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August MAGAZINE

London Calling: August’s Guide to the Borough of South Kensington

Affectionately known to locals as ‘South Ken’, this sophisticated West London enclave proves that London's heart extends beyond its tourist centre. Home to many of the city’s finest galleries and museums alongside favourite attractions including Hyde Park and the Royal Albert Hall, the leafy borough is also a cultural gem. Rich in architectural splendour and with a strong community feel, SW7 offers a balanced blend of British culture, local vibes, and the fast-paced London lifestyle - all within an hour’s drive from the city’s six major airports.

Find out how the August team would spend a weekend in one of our Pied à Terre Collection homes by reading our guide below. 

What to do in South Kensington

For nature enthusiasts…

While Hyde Park - one of London’s most iconic green spaces - is just moments away, for a quiet interlude, August recommends venturing to Kyoto Garden in Holland Park instead. Tucked away behind majestic gates, this secret, Japanese-inspired space offers a serene retreat from the city's hectic pace. The lush greenery, koi ponds, and vibrant blossoms create an enchanting atmosphere that feels worlds away from London town. To accompany your morning stroll, grab a flat white, herbal tea or matcha latte from TEASE, a trendy wellness bar and coffee shop on Harrington Road. 

For culture seekers…

South Kensington is a cultural hub, housing some of the capital’s most popular institutions. An enriching way to spend the afternoon, The Victoria and Albert Museum showcases a diverse collection of art and design spanning centuries past, with a programme of ever-changing exhibits covering topics such as popular culture and fashion. Another iconic landmark dating back to 1881, The Natural History Museum takes visitors on a journey through 4.6 billion years of our planet’s history, with endless interactive exhibitions focussing on nature, biology and the ecosystem, well-suited for those visiting with children.

Where to dine

Like a local…

One of our favourite seafood spots, Wright Bros restaurant is a local eatery nestled between the townhouses of Old Brompton Road. Family owned by fishmonger brothers Ben and Robin, its menu of decadent oysters, and fish-oriented small plates is served by a warm, welcoming team and accompanied by memorable cocktails such as the Half Shell Martini. Another team favourite is Daphne’s, a timeless Italian restaurant founded in 1964 which serves decadent plates of fresh pasta, classic grilled meats and fish, and plates of antipasti ideal for sharing.  

Elsewhere, Elysian Street, a self-proclaimed neighbourhood combines classic, European cooking with a lightness of touch. While boasting a coveted Michelin star, its atmosphere is anything but stuffy, with a choice of tasting, a la carte or early evening menu catering to any occasion. 

For an even more English experience, head to one of South Kensington’s finest British pubs for a lazy afternoon. The Angelsea Arms or the Duke of Clarence are our picks for classic home cooking, live sport, local ales and a hearty Sunday roast. 

World cuisine…

While the area’s local eateries offer timeless appeal, there is no shortage of cuisines on offer across the borough. Head to cosy Italian, Cacciari’s, for an intimate dinner; Cinquecento for pizza with friends; or Thali for authentic, North Indian cuisine. 

For a special celebration, foodies should look to reserve a table at Claude Bosi at Bibendum well in advance. Its French, two-Michelin starred menu draws visitors from far and wide, while its all-day oyster bar is perfect for an upmarket lunch. 

Where to shop in South Kensington

Brands and boutiques…

Between neat rows of Victorian white terraces, an abundance of luxury brands, jewellery boutiques, florists and homeware emporiums find home in the shopping haven of Brompton Cross. A vibrant crossroads, an afternoon can easily be spent strolling its streets, dipping in and out of your favourite designer stores, coffee shops and galleries, before enjoying a well-earned massage at London’s very own Bamford Spa, a wellness emporium hailing from the English countryside. 

London’s Grand Dame, the legendary Harrods department store, also rests just a few blocks away, a must-visit for those discovering the area for the very first time. 

Weekend wonders…

For a more eclectic experience, head to Bute Street on Saturday morning for South Kensington Farmers' Market which runs from 9am-2pm. Aspiring chefs, farmers and artisans come together to showcase the finest produce from across the UK. Browse the stalls and curate an irresistible selection of ingredients before heading back home to cook you and your loved ones a delicious, seasonal brunch. 

Later, take a trip to Christie's, the world’s oldest art auctioneer and a South Kensington fixture for over 40 years. Open to the public seven days a week, the showroom has a museum-like feel, with a treasure trove of fine jewellery, ancient books and flamboyant furniture waiting to be discovered. 

What to pack

The moment you arrive in London, the pace of the city takes hold so it’s essential to pack an adventurous spirit… and an umbrella. Whether visiting for a whimsical weekend or lingering a little longer, essentials include stylish layers, comfortable walking shoes and a camera to capture the iconic scenes.

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