I hope you enjoyed the London walk in Hampstead I shared earlier this week. Continuing from there, today I want to add another to the series with a self-guided walk in Kensington.
Kensington is one of London’s most elegant neighborhoods. Best known for being home to Kensington Palace and Gardens, it’s also host to an abundance of hidden streets and mews. Unsurprisingly for an area near a royal residence, Kensington has some of the prettiest houses and gardens in the city.
Kynance Mews is my favorite street in all of London. From spring wisteria garlanding the facades to Virginia creeper cascading down the doors in autumn, this secret street is beautiful year-round.
But there’s plenty more loveliness to uncover in the neighborhood. The colorful houses in Atherstone Mews, for example. Or the impossibly beautiful passage on Gordon Place. Every time I walk down these streets I discover some new detail that makes me love them more. If you take your time, you will, too.
Self-Guided Walk in Kensington
This self-guided walk in Kensington will take you through the best of the area’s secret streets. There are plenty of cafes, pubs, and restaurants along the way, so feel free to stop if you need a rest.
Start your walk at High Street Kensington tube station. As you exit, turn right and cross the street at the nearest crossing, then turn left to walk west towards Holland Park. As you do, find the alley that is Kensington Church Walk and head down it. This lane will take you by St. Mary Abbots Gardens, behind St. Mary Abbots Church, and up a narrow passage lined with shops.
Eventually you will come out on Holland Street. Turn left, then take your first left into the walkway at the end of Gordon Place. This tiny lane is full of houses with lovely gardens. It’s lush with wisteria in the spring, so don’t miss it if you’re in London at this time of year.
Exit Gordon Place the way you came and turn left to continue down Holland Street towards Holland Park. Take your first left on Drayson Mews and soak up the atmosphere and painted facades as you meander down to Phillimore Walk. Turn right on Phillimore Walk, then take your second left on Campden Hill Road. This will bring you back to Kensington High Street.
Cross over Kensington High Street and turn right to head west. Duck down Eden Close, which will be the first street on your left. Eden Close is a classic mews that gives way to Adam and Eve Mews, another neighborhood gem. Once on the latter, walk down it and turn right to exit onto Allen Street.
Turn left on Allen Street and follow it all the way down to the end. There you will find Lexham Mews and Radley Mews, two more lovely streets to explore.
Back out on Allen Street, take a right on Stratford Road, exploring the colorful houses on Blithfield Street as you make your way to Marloes Road.
Turn right on Marloes Road, then left on Lexham Gardens. Soak up the rows of houses and green spaces before heading up Cornwall Gardens Walk, the little passage in the northeast corner of Lexham Gardens.
This leafy corridor will take you up into Cornwall Gardens. It’s surrounded by charming houses and lanes, so make sure to explore as you go. When you get to Cornwall Gardens, head to the northwest end and turn left down the little alley that leads to Stanford Road.
Take your first right to get from Stanford Road to Eldon Road, another street with lovely homes. After the church, turn right onto Victoria Road. At the end you’ll come to a small set of steps. Go down them to find yourself in Kynance Mews, one of the prettiest streets in London.
Explore Kynance Mews on either side of Launceston Place, taking in the arches and colorful houses in all their detail. When you’re finished, continue your self-guided walk in Kensington by heading north up Launceston Place towards Hyde Park. Explore the cluster of shops at the end, then take a left on Victoria Grove and a quick right on Canning Passage, following it around as it becomes Canning Place.
There are lots of little side streets to explore here, including the continuation of Canning Passage to where it meets Victoria Road, the pretty houses on De Vere Gardens, and the double-decker houses in Canning Place Mews.
After exploring these streets, continue down Canning Place to Palace Gate, crossing over and making the loop of Kensington Gate. This little street has whimsical architecture and gardens.
Back at Palace Gate, turn left down Gloucester Road. After a few steps, take your first left down Queen’s Gate Mews, ducking into the little alcoves and admiring the tables and chairs as you make your way to the pub at the end. When you reach the pub, turn left to continue exploring the mews until it dead ends, then turn around and walk straight past the pub until you get to Queen’s Gate Terrace.
Once on Queen’s Gate Terrace, cross the street and turn right, then take your first left on Gore Street. Peek into pretty Petersham Place as you pass by, then continue your walk down Gore Street.
When Gore Street meets Elvaston Place, cross the street and turn left, then take your first right on Elvaston Mews. Walk down it, taking in the colorful buildings (and sometimes even more colorful cars) as it curves around to meet Queen’s Gate Place. Cross the street and explore the colorful homes on Petersham Mews, then return to Queen’s Gate Place and turn right.
Walk down Queen’s Gate Place, then turn right on Atherstone Mews. The colorful homes and flowers will lead you around to Cromwell Road, where you can turn right and walk to Gloucester Road.
A left turn there will bring you to Gloucester Road tube station, where your walk ends.
Time: 2 hours
Map of the first half of the walk: https://goo.gl/maps/YGri4jiT14K2
Map of the second half of the walk: https://goo.gl/maps/6T2bg8F21w52
Further afield: Kensington Palace and Gardens, Uxbridge Street, Callcott Street
I’ve written a lot more London walks and you can see them all in my London walking tours blog post. There are more lovely walks outlined in London’s Hidden Walks, too. You can get it here.
Have you done a self-guided walk in Kensington? What were the highlights?
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