to Kensington and South Kensington in London.

Also covered here is where to stay and eat, how to get there, FAQs, and top tips. Let’s dive in!

Visiting the statue of Diana is one of the popular things to do in Kensington.
  • Shoppers
  • Museum buffs
  • Music concert fans
  • Anyone seeking pretty parks

You must add this stunning depository to your South Kensington things to do list! There are three major museums in Kensington, and this is one of the most impressive in the whole of London. It’s also free to enter. Booking a timed ticket is recommended, though the museum may accept walk-ins subject to availability. 

The building itself is worthy of mention – it’s jaw-dropping. Then there are the exhibits, which are nothing short of magnificent. There’s also a cafe on site. With 80 million items on display, this place could keep you busy all day. 

The V&A is the world’s biggest museum of the arts, decor, design, and performance. It’s named for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, her husband, and dates from the mid 19th century. Over two-and-a-quarter million objects can be seen here, housed in almost 150 galleries. 

Whether you’re into couture and fashion, architecture, interior design, or more traditional forms of art like painting, the V&A is a fascinating place to visit. Entry is also free, with no need to pre book your ticket. 

Plan at least 3 hours (or more – it is my favourite museum in London)

If you’re seeking things to do near Victoria and Albert Museum, look no further than the Science Museum. Attracting over three million visitors a year, it’s also one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions. 

The closest V&A, Natural History Museum and Science Museum tube station is South Kensington, and you can find all three clustered close together on Exhibition Road. Find out all about medicine, space, maths, flight, and much more for free, though pre booking tickets is recommended. 

Opened by Queen Victoria in 1871, the Royal Albert Hall is on the northern fringes of South Kensington. Many famous faces from all sorts of performing arts have graced its stage, and music concerts remain the hall’s main focus. 

You can either book tickets for an event to see the hall, or take a tour. Guided tours last for an hour, and as well as seeing the sights you’ll hear stories and discover the history. In terms of getting there, High Street Kensington and South Kensington are approximately equidistant. 

Click here to book a tour of the Royal Albert Hall

The Royal Albert Hall tour is included with the London Pass

Kensington Palace has been at the centre of British royal history for three centuries. Queen Victoria called it home, and even met Prince Albert here. When Princess Diana died, floral tributes were laid outside the palace where she’d resided. 

The nearest tube station to Kensington Palace is Queensway, and it’s around 10 minutes’ walk from here. Things to do at Kensington Palace include seeing the Jewel Room, the Victoria: A Royal Childhood exhibition, and the King’s Gallery.

Kensington Palace entry is included with the London Pass

The Elfin Oak

Kensington Palace sits proudly at the centre of Kensington Gardens. This is one of eight Royal Parks of London, and is open to everyone. It’s a lovely spot for a stroll, a picnic, or a play. 

Things to do in Kensington Gardens include looking for Peter Pan and the Albert Memorial, wandering through the Italian Gardens, and visiting the Diana Memorial Playground, complete with a pirate ship.

Tip – Don’t miss the Elfin Oak!

Since the closure of Kensington Market in 2000, Kensington London shopping centres on the local high street. This is one of the city’s best-known thoroughfares, and it’s lined with retail outlets. Some of which seem to be destinations in themselves, such as the Non Stop Party Shop in High Street Kensington. 

As well as shopping at department stores, boutiques, and high street retailers, things to do in Kensington High Street include visiting coffee shops and restaurants, or the UK’s biggest branch of Whole Foods Market. You can find all sorts here, so why not stroll along and see what you come across?

Holland Park is one of the most peaceful parts of West London. It’s the name of an upmarket residential area in addition to the park itself. The park is free for the public to use, and includes over 50 acres of woodland, gardens, lawns, and playgrounds. 

The Kyoto Garden here is one not to miss. There are manicured Japanese-style landscapes, and you may even see the resident peacocks wandering around. Big grey herons, native to the UK, often pay the park a visit, too. 

Brompton Cemetery is Grade I listed, run by the Royal Parks, and has been Crown property since 1852. It opened in 1840, and is one of London’s so-called Magnificent Seven cemeteries. 

More than 200,000 people, including the famous suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst, are interred here. There’s some incredible architecture, such as the Great Circle, and a cafe. You can also spot wildlife like butterflies, birds, and bats. 

The Churchill Arms can be found on Kensington Church Street, and is one of London’s most iconic pubs. It’s bedecked with breathtaking floral displays, and dates back to 1750. Not surprisingly, given the name, there’s also an interesting collection of war memorabilia inside.  

What is perhaps surprising is that the Churchill Arms now specialises in Thai food, rather than traditional British pub grub. It’s popular, so book a table in advance if you want to dine here. 

Tucked away on Bute Street in South Kensington is Ceru, a Middle Eastern eatery that really delivers on Levant flavours. This contemporary diner is a hidden gem, blending Lebanese, Turkish, and Eastern European cuisine. 

Centrally located on Gloucester Road, this is one of West London’s finest Indian restaurants. Dishes cooked in a tandoor oven are a speciality, and the eatery has been serving happy locals and visitors since 1984. 

Pizzetta Pizza is also on Bute Street, and bakes fresh pizza and cakes on a daily basis. It’s very casual – more like a snack bar than a restaurant – but serves up some of London’s best pizza, calzone, coffee, and cakes.

Visit Scoff and Banter inside the Radisson Blu Vanderbilt Hotel on Cromwell Road for British and European classics with a contemporary twist. The menus include options for kids, vegans, and seasonal Market Specials. 

Town House restaurant and the K Bar at The Kensington hotel provide visitors with a great place to eat and drink. Expect elegant style and lots of character, plus a top-notch afternoon tea, refined cocktails, and a tasty selection of British and international dishes.

There are plenty of places to eat and drink in Kensington at the local attractions and museums, too. The V&A Cafe was recommended to us by a London cabbie, for example, and we don’t know any higher accolade than that! 

You can also eat at the other museums, the Royal Albert Hall, and of course the Churchill Arms. Or why not take a wander around the Kensington High Street area and see what stands out? 

There are festive treats galore in store in Kensington. Expect wintry movies at the Royal Albert Hall and Kensington Palace, Christmas carols, twinkling lights, elegant decorations, and of course all the fun of Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland close by.

  • High Street Kensington – Circle and District lines
  • South Kensington – Central, District and Piccadilly lines
  • Kensington Olympia

Look out for buses calling at High Street Kensington, or in South Kensington.

Kensington is around three miles west of central London. It’s part of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. South Kensington is just south of Kensington. The area is also bordered by Chelsea, Earl’s Court, Shepherd’s Bush, Holland Park, and Hyde Park.

Londoners often refer to Kensington as “Ken” – think High Street Ken, South Ken, and so on. While you’re there, you’ll find they rarely use the full name!

Kensington is a great all-rounder when it comes to where to stay, eat, and shop in London. It’s also packed with attractions, including three of the capital’s top museums, Kensington Palace, one of the most famous pubs in the city, the Royal Albert Hall, some lovely parks, and more. 

With so much to see and do here and lots that won’t cost you a penny, why not think about spending a day – or even longer – discovering Kensington?

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