Kensington is west of Hyde Park, in The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Kensington’s northern border is Notting Hill; Brompton and Knightsbridge are to the east, Chelsea and Earl’s Court to the south and Hammersmith and Shepherd’s Bush to the west.
HISTORY OF KENSINGTON
Kensington originated from Saxon settlements and was first mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086, The Manor of Kensington was granted by William I to Geoffrey de Montbray or Mowbray, Bishop of Coutances, who was part of his inner circle of advisers as well as one of the wealthiest men in post-conquest England. It remained a village until 1689 when William III purchased Nottingham House, a Jacobean mansion built around 1605. William instructed Sir Christopher Wren to improve the house immediately. Today it is know as Kensington Palace where the royal family still reside. Queen Victoria was born in the Palace in 1819 and resided there until her accession to the throne in 1837.
With Queen Victoria’s blessing, the title “Royal Borough” was given to Kensington in 1901, after her death. The Princess of Wales who lived at Apartment 8 Kensington Palace from when she was married in 1981 until her death in 1997. Kensington Palace is currently the official residence of the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke and Duchess of Kent, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent and now, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
PROPERTY IN KENSINGTON
Much of Kensington was built in the Victorian era as well as a number of imposing Edwardian mansion blocks. There is a wide variety of property on offer including mansion flats, town houses and detached villas. Kensington is home to some of central London’s most impressive mansion blocks, which can be found on and near to Campden Hill, notably stunning red brick mansion block Campden Hill Court. Campden Hill Gate, as well as Duchess of Bedford House and Academy Gardens, all on Duchess of Bedford’s Walk. Also at the top of Campden Hill is the architecturally striking Observatory gardens. One of the most sought after addresses to buy a town house in Kensington is in Kensington Square with great variety and conveniently positioned directly behind Kensington High Street. Smaller houses can be found in and around Campden Street and Kensington Church Street.
The Phillimore Estate is very popular for town houses, which is quietly tucked away to the north of Kensington High Street. The area is also home to the very private Kensington Palace Gardens, which is one of the most expensive streets in the world, also home to to a number of embassies.
LIVING IN KENSINGTON
Kensington High Street forms the commercial centre of the area and was declared London’s second best shopping street in February 2005 thanks to it’s variety and number of shops. The imposing Barkers department store sits at the top of the High street, opposite Kensington Church Street which is famous for it’s extensive collection of antique shops. New addition Whole Foods store is very popular with foodies and is nicknamed ‘America’s healthiest grocery store’. Head to Kensington Roof Gardens, Sir Richard Branson’s restaurant and nightclub over the sixth and seventh floors, complete with pink flamingos on the terraces. Kensington residents benefit from two Royal Parks, the beautiful Kensington Gardens, with the famous Albert Memorial, and Hyde Park, not forgetting neighbouring Holland Park as well. Kensington remains today as one of London’s most sought after boroughs to live in.
SCHOOLS IN KENSINGTON
Excellent for private schools, the best being: Thomas’s, and Hawkesdown House.