After the huge success of Great Exhibition in 1851, Prince Albert’s vision was that South Kensington should become a home to the institutions for the arts and sciences. The result was the foundation of the V&A, the Science Museum, Imperial College – in fact South Kensington is the most densely populated area for arts and culture in the UK, if not Europe apparently.
As Christian Dior’s exhibition opens this month, we thought that we would share our culture favourites in the area. You may find you want to hang out here far more;
Breakfast in South Kensington
Pain Quotidien : A mixture of super healthy and it’s organic.
Carluccio : A firm favourite for a croissant and a coffee
Aubaign : French brasserie at Brompton Cross
Daylesford : New to the hood. Organic delights to eat in or to go.
V&A Cafe is hands down THE most beautiful museum cafe, and to top it all, it was the first museum to have a cafe. Benugo run it, with delicious coffee & cakes. I often buy them to go home and treat the family!
Brown & Rosie for a healthy style cafe, a few outside tables.
Muriels cafe : Delicious cakes!
Lunch in South Kensington
V&A: I know I mention this twice, but honestly delicious food, in the most beautiful setting. Get in early for lunch. Sit outside in the summer, or inside under the magic of the stunning Victorian interiors.
Comptoir Libanais : Small plate Lebanese food, a stones throw from the museums. Delicious.
Squirrel : Cute little hearty healthy cafe, where you can mix up your own salad, or enjoy a delicious bowl of soup, sit in the tree top style cafe. Big portions, good value if sharing.
Franca Manca is our favourite pizza hit. It’s small, so expect to queue
Doza : Great sushi. Always busy
Bibendum cafe, or Bibendum restaurant for ultra smart in the most beautiful Art Deco Michelin Building. I favour the cafe, inside or out.
Daphne’s – Good Italian food in a beautiful setting
CHUCS at the Serpentine. Great if you want a walk after your museum visit, and then go to the Serpentine Gallery afterwards.
Tea Time in South Kensington
The Kensington Hotel for their Landmark Tea. Quite the most divine themed tea for Londoners or visitors in one of my favourite places. If you feel like running tea into sundowners, their bar is the perfect place to do it!
Kensington Creperie : If crepes your thing, savoury or sweet, they deliver.
Humingbird Cafe : Cupcake heaven
Maitre Choux : Eclair heaven
Evenings in South Kensington
Friday Night Late‘s at the museum’s. The V&A lights up on the last Friday of each month. Catch DJ’s, talks, curated events. This will be one to watch during Dior.
Natural History Museum has movie nights with Luna cinema under Hope the Whale.
French Institute & Cine Lumiere : French film buff know about this gem, but did you. They run fantastic monthly series showcasing French films, but also Q&A’s.
V&A, Natural History Museum, Science Museum are all within walking distance from one another. Each one offers an incredible experience.
The V&A talks are up there as one of the BEST in London, usually after hours for an hour or sometimes 90mins. We genuinely cannot find any other museum who offers the same diversity talks as they do on creative arts. View listing here
The Royal Albert Hall. Take a daily tour, or a lunchtime concert, with lunch in their restaurant. Our favourite Behind the Scenes tour is linked.
The Serpentine Gallery. Located at the top of Exhibition Road.
The Royal Albert Hall. Take a daily tour, or a lunchtime concert with lunch in their restaurant. We’ve had some fabulous evenings here, and some concerts are really good value
The Serpentine Gallery. Located at the top of Exhibition Road, there are two galleries worth seeing along the roadside. The Serpentine Gallery and the Sackler Gallery (formally a storage space for gunpowder – they didn’t realise this until they started the refurbishment!) Both galleries showcase some really good exhibitions.
Sundowners in South Kensington
The Anglesea Arms : Always busy south side of South Kensington
The Zetland Arms : Great for Six Nations rugby if you are interested.
The Kensington Bar : Not a pub, just a beautiful, sophisticated and decadent space to enjoy a well made cocktail.
Shopping in South Kensington
Conran sit at the top of our list. It has everything you think you don’t need, yet you find a place for.
Museum shops for the alternative, creative gift supporting the free spaces of culture.
Fashion quarter in Brompton Cross, from Ba&sh to Chanel to Orlebar Brown.
Fresh Air in South Kensington
Walk up Exhibition Road to Kensington Gardens on your left with the Royal Albert Hall and Kensington Palace, and Hyde Park to your right for a walk through the park towards Knightsbridge & Wellington Arch, Green Park, St James’s Park. The parks are your oyster!
Verdict on South Kensington
She said: There is more to do in South Kensington in a day, than meets the eye.
He said: I’m surprised by how much I enjoyed the V&A. Science museum has always been my thing. I have a lot of meetings at the Ampersand and there is nothing like ending the day at the Anglesea.
Teen said: NHM, but lately the V&A, and always finish up in Franca Manca.