Find out about the various aspects of this wonderful part of London and how to minimise the stress of moving to Kensington . History, culture, places to eat and moving tips are all included in this handy guide to help you decide whether this is the right area for you to move to.
Kensington is a beautiful, historically rich area of London that commands famously high property prices. It is an elegant area and many of the buildings are beautiful, dating back to the earliest stages of London development. Living here you can enjoy plenty of outdoor spaces, including decorative squares and of course, Kensington Gardens, as well as many fantastic eateries and coffee shops, designer shops and offerings, and the benefit of living within close proximity of Central London. With 3 5* Ofsted rated primary schools, 2 outdoor spaces, 7 nearby tube stations and 3 Michelin starred restaurants, the area has a lot to offer families, couples and young professionals alike.
If you’re moving to Kensington, this guide will help you get to grips with some of the basic considerations of creating a home in this famously wealthy neighbourhood.
The History Of Kensington
Kensington began originally as a Saxon settlement and is mentioned in the Domesday book. Royalty has been in the area since 1689 and Queen Victoria was actually born in Kensington Palace and continued to live there for many years until she became queen. It was Queen Victoria who ‘crowned’ the area as a Royal Borough in 1901. Many of the buildings in the area have a rich history and it is worth learning about them if you plan to purchase property here.
Properties In Modern Kensington
The properties in modern Kensington are very characterful and the area has been very well preserved. Even new buildings in the area have to go through a strict planning approval process to ensure they fit in with the general feel of the area. Throughout the borough you can find listed buildings such as Kensington Palace and then streets reflective of their history, such as pottery lane.
Some of the most premium properties in Kensington are the detached mansions which usually sit around Holland Park. Families tend to also reside in the stunning semi-detached townhouses which offer plenty of space.
Most areas of Kensington are sought after. Argyll Road, Stafford Terrace, Holland Park, The Velotten Estate, Victoria Road; there are many roads where properties are extremely high in price and popularity. Some of the oldest properties in the area date all the way back to the 1700’s which only adds to their charm. Some of the newer developments are attracting younger residents who want a more modern design to their residence. Holland Park Villas, One Kensington Gardens, Academy Gardens and Thornwood Gardens are all secure and beautiful high quality developments.
If you are looking to rent in Kensington there are lots of different price ranges with the average price for a property rental being £926 per week according to a local estate agents. According to the same local estate agents, property prices range all the way from £230 pounds a week to £20,000 pounds a week.
If you are looking to buy a property in Kensington, according to a Foxtons estate agents the average cost of a property in the area is around £1.5 million pounds. However the same estate agent lists the property price range as starting at £320,000 thousand pounds and reaching all the way up to £20 million pounds.
Whatever your budget, there will be a property to suit you. From modern apartments with balconies and views, to older townhouses full of character.
Who Lives In Kensington?
Kensington has a really homely feel to it and it is one of the closest communities in London. There are residents there who have had families living there for generations. There are also plenty of residents from overseas – some here on business, others who may frequent the area regularly throughout the year. Young, wealthy professionals working in the city may also live here as a quick way to access Central London. The area attracts many different types of people because it is so highly sought after.
Eating Out In Kensington
There are many places to eat out in Kensington ranging from cosy cafes to Michelin-starred restaurants. Kitchen W8, Kensington Palace, The Windsor Castle and The Ivy Kensington Brasserie are all providing fancy fayre. If you want something more casual or laid back, then Maggie Jones, The Churchill Arms and Sticky Fingers are great choices. As a vegan, or generally health-conscious person you may want to pay a trip to Wholefoods which has all the eco-friendly, vegan, vegetarian, raw grocery items you can imagine, plus lots of fresh salads, sandwiches, baked goods and food available.
Drinking In Kensington
For the best tea and coffee in Kensington La Caffettiera and The Orangery at Kensington Palace are great choices. It is also worth a wander to see where takes your fancy as there are endless cafes with different styles and tones to them. For alcoholic drinks, or something more special there are many places to choose from. Kensington Roof Gardens is the perfect venue for a party, whereas Kensington Wine Rooms offers the perfect setting for a date.
Shopping In Kensington
There are plenty of shops to enjoy in Kensington such as popular high street choices like Zara, Urban Outfitters, American Apparel and Kurt Geiger. You can also enjoy department stores like Marks & Spencer which has plenty of items to shop including clothes, groceries and homeware. You’re also within easy distance of Peter Jones, Harrods and Harvey Nichols.
