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Kensington is one of my favourite neighbourhoods in London! There are so many things to do in Kensington that you can easily spend an entire day there without visiting any other neighbourhood or sight in London!
There are a lot more than 15 things to do in Kensington, but these are my favourite 15 activities that I think you should check out while in London.
One of my favourite parts of the Kensington neighbourhood in London is that most of the main attractions are free! It is a great area to visit in London if you’re on a pretty tight budget.
It is also home to some of the coolest hotels in London!
Even if you don’t stay in Kensington, it is fun to stop into some of the hotels for a cup of tea just to experience the chic, fun vibes they have.
1. The Science Museum
The Science Museum is one of many London museums that is free to visit. It is located along Exhibition Road, which is one of the main roads in Kensington.
The Science Museum is huge and has a number of different exhibits geared towards both children and adults, so it is perfect for the entire family!
There is an interactive lab where children can participate in hands-on learning and watch science experiments performed by staff and volunteers.
The medicine gallery is the newest addition to the Science Museum and is home to one of the most incredible collection of medical history and devices. It includes the world’s first MRI machine and Fleming’s penicillin mould.
The exhibition has artifacts covering 500 years of medical history and is a dream come true for any aspiring medical student!
The museum also has a number of short-term exhibitions that rotate multiple times per year. These exhibitions cover a range of different science-related topics ranging from robotics to cyber security to dark matter and more!
The special exhibitions are free to enter, but due to their popularity, you normally have to reserve a time slot to visit the exhibition in advance.
Finally, the Science Museum has an IMAX theatre. These are short 40-minute films shown on a huge scream, and the cinematography often makes you feel like you’re moving along with the camera.
There is a fee to watch the movies, and you can purchase your tickets at the Science Museum.
The Science Museum is one of the more popular things to do in Kensington, but it is by no means the most popularIt is rarely packed inside the museum. You can enjoy your visit without too many crowds.
2. The Albert Memorial
The Albert Memorial is on the outer rim of Kensington Gardens and is an enormous statue of Prince Albert. Prince Albert was Queen Victoria’s beloved husband who passed away in 1861.
Queen Victoria erected the memorial in honour of Albert in 1872, and it was completed in 1876 when Albert’s statue was placed on the memorial’s throne. Queen Victoria convinced the government to pay for the memorial, and the project was approved in 1863.
It took over a decade for the Albert Memorial to be completed from start to finish!
The Albert Memorial is free to visit and is personally one of my favourite things to do in Kensington! I make sure to walk past it at least once every time I’m in London.
3. 18 Stafford Terrace
This is the perfect thing to do in Kensington for anybody interested in the Victorian era. You tour a Victorian house owned by the Sambourne family. Mr. Sambourne was a cartoonist and wealthy man during the 19th Century.
Stafford Terrace is an example of what was known as the Aesthetic Interior trend. This trend focused on having “exotic” items in the house. Stafford Terrace features items from Japan, China, and the Middle East.
Stafford Terrace was preserved by the Sambourne family descendants and was opened to the public in 1980. In 1989 ownership of Stafford Terrace was passed to Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, and they have remained the owners of the house since that time.
18 Stafford Terrace is open to the public on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 2pm to 5:30pm. Admission is £9 for adults and £7 for concession tickets.
You do not need to book your tour in advance.
Stafford Terrace is one of the more unique things to do in Kensington, and it is worth planning your visit to Kensington around their opening times, so you can experience it!
4. Kensington Palace
Kensington Palace is one of my absolute favourite things to do in Kensington! It is the birthplace and childhood home of Queen Victoria. It is also home to a number of royal family members, but you’re not able to get anywhere near their homes.
You get to see Queen Victoria’s childhood rooms, the King’s State Apartments, and the Sunken Gardens at Kensington Palace.
It takes a few hours to see everything Kensington Palace has to offer, so you’ll want to make sure you schedule enough time at the palace. You don’t want to be rushed a miss out on anything!
