The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea is an upmarket West London district. Popular with businesses and residents alike, it is a buzzing area of London, and very popular with both tourists and locals. It is set apart from Notting Hill in the North by Holland Park Avenue; to the West by the West London Railway line; to the South by Earls Court Road. Kensington Gardens provides a large expanse of parkland for the residents to enjoy, and includes gorgeous gardens as well as public buildings such as the Albert Memorial and the Serpentine Gallery. The area is a magnet for shoppers – Kensington High Street, in particular, houses many typically upmarket shops, and is one of London’s best shopping streets. Heading south, South Kensington’s majestic buildings include the Royal Albert Hall, the Royal College of Music, a multitude of international embassies, Kensington Palace, various world-renowned educational establishments, as well as three enormous museums: The Natural History Museum, The Science Museum, and the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Houses sell for tens of millions of pounds
Despite the apparent decline in the high street in recent years, Kensington High Street continues to flourish despite commanding premium rents. The street faces local competition from North Hammersmith’s Westfield Shopping Centre, and although not under cover or as concentrated, it offers charm and historical personality. South Kensington also houses several streets of small shops, providing an eclectic retail mix, largely serving the residential community as opposed to the tourist market. Culturally Kensington & Chelsea has it all – from museums to world-class music venues, there is something for everyone, and the main museums continue to provide free entry. Kensington Church Street has some amazing antique shops, selling furniture and antiquities that reflect the price of the houses in the area. Restaurants and bars are plentiful and varied, as are more traditional pubs. There is something for every taste and budget, with some venues in particular taking advantage of the locals’ wealth and standing to hike their prices and exclusivity accordingly. Kensington & Chelsea is close enough to Central London to be able to take advantage of all of the leisure opportunities within the City – and these can easily be accessed by either taxi or public transport.
Kensington & Chelsea is a great place to do business and has a community feel amongst businesses that make it their home. It is a popular place to work, as the post-work social life is good and varied, and the area is easily accessed by both car and public transport. The head office of newspaper group DMGT which produces the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and the Metro is located here. They reside in the same building as the Evgeny Lebedev-owned papers, which include the digital version of The Independent and The Independent on Sunday as well as the i publication and The Evening Standard. L’Oreal’s UK headquarters is based on Kensington Church Street, and has provided a magnet for other beauty and cosmetic companies which base themselves in the area. The Olympia exhibition hall is close by, just on the borders of West Kensington, and brings regular visitors in the thousands to the area.
Kensington & Chelsea is very densely populated and the Royal Borough is London’s most populated district. The housing stock is largely sub-divided large Georgian and Victorian terraced houses, as opposed to the high rise apartments which can be seen in other areas. Green spaces flank Kensington, with the public Kensington Gardens in its boundaries, and both Hyde Park and Holland Park close by. Many Kensington roads have small garden squares for the use of their residents. Kensington & Chelsea is, in general, a very affluent area – the more central and southern parts being particularly wealthy. North and West Kensington are slightly less so, and still contain social housing. Edwardes Square in Kensington is one of London’s most expensive streets; as is most of the Holland Park area – houses sell for tens of millions of pounds and are in short supply.
As with most central London districts, Kensington & Chelsea is well-served by London transport services, black cabs and cycle hire, colloquially known as Boris Bikes and sponsored by Santander.
Kensington & Chelsea is crossed east-west by three main roads, the most important of which is the A4, or Cromwell Road, which connects it to both Central London and Heathrow Airport. Kensington & Chelsea falls within the London Congestion Charge zone for cars, which have to pay the charge daily. Taxis are easily hailed on any of the main roads.
West Kensington is serviced by Kensington (Olympia). Confusingly, West Kensington station takes its name from the former boundaries with Hammersmith and is not in the Borough. West Brompton and Shepherd’s Bush stations also fall within the borough of Kensignton & Chelsea. Kensington & Chelsea is served by eleven nearby London Underground stations, including Notting Hill Gate, Sloane Square and Gloucester Road as well as others. Connections to London's railway terminals, Heathrow Airport and Central London are all well served from the borough.
A number of local bus services link Kensington & Chelsea into the surrounding districts, and key hubs are Kensington High Street and South Kensington station.
Well connected to Heathrow Airport via road, underground and rail.