What is Kensington like?
Kensington is a mix of grandeur and charm. Its grandeur comes from Kensington Palace, home to several members of the Royal Family, and the enclaves of splendid mansions along Kensington Palace Gardens and Holland Park. Its charm comes from its shopping parades and its green spaces: Holland Park, Kensington Gardens merging with Hyde Park, and numerous garden squares in between.
Property in Kensington
From mansions to mansion flats, Kensington comprises the most desirable types of property in each bracket. The detached mansions of Holland Park and the terraced and semi-detached townhouses scattered to around Kensington High Street are among he most sought-after family residencies in London, while the pretty streets of cottagey houses off Kensington Church Street are hugely sought-after by downsizers and couples.
For ultra-prime mansions, look in Holland Park and Kensington Palace Gardens.
For first-class semi-detached or terrace townhouses, head to the roads between Holland Park and Kensington Church Street, including Phillimore Gardens, Stafford Terrace and Argyll Road. Closer to Notting Hill, try Campden Hill Square; or look south of the High Street to Cottesmore Gardens or Victoria Road.
For smaller houses in pretty roads off Kensington Church Street, look in Peel Street, Edge Street and Campden Street.
For Edwardian mansion blocks, try Campden Hill Court, Campden Hill Gate, Abingdon Court and Abingdon Mansions.
For contemporary developments, head to Academy Gardens, Thornwood Gardens and Observatory Gardens.
The local scene
Kensington’s superb schools make the area a huge draw for families, who ensure a lively community spirit. Culturally vibrant, the area offers a terrific cross-section of character and sophistication, from the bustling antiques market in Portobello Road to the major museums of South Kensington. The Royal Albert Hall, hub of the nation’s major cultural events, is a pleasant walk away, and Holland Park hosts its own highly regarded annual opera festival, set among the gardens of a former stately home.
Westbourne Grove is as fine a shopping street as any in London, peppered with designer brands and upmarket specialist shops. Kensington Church Street and Thackeray Street have their own collections of villagey shops and cafes, while on Kensington High Street, Whole Foods Market is the biggest and smartest organic food shop in London.
The area’s upmarket restaurants include The Ledbury, Granger’s and The Abingdon; the Churchill and the Windsor Castle pubs are renowned.
High Street Kensington provides District and Circle Line services to Earl’s Court and on to Wimbledon, Richmond and Ealing. From the stations at Holland Park and Notting Hill Gate, Central Line trains run direct to the West End and the City. Paddington Station, with it’s excellent Heathrow link, is also within easy reach; Heathrow may be accessed direct from Earl’s Court on the Piccadilly Line.
The A40, just to the north, heads West to Heathrow Airport and the motorway network.
Schools in Kensington
Kensington’s much-coveted private 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 and Fox Primary School.