Kensington Palace is open every day from 10am to 4pm.
Tickets cost £17.50 for adults and £8.70 for children. You can book your tickets online in advance to save a little bit of money.
In addition to saving a little bit of money, you get an entrance time when you purchase your tickets in advance. This allows you to skip the queue and enter Kensington Palace as soon as you arrive! This will save you a lot of time in the ticket queue- especially during peak tourist season.
If you only have time to do a few things in Kensington and are a royal fan, I would highly recommend you make the time to visit Kensington Palace. You’ll have an amazing time!
5. Holland Park
Holland Park is one of my favourite parks in all of London. It isn’t as popular as the more famous parks like Hyde Park and Regent’s Park, and that’s one of the reasons I love it.
Holland Park tends to be quieter than the more famous London parks and tends to attract more locals than tourists. It is quiet and peaceful, which makes it one of the more relaxing things to do in Kensington.
Holland Park features a Japanese garden, peacocks, and lots of picnic areas. There are always a lot of locals walking their dogs, so if you’re looking to pet some pups while in London, this is the place for you!
Holland Park is open every day from 7am to dawn.
6. Kensington Gardens
Kensington Gardens is located right outside of Kensington Palace is one of eight royal parks in London.
You’re not allowed to bike in royal parks. If you’ve rented a bike and are biking through central London, you’ll have to park your bike somewhere else and walk through Kensington Gardens.
There are countless things to do in Kensington Gardens that it almost feels overwhelming. You can very easily spend a few hours strolling through the park and still not see everything it has to offer.
There are maps of Kensington Gardens at every entrance. I recommend you spend some time looking at the map and deciding what sights are most important to you.
The Serpentine Galleries and Peter Pan statue are two of the most popular things to do in Kensington Gardens, and you’ll probably want to visit them.
The Diana Playground is a popular area for children to blow off some energy. It features a giant pirate ship along with a number of other playground staples. It is the perfect place for anybody travelling with children.
Kensington Gardens is open from 6am to dusk every day of the year. It closes earlier than other parks in the area, so you’ll want to keep that in mind when planning your trip to Kensington.
Some of the prettiest streets in all of London surround Kensington Gardens so be sure to take some time and wander around admire the gorgeous architecture.
7. Hyde Park
Hyde Park is one of the most famous parks in London and one of the most popular things to do in Kensington.
It is always busy with both locals and tourists, but it is so large that it rarely feels crowded. Unless you’ve visiting on a gloriously sunny weekend day in the summer. Then it will be absolutely packed!
Hyde Park has a lot of history and is probably best known for the Speaker’s Corner where people like George Orwell would speak publicly and try to convert the masses to their political way of thinking.
Serpentine Lake is in the middle of Hyde Park and divides the park into two halves. It is probably the most popular and busiest part of Hyde Park. There are cafes, benches, and you’re able to take a paddle boat out onto the lake.
One of my favourite things to do in Hyde Park is rent a bike and cycle around the park. It is quite relaxing and allows you to see all of the park easily. You just need to be careful not to accidentally cycle into Kensington Gardens.
8. Royal Albert Hall
The Royal Albert Hall is one of the most famous music and entertainment venues not only in London but in the entire world.
It hosts concerts, Cirque du Soleil, stand-up comics, and more. The Royal Albert Hall has also hosted a number of the Royal Variety Shows, so it is a very prestigious venue to perform at!
In additional to attending a performance, you can also take a guided tour of the Royal Albert Hall. Guided tours take place nearly every day and last 60 minutes.
Tickets can be purchased online in advance, and you select a time slot for your tour when you purchase your tickets. Tickets cost £14.25 for adults and £7.25 for children. Concession tickets are £12.25.
The tour begins at the cafe located at door 12.
The Royal Albert Hall is a bit on the pricey side, but it is a music lover’s dream. If you only have the budget to do one paid thing in Kensington, I would suggest visiting Kensington Palace.
