5 Reasons To Stay in South Kensington During Your Vacation.
There is something just so wonderfully charming about South Kensington – London’s little France, if you will. Home to many a French-born Londoner, along with the consulate, the French Institute and the Lycée Français Charles de Gaulle, these little French adornments make the typically English terraced-houses that bit more beautiful. Wander the streets of South Kensington and within minutes of smart, gated houses, you’ll stumble upon the finest collection of museums that England, or indeed the world, has to offer. The National History Museum, the Science Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum are all within minutes of each other – and the cuisine in the area is simply mouthwatering.
Read on for 5 of the best reasons to stay in South Kensington on your vacation.
- The Museums – Very few newcomers to London survive a trip to the capital without stepping foot in at least one of its museums, and luckily the best are all right here. Our favourite by far is the Natural History Museum, and who can fail to be impressed when faced with the impressive collection of Dinosaur remains or the incredible 1881 pale blue and terracotta façade that houses them? If you’re in London over the Christmas period then be sure to take a peak at the beautifully romantic Ice Rink outside of the museum too. Those concerned with style and beauty that follows should tread a trail to the V&A Museum who frequently house exhibitions of some of the world’s most renowned designers – from Alexander McQueen to Yohji Yamamoto. Contemporary, classic and decorative art enthusiasts are well catered for too – with permanent exhibits spanning several medias and centuries. If you’re travelling to London with a family – then the Science Museum is perfect. Though be warned – the staggering seven floors of educational and entertaining exhibits can take days to explore – so plan your trip well.
- Restaurants – South Kensington’s chic collection of eateries is a pleasure to browse. We do suggest though that you stay away from the more touristic offerings that you’ll find outside of the station and instead head into the backstreets and to favourites like Brompton Road for a good set of choices. One of our favourites here is actually a chain – but it’s just such a good choice for lunches – it is of course Aubaine on the afore mentioned Brompton Road – an easy place to have lunch when you are in South Kensington. The interior is inspired by French country houses and has a light and easy going atmosphere that makes social lunches here all the better. Try their selection of pies and cakes and you might just find yourself sneaking back in for dinner too. Also on Brompton Road is the tiny, candle lit La Bouchee which offers a perfect setting for a romantic evening meal with minimalistic rustic interiors – similar to the Bouchon’s of Lyon. If you want something a little more upbeat then try out Bodo’s Schloss for an authentic-ish apres ski bar/ restaurant/ club. It’s ski-themed complete with schnitzel, Austrian Wines and Lederhosen. If you find your palette is craving something a little more refined then we suggest Brinkley’s Restaurant on Hollywood Road – make sure you make a reservation though as it’s always full.
- Shopping in South Kensington – South Kensington comes close to rivalling any other area of London for choice. For those seeking the latest fashions to parade around London’s stylish streets – you should point a well-heeled foot towards Sloane Square and Fulham Road or simply walk along Brompton Road to the impressive facade of Harrods – which looks spectacular when fully lit at night, and in the designer boutiques that line it you’ll find everything from Burberry to Valentino. There’s a fine collection of antiques shops in the area too, along with high-street stores, food and wine stores and flowers seller, etc.
- Entertainment – The nightlife in South Kensington isn’t as lively or as highspirited as other parts of London (and certainly not as raucous as Soho!), but what the area lacks in quantity it more than makes up for in quality. If you enjoy a little Jazz in a traditional atmosphere then we recommend a visit to the 606 Club down on Lots Road – it’s a good idea to take a cab. When you arrive at the metal gated doorway you might mistakenly think you’re in the wrong place – but do persevere for a trip down into one of London’s most enjoyable basements! It’s exactly what one expects a real Jazz club should look like – a little dingy and full to the rafters, the air is thick with atmosphere and the music flows freely and with an energy not too dissimilar to New Orleans. For something a little more British – we suggest an evening in The Royal Albert Hall, which is an attraction in itself. It’s a Grade I Listed building and has been in continuous use since it was opened in March 1871.Take a look at the website here to see what’s on during your vacation.
- Hyde Park & Kensington Gardens – No matter the season – these gardens are all fabulous. Take a stroll around the Serpentine lake to see a little of both parks and then stop off at the Serpentine Cafe for a coffee and a bite to eat or take a look at the Serpentine Gallery, the Italian Gardens and of course the stunning Kensington Palace which has been a royal residence since the 17th century and is currently the official London residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. If you’re here in the summer, then a few hours boating the lake is a glorious way to spend an afternoon. If it’s the winter, then wrap up warm and take an afternoon stroll around Kensington Gardens taking in the allotment, the Albert Memorial and the Peter Pan statue before heading into Hyde Park.
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