Doesn’t matter if you are a native Londoner or just passing through for a few days, Kensington is always the first borough you should flock to for exploring what London is all about as there are many things to do in Kensington.
Kensington is among central London’s most wealthy, posh, and refined regions. It is a West London borough that is part of the Royal district of Kensington and Chelsea. The well-known art, museum, and gallery section of South Kensington is located in this exquisite but densely inhabited region. One thing is sure, you never would have to face a dilemma when wondering about things to do in Kensington because there is so much to do.
If you talk about the most famous things to do in Kensington, High Street Kensington, which runs east-west, is the municipality’s business hub. Kensington Gardens, which includes the Albert Memorial, the Speke’s Landmark, the Leighton House Museum, eight royal parks, and the Serpentine Galleries, is located in the northeastern region and are all the busiest ones.
The Royal Academy of Music, Imperial College of London, the Royal Albert Auditorium, Victoria and Albert Museum, Natural History Museum, and the Science Museum are all located in South Kensington and Gloucester Avenue.
Numerous international embassies and consulates are located in the region, as they are the homes of many politicians, celebrities, and billionaires. There are many wonderful and astounding places to visit in Kensington. If you are travelling to London for the first time, have a look at the 8 Most Beautiful Places in London and make the most of your vacation.
Kensington is, in fact, a very wealthy neighbourhood, which it maintains with Chelsea, its southern neighbour. The area hosts some of London’s most costly avenues, parks, and public squares, also, the Holland Park enclave rose to prominence around the turn of the century.
According to Zoopla’s annual 2020 Rich List, Kensington Palace Gardens in London is by far the most affluent street in the UK. To say it minimally, Kensington is a very posh district in West London. The Royal Albert Hall and Hyde Park, as well as numerous wonderful free museums, are located here.
There are several things to do in Kensington that you should not miss when visiting London, from Museum Mile to beautiful parklands and lakes. The Victoria & Albert Museum, The Natural History Museum, and The Science Museum, all within walking distance of one other, are the most renowned (and intriguing) museums in London.
Then there is the aura of culture and heritage. Kensington is not only a place for the wealthy to visit and reside in, to put it frankly, but there is also something to do for everyone. There is no denying that this is one of London’s wealthiest regions, complete with elegant cafes, boutique stores, quirky pubs, and fancy restaurants – and there is even a royal palace straight out of the books – Kensington Palace, thrown in for good measure.
Through the marble arches, stroll the Kensington Arcade and browse various shops and boutiques beside the exquisite storefronts. If you get tired, put a blanket at Kensington Gardens and enjoy the view, which has a beautiful lake and the magnificent Kensington Palace as a centrepiece. So what are the best things to do in Kensington, read below.
7 Amazing Things to do in Kensington
1. Explore the Natural History Museum
Ranking the first on the roster of things to do in Kensington is The Natural History Museum in Kensington borough of London. It is a natural historical site that has a diverse collection of exhibits from several fields of science.
Located on Exhibition Street in South Kensington, it is among three major galleries. Sir Hans Sloane’s academic archives formed the foundation of the Natural History Museum, which was established in 1754 and relocated to its current location in 1881.
Alfred Waterhouse built the exhibit, which is 675 feet long with twin 190-foot-high arches and is a grandiose edifice in Romanesque architecture style. Terra-cotta planks with carved animal sculptures adorn the building’s exterior. Its unique assortment of much more than 50,000 volumes, 10,000 conserved animals, and 334 sets of preserved plant species are one of its many relics.
There is no denying that London has a plethora of museums to pick from, but the Natural History Museum in South Kensington is one that should be on everyone’s bucket list. But there are a few facts you may still not know about this lovely exhibit, which is known for its architectural excellence and dinosaur display.
The institution is also a centre for conservation-focused scientific study and has numerous historical artefacts, notably specimens gathered by Charles Darwin. The Natural History Museum, widely regarded as the world’s biggest and most influential centre for research into natural history and its many associated subjects, is one of the best locations to see in London and needs to be prominent on any traveller’s agenda.
It is impossible to showcase everything in the collection of the museum because there are so many. As a result, there are various locations behind the curtains where the remaining specimens are kept. The Spirit Room, for instance, houses hundreds of species conserved in solutions in jars or containers. A few are tens of years old, while others are only a few years old. Archie, a big squid, is one of them.
The usage of coloured zones makes it reasonably straightforward to navigate the museum and identify points of focus. The Red Zone is dedicated to the planet’s developing past, the Green Zone to relics and aquatic life, the Blue Zone to dinosaurs, and the Orange Zone to a biodiversity sanctuary and the modern Darwin Centre.
2. Feel the Eminence in Royal Albert Hall
The Royal Albert Hall is a performance hall in London’s most affluent South Kensington borough and one of the best things to do in Kensington. It is maintained in trust for the country and administered by a charitable organization that takes no government money. This is among the United Kingdom’s finest valued and extraordinary buildings.