However, if your budget allows, the Royal Albert Hall is would be one of the paid things to do in Kensington that I would recommend.
9. The Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum is another one of London’s amazing free museums! It is located right on Cromwell Road, which is the main road running through the Kensington neighbourhood.
The Natural History Museum has a number of permanent exhibits including a dinosaur exhibit, an evolution exhibit, a human anatomy exhibit, and much, much more.
There are also a number of temporary, rotating exhibitions that come to the Natural History Museum. They are normally only there for a few months, so you might want to check their website rel=”nofollow” to see what is on before you go.
You normally have to pay to visit the temporary exhibits, and they can be quite expensive to visit. However, the temporary exhibits are phenomenal, and if it is a subject matter you’re interested in, it is well worth the price of admission.
The museum is open every day from 10am to 5:50pm, and the last entrance is at 5:30pm.
There are often a number of school groups touring the museum during the day, and it can get quite crowded and congested. It is still well worth visiting, but it is something you’ll want to keep in mind when planning your visit.
10. Kensington Church Street
Kensington Church Street is not a street full of churches but, rather, a street full of shops.
It is best known for its art and antique shops, and it is very easy to lose track of time exploring all the shops and finding goodies to bring home with you! The street dates back to the 1700s, so the architecture and buildings are beautiful and worth admiring.
The street is located just behind Kensington Palace and is pretty easy to find. You’ll know it when yo see it!
This is one of the best things to do in Kensington in the afternoon when the rest of the tourist attractions are packed with people. It is a nice break from museums, history, and parks.
11. The Churchill Arms
The Churchill Arms is a very famous pub in Kensington Church Street. It is recognizable from the colourful flowers growing up the outside of the pub.
The inside of the pub is home to a collection of Winston Churchill memorabilia- hence the name.
This is definitely the place to stop in for a pint while shopping on Kensington Church Street and exploring everything the Kensington neighbourhood has to offer!
The pub also features a full menu. The menu is made of completely of Thai food, so it has lots of options for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike!
The Churchill Arms is also one of the most Instagrammable places in London so be sure to have your camera ready!
12. Shop at Harrods
Harrods is one of the most iconic and famous department stores in the world. It is on a lot of tourists’ list of sights to see and is one of the most popular things to do in Kensington.
On any given day up to 300,000 people visit Harrods, and there are 330 different departments. Harrods is a gigantic store!
It is a multi-level department store that sells everything from home decor to makeup to clothes to tourist souvenirs. It really has it all!
A lot of people are surprised about how high-end the goods at Harrods are. Most of the things they sell are more expensive than what the average person can afford.
Take the stairs or escalator up to the second floor were you’ll find the Harrods gift shop and all the tourist souvenirs and Harrods-branded items.
Even if you only spend a few minutes in Harrods just to see what the fuss is about, it is worth stopping by. It is a lot of fun wandering through all the unique and expensive things they sell.
13. Leighton House Museum
Leighton House Museum is an art gallery housed in the former home of Victorian artist Lord Frederic Leighton. It is located just outside Holland Park near High Kensington Street.
The museum has a large collection of paintings by Victorian artists including 81 of Lord Leighton’s oil paintings. The rooms inside the museums are basically pieces of art as well so be sure to leave time to admire the interior design of each room.
Leighton House Museum is only open on Saturday and Sunday, and the hours of operation are 10am to 5:30pm.
Tickets are £9 for adults and £7 for a concession ticket. You cannot purchase tickets in advance, so you have to purchase your ticket at the door when you arrive at the museum.
This is one of the lesser known things to do in Kensington, but it should be on your radar. This is an especially fun attraction for anybody who loves art or the Victorian era.
14. Victoria and Albert Museum
The Victoria and Albert Museum is my favourite museum in the Kensington neighbourhood! It is the world’s leading museum that focuses on art and design.
