How to Get The Feel of Living Like a Local in South Kensington
South Kensington is a posh and vibrant area of central London that is surrounded by equally elegant and sophisticated neighbourhoods such as Chelsea to its south, Hyde Park to its north, Knightsbridge to its east and Earls Court to its west. It is a prime location being the hub of all activities and is home to a plethora of shops, museums, parks, restaurants and the theatre arts. It is a part of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and has an extensive number of museums and a bevy of cultural and educational institutions. The area also boasts of having many elegant residences where the top echelons of the society can be found. It is also an extremely popular visitor destination with an abundance of upscale boutiques, art galleries, antique dealers and designer furnishing retailers. It is famous for being home to many French expats, the Lycee Francais Charles de Gaulle secondary school, the French institute and the Consulate General of France in London.
Exploring the various restaurants, shopping options and sightseeing attractions will give you the feel of being like a local living in South Kensington.
Shopping in South Kensington: The area of South Kensington is highly affluent where you can find plenty of high end shops in the neighbourhood and take advantage of their fashion and designer deals. One of the longest shopping streets in the area is Fulham Road that offers plenty of boutiques, trendy furnishings and interior design. Brompton Road offers the high-street labels Burberry, L. K. Bennett, Zara and Topshop and at Old Brompton Road, you can find Christie’s the famous art auction house. The area also has a selection of galleries such as Hollywood Road Gallery exhibiting European and South American sculpture and paintings; Cadogan contemporary offering a wide variety of modern artworks; and Lane Fine Art offering rare oil on canvas landscapes and portraits. For locally-grown produce you can visit the Chelsea Farmers Market where you can also find many hip eateries, a bookstore and a dry cleaning service. It also has an organic supermarket and garden nursery.
Shopping in South Kensington is incomplete without visiting Harrods that is spread out over five acres and 330 departments. It is an expensive store offering designer bags and shoes, couture gowns and vintage wines. For most people it is only meant for window shopping because of its high prices.
Eating Options: South Kensington abounds in restaurants, coffee shops, bars and pubs and if you wish to live like a local, visiting these places is a must, especially the pubs. It may become difficult for you as you will be spoilt for choice. There is a phenomenal number of cafes and bakeries offering perfect morning brews and other treats such as at Exhibition Road’s Le Pain Quotidian offering Belgian varieties; Raison d’Etre serving freshly made baguettes and croissants; Muriel’s Kitchen offering traditional British breakfast; La Bottega offering a traditional Italian course; and Coffee Republic offering steaming cups of coffee. And Hummingbird Bakery offers American pastries such as New York cheesecake and red velvet cake whereas Patisserie Valerie offers delicious cakes and pastries.
There are plenty of innovative and exotic eateries including L’Etranger that offers French cuisine with a Japanese twist; Couscous Darna offers Moroccan cooking; Racine offers French cuisine; Bibendium provides a mix of French and British cuisines especially seafood items; and La Bouchee offers traditional French cooking and Patara offers Thai cuisine.
Bars and Pubs: South Kensington is famous for its bars and pubs. For a quintessential pub experience you can visit Zetland Arms offering traditional ales and classic pub food while the Anglesea Arms offers historical titbits and quality pub meals. The other pubs in the area include The Hereford Arms while the Boujis private membership nightclub is worth a visit as it attracts the chic members of London’s top society and other international celebrities.
South Kensington has a lot more to offer and knowing about these offerings will help you in living like a local in this area. If you are a visitor you can stay at Park Grand London Kensington Hotel that will give you the true feel of the neighbourhood as well as provide luxurious accommodation along with the best of facilities and a location close to most attractions of the area.
Attractions: The various landmarks, museums, and parks that you can explore in South Kensington include The Kensington Gardens which is a tribute to Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s husband and commemorates his commitment to arts; the Royal College of Music that also offers a museum exhibiting a collection of musical instruments across five centuries; the Natural History Museum that exhibits millions of objects that have been arranged into four exhibit areas; the Victoria and Albert Museum exhibiting decorative arts and design and having a collection of thousands of years of art; and the Science Museum that has several halls detailing space exploration, engineering, technology, energy and astronomy. It also has interactive exhibits and full-size steam engines and airplanes.
If you wish to stay in the posh Kensington area close to most of its attractions in a luxurious accommodation at affordable cost it would be best to avail of Kensington hotel special offers that will provide attractive discounts and plenty of freebies.
Universities: South Kensington is also the home of several well-known universities such as Imperial College London offering courses in the fields of science, business, medicine and engineering; the Royal College of Art that sets the standard for art and design colleges across the world; and the Royal College of Music which is a prominent conservatory, training musicians and composers in the study of classical music.
Parks: South Kensington is embellished with two royal parks, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens that offer lush green spaces for relaxation and for indulging in various leisure activities and sightseeing of their attractions such as the Serpentine Galleries, the Italian Gardens, the Diana Memorial Playground, the Kensington Palace and the Speakers’ Corner.