Best 10 Things To Do in Kensington and Chelsea

Our top picks for the best things to do when visiting the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in London including top shops and areas for shopping; unmissable museums; stimulating art galleries; must visit tourist attractions; and the best restaurants and bars for dinner and drinks.

From shopping to partying, sightseeing to live music, Kensington and neighbouring Chelsea are two areas to visit in London with plenty to keep you entertained. These are our top ten things to do in Kensington and Chelsea.

10. Watch Chelsea FC play a match at Stamford Bridge

Although Stamford Bridge is technically in Fulham going to see Chelsea Football Club play at their home stadium still makes our list of the best things to do in Kensington and Chelsea.

The blues may not have the newest or best stadium in London but they do have some of the best players in the World so if you want to see Hazard and co play, or just get a glimpse of the famous Chelsea pensioners, a trip to watch the footie is well worth it.

9. Take a walk in Holland Park, Kyoto Garden, the Chelsea Physic Garden

London is more known as being overcrowded with the hustle and bustle of commerce than for its green spaces despite nearly 40% of the UK’s capital being made up of public green space.

Although Hyde Park, the 4th biggest park in London and home to the Princess Diana memorial, borders Kensington and Chelsea it is the smaller parks we recommend for a relaxing stroll.

Holland Park is our favourite because of the beautifully maintained formal gardens; Japanese themed Kyoto Garden; and of course, the resident peacocks.

Tucked away next to the river Thames is the Chelsea Physic Garden which is the oldest botanic garden in London. If you have a couple of hours to spare it is the perfect place to grab a coffee and explore. You can always take a stroll along Chelsea embankment afterwards too for an amazing view of the old Battersea power station whose exterior is one of the most iconic examples of modernist architecture in the world.

8. Visit an event at Kensington Olympia

For more than 130 years Kensington Olympia has played host to some of the biggest and most popular events taking place anywhere in London.

With more than 200 events held each year encompassing concerts, expos, fairs, symposiums, sports events, and fashion shows, you can expect to find an event you will love at Kensington Olympia whatever your interests.

7. Browse the antiques market at Portobello Road one Saturday or the many antiques shops on Kensington Church Street

With so many grand houses and rich residents in Kensington and Chelsea it is no surprise that it has many antique shops and a very famous antiques market. If you are look for something lovely for your home as a souvenir from your trip to London, or you just want to window shop then browsing the arts and antiques they offer can be worthwhile pass time and either very expensive or very cheap depending on what, if anything, you buy.

The Portobello Road plays host to a famous antiques market every Saturday and a great place to haggle and pick up a bargain. Remember the magic book from Bed Knobs & Broomsticks? That was for sale at Portobello antiques market.

Kensington Church Street, which runs parallel to the west side of Hyde Park is nearby and is one of London's most well known streets for antique and art shops. It is a fascinating street to stroll along being home to more than twenty of such shops.

6. Learn why it is called the royal borough by visiting Wills and Kate at Kensington Palace

Kensington and Chelsea is one of the most desirable districts to live in anywhere in London. So much so that even two of the richest and most famous royals, Wills and Kate (or the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as they are also known), live in Kensington’s very own palace, Kensington Palace.

The gardens and parts of the palace are open to the public and host regular events, such as an annual Easter egg hunt.

If you are interested in the British Royal Family, or just want to see some of the most lavish interior decorating imaginable, then it should be on high your bucket list of Royal palaces to visit. The memorial to Princess Diana is also nearby at the north west corner of Hyde Park.

5. Enjoy a classical music concert at the Royal Albert Hall or at Cadogan Hall

The Royal Albert Hall is one of the most iconic music venues in the world. It may not be as well-known as the O2 to pop fans, but it is known as one of the finest concert halls in terms of history and acoustics.

Every Brit will be familiar with the Royal Albert Hall due to it hosting the evening Proms concerts - a cultural institution of 8 weeks of classical musical concerts performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra every summer.

The lesser known Cardogan Hall, which is also in Kensington and Chelsea is the official home of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and the venue to catch the smaller daily Proms’ concerts.

4. Visit the Chelsea Flower Show

If you are a keen gardener or just like socialising in stunning gardens with the cream of London society over a glass of Champagne and some fab food, then the Chelsea Flower Show should be in your calendar.

