Maskells Estate Agents

Area Guide - The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

Posted on Friday, March 8, 2019

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea

The Royal Borough is our base for selling and letting property in London. The area is ideal for investors and affluent Londoners seeking a luxury lifestyle with multi-million-pound properties and plenty of culture. So what's it really like to live in Kensington & Chelsea?

 Moving to Kensington & Chelsea

Stretching from the River Thames opposite Battersea Park to Notting Hill, this central London borough is renowned for its wealthy residents, opulent properties and prestigious schools, as well as some of the capital’s most high-end shops. Filled with the affluent and the educated, over half of the borough’s residents have the equivalent of a university degree and more than one-fifth work within the financial sector, a figure which is second only to residents living in the City of London. Property investment is big business here, with buyers from both home and abroad, and more than 50% of residents were born outside the UK with a relatively high number of Asian, Russian and Middle Eastern residents compared to most other boroughs.

But Kensington and Chelsea isn’t all prosperous investors and multi-million pound properties – there’s an array of different neighbourhoods and communities to be found here, from the charming French community in South Kensington (known to some as the 21st arrondissement of Paris) to vibrant, artistic Notting Hill with its pastel-coloured houses, quirky antique shops and world-famous annual Notting Hill Carnival.

 Transport

Public transport facilities are outstanding in Kensington and Chelsea, with many Underground stations offering services on the Circle, District, Piccadilly, Central, and Hammersmith & City lines, making commuting to anywhere in London fast and easy. The Overground can also be found at the western border of the borough at stations West Brompton, Kensington Olympia and Imperial Wharf, and for those in the south-western neighbourhoods, Battersea, Belgravia and Westminster are all within walking distance.

Lifestyle

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea offers some of the best shopping opportunities in the capital, with everything from vintage treasures to designer brands to be found. We recommend heading straight to Knightsbridge, home to luxury department store Harrods as well as Harvey Nichols, Prada and Gucci, whilst for high-street brands, independent stores and boutique brands High Street Kensington and the King’s Road offer a myriad of options including The Shop At Bluebird, Urban Outfitters and Peter Jones Department store alongside cosy cafes, rooftop bars and cool restaurants. For something a little more alternative, Portobello Road and the streets of Notting Hill are awash with vintage shops such as One Of A Kind, Frock Me, and Retro Woman.

Excellent eateries are in abundance here, particularly for those seeking refined, award-winning dining with multiple Michelin-starred restaurants such as Five Fields and Kitchen W8. The streets surrounding South Kensington are awash with good French restaurants (largely due to the many Gallic residents), with highlights including Le Colombier, L’Etranger and Aubaine. Meanwhile, in Notting Hill, there are plenty of spots to choose from with The Ledbury and Ottolenghi particularly beloved by locals.

Kensington and Chelsea is also a hotspot for those seeking to mingle with London’s most glamorous young residents after dark, at high-end nightspots such as Raffles, Embargo Republica and Barts Bar. Notting Hill also has a buzzing bar scene, with cool venues including Beach Blanket Babylon, Portobello Star and Trailer Happiness.

Groceries

The borough offers a very good selection of supermarkets, with multiple branches of major brands such as Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose. It’s also home to a large Whole Foods, and the Queen’s very own grocers, Partridges, on the King’s Road.

Health & Sport

Kensington and Chelsea have some of the UK’s healthiest residents, so it comes as no surprise that there are many superb fitness facilities here. Branches of national chains such as PureGym, Soho Gyms and Virgin Active can all be found, as well as many private studios and exclusive facilities including Barrecore Chelsea, Heartcore Fitness, and KX Private Members Health Club.

Culture

Home to London’s Museum District, Kensington and Chelsea have more than enough cultural venues to rival the West End. The Science Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Natural History Museum can all be found along the Exhibition Road in South Kensington and are some of the most popular museums in the capital, while other, lesser-known museums and galleries in the area include the Design Museum, the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising and the Saatchi Gallery. Multiple well-respected theatres and music venues can be found in the borough, such as Cadogan Hall, Gate Theatre and Royal Court Theatre, while cinephiles can enjoy various arthouse cinemas, ranging from independent picture houses Electric Cinema and Curzon Chelsea to the French-centric Cinema Lumière.

The borough also hosts a variety of events throughout the year, the largest of which is the colourful, chaotic, Notting Hill Carnival, which takes place on the August Bank Holiday and sees around one million people descending on the streets of Notting Hill for drinking, dancing and celebrations.

Schools and Education

Kensington and Chelsea have a very impressive selection of schools, with the borough ranked best in London for exam achievement. For primary-aged children, independent prep schools Wetherby Place and Garden House School are highly recommended. For older children, Queen’s Gate School and Lycée Francais Charles de Gaulle the best among the borough’s many independent schools. Holland Park School and Cardinal Vaughn Memorial RC School are the leading state options.

For higher education, Kensington and Chelsea is home to Imperial College London, which regularly ranks among the top 5 universities in the UK.

Safety

Proving that even the most affluent boroughs are not immune to high crime rates, Kensington and Chelsea have the 3rd highest crime rate in London with an average of 121 crimes per 1000 people as of 2015 – almost double the UK average. Shoplifting and theft are particularly problematic here, with both over 100% higher than the London average.

Green Space

Only 15% of Kensington and Chelsea is made up of green space, a rather low proportion, particularly when compared to other inner boroughs such as Ealing. However, the borough is dotted with beautiful garden squares, while for larger expanses Kensal Green, Kensington Gardens and Holland Park are firm favourites with both residents and visitors to the borough. The latter is particularly stunning, spread across 54 acres and home to the romantic ruins of Holland House, as well as an Orangery, a Japanese garden, and an open-air theatre. 

For budding botanists, on the other hand, we recommend visiting The Physic Gardens in Chelsea, it is the oldest botanical garden in London and houses around 5,000 different medicinal, herbal, edible and useful plants. The  Royal Flower Show is a spectacular event, with thousands of floral enthusiasts turning up to enjoy London in full bloom.

 


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