We enjoyed a rare child-free weekend in Kensington this month, and absolutely loved exploring this pretty and peaceful corner of London. Perfect in the autumnal sunshine, and a great area to head for lots of leisurely wandering, coffee stops, markets and drooling over stunning London homes.
Here is how we spent our 48 hours of freedom in Kensington!
Location, location, location…
We stayed in the South Kensington area of London at the lovely Ibis Styles (Gloucester Road). This is a really nice area to stay in, for lots of reasons:
- It is really easy to travel both via the underground (with Gloucester Road tube station 2 minutes from the hotel) and via bus, with buses heading on to central London along the main road.
- It is a very pretty part of London, with beautiful wide streets to amble along, stunning properties, and a number of shopping areas, parks and iconic streets all within walking distance. Great as adults as it meant we could do lots of walking and exploring without having to worry about little legs getting tired!
- There are so many options for food and drink in this area, from quaint London pubs, steak houses and classy restaurants, to coffee shops, fast food eateries and bakeries. It has it all.
- The hotel itself was great and just what we were looking for. Easy to find, great staff (so friendly and helpful), quirky decor (which we loved), large room with TV, air con and a nice bathroom, all really well thought out and recently decorated, and a great breakfast (we really filled our boots at this!! Good for all that walking…)
How we spent our time in London…
- The highlight was, without doubt, a trip to the theatre to see Hamilton. I have wanted to see this for ages and it was AMAZING!!! I cannot recommend it highly enough. The cast were incredible and the story line (if you don’t know it) is truly fascinating. I would watch it again in a heartbeat. This is at the beautiful Victoria Palace Theatre, which was really easy to get to from our hotel via the tube, and is surrounded by food and drink options. You can find out more about Hamilton at the West End here.
- We headed to a brilliant cocktail bar after the show. Easy to get to on the tube, and surrounded by other bars and restaurants (so a great area generally), Mr Fogg’s Tavern in the Covent Garden area is a total feast for the senses. Amazing decoration both outside and inside, and an amazing drinks menu. Definitely one not to miss.
Kensington and Holland Park
- The October sunshine was being very kind to us so we spent one of the mornings soaking up the sun and wandering through Kensington and then Holland Park. We headed off on foot from our hotel, soaking up the beautiful streets of Kensington, the main shopping high street and then a long walk and stop for coffee in Holland Park, with its very cute Japanese garden. I would definitely recommend this area for a slow stroll; it is really pretty, very quiet and there is a lovely variety of architecture, parkland, shops and cafes.
Notting Hill and Portobello Market
- As iconic as they come, this is such a beautiful area to explore on foot. We walked here from Kensington, which was a really nice walk, taking in Holland Park and the surrounding streets. We just spent our time strolling the area and taking photos (I am slightly obsessed by photos!!). This was so lovely in the sunshine and just a gorgeous slow afternoon filled with pretty streets, a rainbow of colour and good coffee! We loved exploring the famous colourful houses of Notting Hill (top tips include heading for Saint Lukes Mews, Lancaster Road, Portobello Road, Elgin Crescent and Collie Terrace for streets full of colour).
- From here we spent time exploring Portobello Road, the quirky stalls and unique shops, and stopping for coffee and lunch. There is so much variety on offer in terms of food and drink here, from pubs and restaurants to bakeries and street food. It is such a bustling area and a great place to spend time just soaking it all up. We loved the coffee and baked goods at GAIL’s.