This quintessentially British event which was first held in 1912 offers a unique and unforgettable experience. The gardens at the Chelsea Flower Show, created by some of the World’s most eminent horticulturalists, are simply inspirational but there is plenty more to excite you each year than just flowers.

3. Go shopping at Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Duke of York Square, and along the King’s Road

If your religion is shopping there are certainly a few destinations in Kensington and Chelsea that you need to make a pilgrimage too.

For those with a passion for fashion then you will already know all about Chelsea’s famous King’s Road which became the symbolic epicentre of mod culture in the 1960s and the same for both hippy and punk rock cultures in the 1970s.

Knightsbridge is well known to those that live the "Ab Fab" lifestyle with Harvery Nicholls (or Harvey Nics) being a frequent shopping destination for the iconic Patsy played by Joanna Lumley.

Harrods is another Knightsbridge store loved by fashionistas but it is also the place in London you can buy almost anything imaginable which is why it attracts up to 300,000 visitors a day. Their Latin motto, “Omnia Omnibus Ubique” (meaning “all things for all people”) is certainly apt thanks to the 20+ restaurants it houses and the hundreds of thousands of products on sale.

Another notable shopping area is Duke of York Square.

2. Take in the nightlife at some of the best restaurants, bars, pubs, and nightclubs anywhere in London

No matter what your favourite cuisine is you will find a fine restaurant serving that cuisine in Kensington and Chelsea. Some of the best restaurants in London are housed in the district.

For traditional British dishes including the iconic roast beef Hawksmoor Knightsbridge is the place to head to whilst for modern British The Five Fields is a great choice.

For French cuisine Restaurant Gordon Ramsay is the flagship Gordon Ramsay restaurant and boasts three Michelin stars whilst Gordon Ramsay’s nearby Petrus is also highly recommended.

For high-end modern Japanese food consider heading to Zuma in Knightsbridge.

If you want to continue your evening after a slap-up meal you will be delighted to hear Kensington and Chelsea also has plenty of high-end bars and nightclubs to enjoy too.

Although former royal haunts like Boujis have closed, and Kensington Roof Gardens no longer host club nights, venues like Raffles, Tonteria, Mahiki Kensington, and the newly opened Jako mean that Kensington and Chelsea is still an awesome high-end clubbing destination for cocktails, champagne, and dancing.

1. Visit the best museums and art galleries in Kensington and Chelsea

Kensington and Chelsea is arguably the best area of London to visit for museums and art galleries. Many of the biggest and best museums are also free making them the perfect centre piece of a family day out.

The Science Museum is one of the greatest free museums for families with lots of exhibits for kids to interact with. All aspects of science and technology are covered including everything from a 10,000-year-old clock to the latest digital technology.

The Natural History Museum is another free museum and great for those in to nature and biology. Exhibits such as the blue whale skeleton and tyrannosaurus rex are unforgettable. In the winter months the museum has its own ice rink so get your skates on and go and visit.

The V&A (Victoria and Albert Museum), again a free museum, focuses on decorative arts and design. Recent and celebrated exhibitions include those dedicated to Vivienne Westwood’s influence on fashion; and the pop culture influence of David Bowie. The permanent collection includes exhibits focusing on topics as diverse as architecture, theatre and performance, fashion and footwear, photography, jewellery, furniture, and even wallpaper.

The Design Museum is yet another free museum and again focused on design. It is a must visit destination for anyone who is interested in either design; the psychology of why everyday items are designed the way they are; or the lives of some of the incredible designers and inventors that have literally shaped our world with the thoughts and decisions behind their products.

Other museums and galleries in Kensington and Chelsea worth mentioning are The National Army Museum, The Serpentine Gallery, and The Museum of Contemporary Art for London (formerly the Saatchi Gallery).

If you have visited Kensington recently and had a great time visiting somewhere or doing something, we would love to hear about what you did and where you did. Browse our London blog for more ideas of things to do in the Kensington area.

For help choosing a hotel in Kensington or a hotel in Chelsea browse our London guide or London blog.

Best 10 Things To Do in Kensington and Chelsea Map

Last updated on 10/04/2019, 01:17

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