The massive oval structure was constructed in 1867–71 as a tribute to Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s husband. Sir George Gilbert Scott helped draft architectural blueprints in the initial 1860s, but due to a lack of funds, his structure was never finished. Sir Henry Cole, the Society of Arts’ chair, subsequently obtained funding, in part by providing 999-year leases on prime seats, and different innovations by Francis Fowke were accepted in 1865.
The Hall sponsors many performances, and publicist Raymond Gubbay has presented a variety of activities to the Hall since the early 1970s, including operas, theatre, and classical music. Symphonic and rock performances, seminars, banquets, dance classes, poetry readings, educational conferences, automobile displays, ballet, opera, cinema screenings, and acrobatic shows are just a few of the events that take place.
Numerous sporting events have taken place here, notably boxing, tennis, table tennis, basketball, squash, and wrestling, including London’s premier sumo wrestling competition.
A new south veranda with a café, a below-ground shipping port, and a ground-floor box office was also constructed. Its stunning tympanum was unveiled in 2003. A mosaic depicting musical sound erupting from the circular central pane can be found here.
3. Stroll Along with the Kensington Garden
Kensington garden is one of the most beautiful places in Kensington. Princess Diana adored the beautiful gardens close to Kensington Palace, and the landscape was re-planted with white flowers in her honour 20 years after her death in 2017. The Princess Diana Memorial Field, equipped with a sunken ship, and the Princess Diana Tribute Fountain, which is an attraction for families, provide more enduring recollections.
Kensington Gardens has so much to see that you might easily spend an entire day there, notably if you combine it with a tour to Kensington Palace, which may take another couple of hours in itself. It is suggested to start your trip at Kensington Palace, which is a short walk from Kensington High Avenue tube station and passes through the elegant embassies in Kensington Palace Gardens.
The Serpentine and West Carriage Drive that winds through the parkland are the sole divisions between Hyde Park and Kensington Garden, which comprise a unified green space. Kensington Palace was first acquired and expanded in the late 17th century by Queen Mary and King William, who needed a palace that was better than Whitehall Castle.
The Kensington Palace garden is a treasure box that you can peer into from all four edges through the attractive wrought iron gates to see the seasonal blooms. The Round Pond can be seen from the slightly elevated elevation of the sunken landscape walkways, so that is where you will go next on your tour.
This tiny pond is ideal for viewing the ducks, geese, and swans, all of whom are eager to be fed. Although this is a popular spot to observe wildfowl, feeding them pieces of bread or buns is not advised because these foods are not part of their natural diet, however, they will happily eat anything you toss at them, one of the best things to do in Kensington Garden, a must say.
Following the monarch’s designed landscapes, Queen Charlotte built dams on the river that runs through the park to create The Serpentine, a manmade lake. Kensington Grounds, previously the exclusive garden of Kensington Palace, is now one of London’s Royal Parklands.
The parks are located directly on the western side of Hyde Park in western central London and are owned by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, and the City of Westminster.
4. Delve into History at Victoria and Albert Museum
Given the extensive assortment of works of modern and contemporary art on display at the Victoria & Albert Museum, selecting the best items to explore is a difficult assignment, it is among the prime things to do in Kensington.
In fact, unlike some other London exhibitions and attractions, it exhibits a wide spectrum of art forms. The V&A houses not just traditional art pieces like sculptures and paintings, but also ordinary objects like furniture, art, and jewellery.
The Victoria and Albert Museum, which opened in 1852 is still among the best things to do in Kensington and houses a large collection of approximately 2.27 million pieces, is the world’s biggest applied art forms, visual culture, and architectural museum. Furthermore, the pieces in the exhibit are from a lot of different countries.
The huge success of the Universal Exhibition prompted Prince Albert to build a sort of permanent display of art treasures so that visitors might appreciate them in a diverse context for the rest of their lives. That is how the V&A came to be, and as a response, it has evolved into a great repository of items rather than merely a theme museum. In addition, the structure itself is a magnificent architectural marvel.
Fashion always has been a focus of the V&A designers’ expertise, and special exhibitions devoted to the global fashion industry are held on a regular basis. The V&A’s style gallery features gowns dating from the early 700s to the present day, telling the tale of how fashion has evolved over the years.
For the grandeur of its chambers, the V&A café is a must-see. You can either choose the main room, which is the biggest, with its exquisitely adorned ceilings, arches, and massive chandeliers, or the calmer cosiness of the side parlour, where you can eat a delicious cake in this wonderful atmosphere.
With its network of halls and galleries and its diverse collection of works and designs, it is challenging to find another museum that compares to the V&A. The V&A ought to be visited more than once to really appreciate it, in order to acquaint yourself with the challenging dispersion of its treasures.
5. Tour the Majestic Kensington Palace
Thousands of tourists visit London each year to explore the best things to do in Kensington due to the royal family’s extensive rich history and an array of heritage homes. The royal family is a big part of London society, and there are a variety of locations and galleries dedicated to honouring them through the arts.
Kensington Palace is one of London’s numerous recognized royal homes, as well as a gallery available to the public. The finest selection of royal art in the nation can be found in this beautifully charming gallery in the core of Kensington Palace.
