A district within the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in west London, Kensington is an upmarket area with a rich royal history. The north east of the neighbourhood is taken up by the now public Kensington Gardens, and the commercial centre is Kensington High Street, an affluent and upbeat shopping area full of high-end shops, restaurants, bars and cafes.
A densely populated and very well-to-do area, Kensington has a good reputation and strong links with France and the continent. It features heavily on many British TV shows, including the reality drama ‘Made in Chelsea’.
If you fancy spending your London trip in an affluent and very traditionally British area, Kensington could be the place for you! If you are interested in homestay in or around Kensington, contact us to talk through options and availability.
Where is Kensington located?
Kensington sits in west London and its main focus is its high street. There’s a further commercial area in South Kensington, but the rest of the neighbourhood is largely residential. To the north of the district sits Notting Hill, to the east Belgravia, to the south Earl’s Court, and to the west Shepherd’s Bush and Hammersmith. The postcode area is SW7.
What’s the typical accommodation type in Kensington?
Accommodation in Kensington is pricey and make up some of the most expensive homes in London. Many of the properties in Kensington are white or pastel coloured fronted Regency architecture homes, spacious and elegant, often around shared garden squares. Similarly, large apartment blocks and mansion flats can be found in the area, but very few new builds or small houses – this affluent neighbourhood attracts those who need and can afford plenty of space.
Properties that go on to the market in Kensington – both for sale and to rent – are snapped up extremely quickly and for a premium. Due to the affluent nature of the area, it can be difficult to find homestays here as many residents do not need to rent out their spare rooms. Even if you wanted to, it’s unlikely you’d be able to find a reasonably priced private let here, so wherever available, homestay may be a more reasonably priced alternative if you want to be in Kensington.
How safe is Kensington?
Kensington is extremely affluent and very, very safe. Crime here tends to target the very wealthy, who are already more than well equipped to deal with their personal and property safety well. Kensington High Street is bustling, as are all of the travel stations and hubs in the area, but the residential streets do get quiet in the evenings and overnight. Many choose to travel by taxi or other private transport here – but more because they can afford to than they need to.
What type of people live in Kensington?
Kensington is a very middle and upper-class area, and attracts wealthy families, individuals and professionals. There’s a lot of properties here that are second homes for expats and international visitors who use them as residences when they are in the country. There are superb schools in the district and a large French and large Spanish community, although the majority of residents are white British.
What transport links does Kensington offer?
Major roads cross Kensington from east to west so transport options by road are plentiful, connecting it to central London, Hounslow and Heathrow Airport.
There are three stations within the neighbourhood sitting in Travelcard Zone 1; High Street Kensington, Gloucester Road and South Kensington, all on the Circle and District lines, and the latter two on the Piccadilly line. Bus routes serve all stations and are plentiful throughout the area.
There’s lots of docking stations throughout Kensington for Santander Cycles, and these make for a great way to get around in good weather, as the streets and green spaces in the area are beautiful.
What is there to do in Kensington?
Largely residential but still with a commercial hub of its own, there’s plenty of facilities, amenities and attractions in Kensington. Try out some of the following to spend your spare time!
Browse luxury shopping at Harrods
Harrods is the UK’s most prestigious department store, and a browse around the various departments really gives you a great insight into how the other half live. Treat yourself to lunch in the food halls and be sure to visit the loos – they may be the nicest place you’ll go in the whole city! If you’re a petrolhead, you’ll spot some rare cars parked outside too.
Learn new things… for free
Kensington is the home of London’s free museums, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum. There’s something for everyone and more than enough to see and do within each to wile away the weekends. Exhibitions change regularly and if you can make it on a weekday, you’ll find things considerably quieter than at weekends.
Kensington is a safe, well-off and culturally-rich area to stay in; but is desirable and homestays here get booked up extremely quickly! Give the HFS London team a call at your earliest opportunity to discuss options and ensure that you find the right homestay property for you.
Homestay in Kensington
If you are an international student, intern or professional looking for homestay (“host family”) accommodation in Kensington or close by, we would love to hear from you. Similarly, if you have a spare room in your Kensington home and are interested in hosting international students, please do get in touch with us.