Kensington gained popularity in the late 17th-century when William III moved his residence from St. James’s to Kensington Palace. This in turn attracted wealthy nobles and aristocrats, and mansions and town-houses sprang up around the park.
The area gained another leap forward in 1851 when profits from the Great Exhibition were funnelled into three museums and the Royal Albert Hall.
Kensington Gardens is really just the western half of Hyde Park. Anything west of the Serpentine is royal territory.
When Queen Victoria’s husband died of typhoid in 1861, she asked Sir Gilbert Scott to design a statue for the park. The Albert Memorial measures 180-feet from tip to toe, and the Prince himself is three-times life-size. The whole thing is gilded-gold and surrounded by 169 marble figures from history.
Kensington Palace has been in use by royalty for several centuries, but is probably more famous these days for being the home of Diana, Princess of Wales.
Queen Victoria was the last monarch to be born and raised inside the grounds. She moved the monarch’s official London residence to Buckingham Palace soon after.
The Natural History Museum has 69 million specimens covering every aspect of life on Earth – from our prehistoric past to the modern day. As you enter the Dinosaur Hall you are greeted by the towering bones of Diplodocus – an 85-foot cast of its fossilised remains.
The Victoria & Albert Museum is London’s museum of art and design. Exhibits range from Persian carpets and Indian thrones, to costume jewellery and marble sculptures. The museum also houses a huge collection of 300,000 photographs.
The Science Museum is the third of the three major museums in the Kensington area. It covers pure and applied science (both old and new) with push-button displays and working exhibits.
The Royal Albert Hall is home to the world-famous Proms concerts. Concerts take place every night with international orchestras, famous soloists and conductors joining in with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. It is one of the highlights of the social calendar.
If you enjoy this then try: Natural History Museum (walk it in 18 mins or catch a train from High Street Kensington to Natural History Museum); Royal Albert Hall (walk it in 16 mins or catch a train from High Street Kensington to Royal Albert Hall); Science Museum (walk it in 18 mins or catch a train from High Street Kensington to Science Museum); South Kensington (walk it in 16 mins or catch a train from High Street Kensington to South Kensington) and Victoria & Albert Museum (walk it in 20 mins or catch a train from High Street Kensington to Victoria & Albert Museum).