The exhibit, which includes some exceptionally rare and sought-after masterpieces, is a must-see for visitors to London. The gallery was built for King George I in 1725 and has been preserved and protected ever since, keeping all of its elegance and grandeur.
While you visit Kensington palace, there are various trails that lead you through the halls, each focusing on a different king or queen who has lived here. If you have ever desired, you could travel across time to meet people of different ages, Digital Mission would be the next greatest thing.
This entertaining and engaging display allows you to take a virtual tour of Kensington Palace and engage with a historical figure who loves to tell you historical narratives. This is a great day out for the entire family and is likely to pique your children’s interest in artwork.
This magnificent display displays the sequence of Queen Victoria’s life, allowing visitors to learn about one of Britain’s most memorable rulers. As the childhood home and abode of Queen Victoria, Kensington Palace, has devoted an entire part to the great queen’s life. The showcases are based on Victoria’s diaries and would incorporate ancient records and personal artefacts to illustrate crucial moments in her life.
If you are still wondering if Kensington Palace is worth visiting, explore here and make the right choice. The gates open at 10 a.m. and close at 6 p.m., with the last entry one hour before. The closing time is 4 p.m. throughout the colder months of November to February.
Kensington Palace features a simple ticketing system with discounts for kids and senior citizens, as well as providing family tickets, also, children under the age of five are permitted free entry.
6. Wander Through Hyde Park
Hyde Park, located in the core of London, is among the most amazing things to do in Kensington. It hosts world-class spectacles and performances, as well as peaceful spots to relax and relieve stress after a long week.
Hyde Park has an ancient legacy and tradition as a protest place, and demonstrations and marches are still held there today. On an early Sunday morning, go to Speakers’ Corner to hear individuals from many walks of life offer their perspectives.
This is among London’s eight Royal Parklands, with a 350-acre area. The biggest outdoor area in London is Hyde Park, which is bordered on the west by Kensington Gardens. It is also quite large, stretching half a mile north to south and 1.25 miles from east to west and needing at least two hours of travelling by foot to complete.
In fact, travelling here at different times of the year may be a huge amount of fun. The Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, which runs from mid-November to early January, transforms the park into London’s biggest and most magnificent Christmas market.
A bird refuge towards the northern corner of the Serpentine houses Epstein’s sculpture of Rima, the bird-girl protagonist of W. H. Hudson’s novella Green Mansions.
The park’s main gate, appropriately dubbed the Grand Entrance, features an outstanding threefold archway. It was built in 1828 and features a replica of the Parthenon sculpture. A figure of Achilles constructed in honour of the Duke of Wellington, sculpted from a confiscated French cannon, and a replica of a statue on the Quirinal in Rome are also nearby.
Hyde Park, Britain’s most well-known public park, is one of the things to do in Kensington and the abode of numerous significant military memorials. The Royal Artillery War Memorial, which is the quickest to discover, was constructed in 1925 and is a tribute to those who enlisted and sacrificed in the Royal Regiment of Artillery. Other memorials in Hyde Park honour dead soldiers from all over the globe who fought and died in both the world wars.
Despite its reputation as London’s busiest street crossroads, Hyde Park Corner is well worth a visit, even if only to say you have been there. In addition, the Serpentine Collection has a temporary summer gazebo, designed by one of the nation’s premier architects, that is utilized for special exhibits and activities each summer.
7. Feed Your Intellectual Side in the Science Museum
The Science Museum is a large museum in South Kensington, London, located on Exhibition Avenue. It was established in 1857 and is now one of the capital’s most popular tourist destinations, with 3.3 million tourists each year. You are free to spend as much time as you want to explore the museum, but the usual visit lasts about a couple of hours.
When talking about the best things to do in Kensington, Science Museum is worth mentioning. They embrace an unmatched collection covering science, innovation, engineering, economics, and healthcare as the world’s foremost organization of science museums.
“Astronights,” a “all-night spectacle with a scientific edge,” is hosted by the Science Museum. Up to 380 children aged 8 to 11 years old, escorted by guardians, are encouraged to spend the evening participating in entertaining “science-based” events before spending the night camping amid the artefacts in the museum galleries.
The Science Museum is divided into two sections: the main structure and the Welcoming Wing. Tourists access the main building via Exhibition Avenue and walk through the Energy Pavilion, Exploring Spaces, and the Modern World exhibitions on the bottom floor to reach the Welcoming Wing.
The science museum is one of the things to do in Kensington and an engaging interactive place designed specifically for children ages 3–6 years old, as well as their parents and caregivers.
The specific aspects like the construction, water, lights, and sound can be explored by curious children. They can learn about flying and diving, shadow and reflection, and much more while exploring. The Science Museum, like other publicly supported national museums and galleries in the United Kingdom, does not cost entry to visitors.
Kensington is notable for its beautiful terraced houses and the sprawling Kensington Gardens, which are made up of European design landholdings. There are also upscale shopping alternatives, luxury hotels, and galleries in the area.
Spend some time in this refined hub’s museums and music theatres. Take a stroll around Kensington High Street to explore the variety of stores and things to do in Kensington that defines this affluent, elite, and royal neighbourhood.