The Victoria and Albert Museum has a wide variety and range of exhibitions that cover centuries of art and design. There is a large section on Queen Victoria and Prince Albert (not really a surprise). But there are also exhibits on fashion, furniture, paintings, theatre, and more.
The museum has a number of rotating, temporary exhibits as well. The temporary exhibits range greatly in what is featured. They can be anything from wedding dresses to cars and anything in between!
The permanent exhibits are free to visit, but there is a fee for many of the temporary exhibits. The entrance fee varies depending on the exhibit, and tickets can be purchased online in advanced or at the museum.
You can easily spend three or four hours at the Victoria and Albert Museum, and it is by far the largest museum in the Kensington neighbourhood.
It is open every day from 10am to 5:45pm and on Fridays it stays open until 8pm.
This is one of the most popular things to do in Kensington, so it is often quite busy. It isn’t as busy with school children as the Natural History Museum, but it gets crowded with tourists.
15. Indulge in High Tea
What is more British than going for high tea in London? The clotted cream and scones are to die for!
There are tons of places to go for high tea in the Kensington neighbourhood. It is a nice neighbourhood with an mid- to upper-class population, so there are a number of restaurants that offer a high tea service throughout the week.
You can find a restaurant serving high tea at a number of different price points. It isn’t uncommon for high tea to cost £30 per person, so it definitely isn’t always an inexpensive experience. Of course, there are places that serve high tea for less than £30.
High tea comes with tea, scones, finger sandwiches, and sweets like cakes. It is a lot of food, and you always leave feeling full.
So even if it does cost more than your average meal out, it will be well worth your money, and you’ll leave full and happy to have had a new experience.
One of my favourite places to have high tea in Kensington is at the Kensington Orangery. Not because it is superior to the rest of the restaurants in the area but because that is where I went for tea with my mom the first time I took her to London, and it holds a special memory for me.
The Kensington Orangery does accommodate vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free guests, so it is a great place to go if you have dietary restrictions. The restaurant is located just off to the side of Kensington Palace and is a great place to stop in for high tea after touring the palace.
Wherever you decide to go for tea, be sure to book reservations in advance. Most restaurants require you to have reservations in advance because they are booked to capacity and cannot accommodate any walk-up guests.
How to Get to the Kensington Neighbourhood
The Kensington neighbourhood is quite large, and there are number of different public transportation methods you can use that will drop you off in different parts of Kensington.
Nearby Underground Stations
There are a number of underground stations around the Kensington area. They include:
- Hyde Park Corner
- High Street Kensington
- Gloucester Road
- Sloane Square
- Holland Park
- South Kensington
I told you there were a lot of them!
Where you decide to get off depends greatly on what things you’re doing in Kensington and what underground lines are most convenient depending on where you’re staying.
I always like taking the path that requires the fewest transfers. They always seem to slow the process down. If a stop is within three or four blocks of where I’m going, I’ll happily get off and walk the rest of the way rather than transfer to a different underground line.
There are maps of the underground in each station, online, and you can even pick up a pocket map at any station. Having a map will come in useful when you’re planning your path to your next attraction.
If you are using an electronic map, be sure to download it to your phone, so you can access it even if you don’t have WiFi!
Pro tip: Don’t forget to use your Oyster card to save a little money on transportation!
There are countless bus routes throughout London. Kensington is in central London, so it is serviced by a number of different buses.
You can use Google Map to determine what bus you need to catch to get to Kensington or ask your hotel concierge or Airbnb host what bus you need.
There are so many things to do in Kensington that it is impossible to see everything the neighbourhood has to offer in just one day! Kensington has so many diverse things to do that no matter what you’re interests are, you’ll be able to find something you enjoy!
Kensington has a nice mixture of museums, history, nature, shopping, and dining. It is a popular neighbourhood amongst both tourists and locals.
I personally think a visit to Kensington (even if just for an afternoon) should be on everybody’s London itinerary.