The Natural History Museum

Uncover the Hidden Gems and Secret Things to Do in Kensington: The Local’s Guide

Kensington is a historic neighbourhood in London known for its world-famous museums and royal palace. But beyond these main tourist attractions lies a vibrant area full of hidden things to do in Kensington – you just need a local to uncover all the secret spots!
This insider’s guide takes you off the beaten path to discover the hidden gems of Kensington’s shops, architecture, gardens, music venues and more. Read on to explore this neighbourhood’s secrets like a local.

Meet Kensington’s Beloved Quirky Characters

Beyond its landmarks, Kensington’s is defined by some beloved local legends who give the area its quirky charm. Cheesemonger Chris the Cheese Man, for example, has run his stall at Kensington Market for over 20 years, supplying artisanal cheeses and fun facts.

How Kensington’s Evolved Over the Centuries

Kensington has transformed over various eras:

  • 1600s: A small village outside London
  • 1700s: Georgians built stately terraces for respite from the city
  • 1800s: Victoria era brought museums, shops and libraries
  • Today: A hub of arts and culture with intimate neighbourhood flair

Kensington’s Hidden Architectural Gems

Beyond the well-known buildings, Kensington hides architectural gems like:

  • Leighton House Museum: Arab Hall with ornate Islamic tiles
  • 18 Stafford Terrace: Elaborate Victorian townhouse
  • St Mary Abbots Church: 700 year old parish with Gothic details
  • Albert Court: U-shaped Victorian complex with iron balconies

Wander Through Kensington’s Secret Gardens

Kensington has gorgeous green spaces perfect for wondering:

Kensington Gardens – Don’t miss the sunken “Secret Garden” and fountains.
Holland Park – Peacocks roam the grounds by the serene Kyoto Garden.
Kensington Roof Gardens – An oasis three stories above the street that has, unfortunately, been recently closed down.

Trendy Vintage & Boutique Shops

Beyond the chains, Kensington has unique independent shops, such as:
Rellik – Chic recycled and vintage clothing curated by a designer.

Underrated Museums to Explore

Lesser-known niche museums in Kensington include:

The Sewing Machine Museum – Over 200 Victorian-era machines.
The Royal Air Force Museum – Vintage planes and WWII pilot stories.

Find the Cosy Local Music Venues

Intimate pub in Kensington host live music events:
The Troubadour – The legendary coffeehouse that hosted Bob Dylan himself.

Kensington’s Hidden Food & Drink Gems

Beyond the well-known spots, hidden food and drink gems include:

Lisboa Patisserie – Charming cafe with delicious custard tarts.
Queen’s Arms – Relaxed local hangout with seasonal fare.
Min Jiang – Elegant Chinese cuisine in a sophisticated setting.

Insider Tips to Uncover the Main Attractions’ Hidden Corners

Even at Kensington’s top attractions, hidden corners exist for locals:

Kensington Palace – Find the sunken garden oasis and King’s Staircase guarded by carved figures.
Natural History Museum – Escape the crowds in the genetics “Who Am I?” gallery.

Use this local’s guide to uncover the hidden gems, secret things to do, and insider spots beyond Kensington’s tourist attractions. And if you ever wondered where it is best to stay to be close to all that Kensington has to offer – explore our Kensington Serviced Apartments and experience this vibrant area like a Londoner!

clock icon November 30, 2023
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