Kensington Gardens is the most iconic outdoor space in Kensington and every year millions of people visit the space. You can find Albert Memorial, Princess Diana’s Memorial and Kensington Palace on the ground, as well as various other historic features on its massive grounds. The gardens change throughout the year as various flowerbeds and trees change with the seasons. Holland Park is another beautiful space in Kensington Gardens with plenty of woodlands, children’s facilities and sports facilities.
Education In Kensington
In Kensington there are several schools both primary and secondary. A lot of the schools require a private application process. This may require that you attend regular services at a local church connected with the school. You may have to gain a relationship with the vicar and then apply to the local school after a set amount of time. In many instances private application does not guarantee acceptance into the school. Schools where the Ofsted rating is exceptional offer an education highly desirable to many people and many who move to Kensington just to gain acceptance into the school.
There are of course schools outside of Kensington which you can easily get to by car from the area.
Getting Around Kensington
You can easily walk around Kensington but it helps to know how to get from Kensington to the rest of London and possibly further afield. Being in London, you are within prime proximity to transport links that can take you near enough anywhere in the world. There are several tube stations around Kensington providing you with links to the tube network, which takes you all around Central London and then further afield. There is also an amazing bus network which can get you all around London, plus coach services to different areas of the country from coach stations such as the one located in Victoria.
Various overground trains leave for the rest of the country from different parts of London.
You can also catch the Eurostar to France from Kings Cross International which gets you to places like Paris in record time.
If you’re looking to travel internationally by plane you have Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton and London City. There are also various Helicopter ports across London should you want a different style of air transport. London Biggin Hill and London City have private jet facilities should you want a private air transfer.
When it comes to driving around London, you are within 20 minutes of true Central London when you live in Kensington.
Parking In Kensington
Parking is a huge consideration when it comes to moving to Kensington. Anywhere in London with a parking space is a huge asset so it pays to ensure you know where your car is going to go when you move into the capital.
When visiting for viewings there are plenty of pay and display car parks you can use clearly displaying the tariff for different lengths of stay.
When it comes to living in the area you will pay a premium for a property with parking. You may wish to do that, in which case there are plenty of properties to choose from. However, if you need more parking flexibility you have several options. Kensington and Chelsea council do offer residents parking permits. There are very strict rules and regulations on how to apply for a permit because the demand for private parking spaces is so high in the area.
Another great idea is paying for a paid garage or parking spot within a private garage or parking facility. These spaces will not come cheap but they will ensure your car is protected and secure when you are not using it.
Top Tips For Moving To Kensington
Moving to Kensington is a great idea if you want to be part of a friendly, vibrant, international affluent community. Here are our top tips for moving to Kensington:
Just because the area is affluent doesn’t mean you can’t shop around. There’s still room for a bargain (relative to Kensington at least!) so don’t let the many who want your sales schmooze you into thinking absolutely everything is exclusive and you won’t get it anywhere else. Do though expect interest in properties to be a bit of a game because they are so highly sought after.
Organise Your Moving Day
Your moving day will be stressful anyway but moving to London makes it extra hard. Use a local London moving company to ensure that the rules around parking and unloading are followed. You may wish to have your items delivered and arranged before you arrive.
Use Self Storage
You pay a premium for every square foot in Kensington. It makes sense to make the most of every single bit of space you paid for the property. This is especially true with rentals which mean your money isn’t getting invested in the property you are paying for. Self storage is a really good option when you live in Kensington because it provides secure, dry, affordable extra space within easy reach. You can use London self storage for storing out of season clothes, bulky holiday items like ski equipment or hobby items you don’t have room to display yet. You may even use self storage near London for items from your home that you need to store whilst you live in a more compact space in Kensington.
Always Keep Your Eye On The Ball
Even if you do have staff to help you, it is important to keep your eye on the ball. Many seemingly helpful services come with a premium price tag and nothing comes for free, especially in London. Ask how much extra services are when offered, and always make sure hidden extras haven’t just been added to your services.
Visit Many Times Before Committing
Visit the area many times before committing to a property contract to ensure you are sure about all aspects of your move. If you’re moving there for a job, has that contract been signed? If you’re moving to Kensington for a specific school for your child, have they been accepted? Visit many times to secure these aspects of your lifestyle and to ensure you are in the know about all aspects of Kensington life. Speak to neighbours, do your research and get a really good grip on Kensington life because it does come at a premium and it is worth knowing it is the right choice for you.
With so many amazing aspects to Kensington, it is no wonder so many people want to live there. The houses are beautiful and historic, there is access to gorgeous outdoor space, the culture is friendly and international, there are great places to eat and drink – the list is endless. Just be sure to do your research before moving so that you have everything in place that you need to make the most out of your move to this affluent community.