Five Things to do in Kensington, London
Of all of the boroughs to be placed in for study abroad, I was blessed to end up in Kensington.
The Royal Borough of Kensington is known as a posh, expensive neighborhood in the city of London. I had admired Kensington for years, watching the beautiful British architecture and winding streets in my favorite rom coms. Kensington has also been home to British royalty for centuries, but became my home during the spring of 2018. I quickly fell in love with my little neighborhood because there was beauty everywhere I turned. Even my walk to class felt like a scene from a movie or a page ripped out of a story book.
Here are five of my favorite things to do in this beautiful borough of London:
Visit Kensington Palace
While you’re in their neck of the woods, you have to say hello to William and Kate! Even though royalty still resides here, the public can visit part of the palace that is set up as a museum. The museum has rotating exhibits that are about the history of the royal family. Currently, Kensington Palace has Diana: Her Fashion Story on display. Museum curators have complied some of Princess Diana’s most famous dresses to display. Together they tell her story through fashion and it is a must see if you’re a fashionista like me!
Want to have high tea just like the royals? Stop by The Orangery inside the palace for high tea. High tea is such a fun thing to do with friends in the afternoon! Think: afternoon snack on steroids.
2. Stroll Down the Side Streets
If you couldn’t tell from my pictures in the beginning of the post, Kensington is beyond beautiful. Everywhere you turn there are cute little houses, cherry blossom trees, and wrought iron fences. After class, I loved going for little walks around my neighborhood to snap some pictures and relax. One of my favorite things to explore in the Kensington streets were ‘mews’. A mews is basically an old horse stable or courtyard and it is something that we don’t really have in America. The London mews made for some amazing pictures.
3. Picnic in Kensington Gardens
Some of my favorite memories from London took place in Kensington Gardens. Staying fit is very important to me, but there was no way I was spending London prices to join a gym while I was abroad. I took up running, mainly because it was free! I loved going to runs in Kensington Gardens. I would run around Round Pond, that was filled with swans and other really cool looking birds, and all throughout the park. I loved seeing all of the dogs out for their morning walks and playing fetch with their owners.
One of my most favorite memories in Kensington Gardens was at the end of my stay. London hit record high temperatures and my friends and I took to the park to get some sun and picnic. I think the rest of the city of London had the same idea because the gardens were packed! Everyone was so cheery and enjoying the weather. While you’re visiting Kensington, grab a take away lunch and hit the park. If you are lucky, the ice cream truck will be there. Get the soft serve vanilla with the Flake candy bar sticking out the side, it’s delicious.
4. Hang Out in a Local Pub
Pubs are an essential part of British culture. They are the designated meeting place for Londoners and there is one on every street corner. I loved meeting my friends here for a drink after class to catch up on our days and watch a rugby or football game. I followed the Seven Nations Rugby Tournament while I was in London and every game I watched in my local pub with cheering fans. There is just something comforting about your local pub. Good times, good food, good drinks.
While wandering around Kensington, make a pit stop in the local pub for the British tradition of pub lunch. Locals stop here to have their favorites, like fish and chips or banger and mash.
5. Spend the Day on Exhibition Row
Kensington is home to two of London’s best museums, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Natural History Museum. The V&A focuses on decorative arts and the Natural History Museum focuses more on history and science. These museums are conveniently located next to each other and are free of charge (just like the rest of the museums in London)! Both were a quick walk from my dorm room and since they were free, I often found myself wandering over there often. In a matter of four months, I probably stumbled through the V&A around a dozen times. My favorite parts were the extensive jewelry collection and historical fashion collection at the V&A. Some of my favorite fashion classes in college were the historical ones and I loved reading the labels to see where the pieces were from.
These museums are HUGE and are so easy to get lost in! If you plan on trying to tackle both in one day, make sure you watch the clock so you don’t get carried away.
Writing this post has made me miss London so much! If you are visiting London soon, I seriously envy you! There are not enough words to describe how much I love London, especially Kensington. I long to go back super soon!