One of the best things about blogging is hearing that I’ve inspired people to get out and do the things I’ve written about. And nothing has inspired people like my self-guided walks of London. I’ve been overwhelmed by all the messages I’ve gotten about your experiences following my walks in Hampstead, Kensington, and Notting Hill, so today I want to continue the series with a self-guided walk in South Kensington.
South Kensington is one of London’s most beloved neighborhoods, both for its world-class museums and its beautiful streets. From the incredible collection at the V&A to the stunning interior of the Natural History Museum, I could spend days exploring this London neighborhood’s national treasures.
More awaits outside, and South Kensington is one of my favorite places to wander through mews, around crescents, and along terraces.
Self-Guided Walk in South Kensington
This self-guided walk in South Kensington will take you around the area’s loveliest side streets and hidden lanes. There are plenty of cafes, pubs, and restaurants along the route, so feel free to pause and put your feet up along the way.
Start your walk at Gloucester Road tube station (this is where my Kensington walk ends, so you can combine the two if you want a longer walk). Exit the station, cross the street, and turn right to walk south down Gloucester Road. Once across Stanhope Gardens, take your first left into Stanhope Mews South, one of the loveliest little streets in the neighborhood.
After taking in its beautiful houses, go back out to Gloucester Road and turn left, then cross the street and take your first right on Wetherby Place. As you go, you’ll start to see some of the neighborhood’s classic residential architecture.
Continue straight when the street becomes Whetherby Gardens, then turn left on Bina Gardens, where you’ll be able to take in more of the area’s beautiful brick facades with their rich orange-red hues.
Soon you’ll approach the intersection with Old Bromption Road, where there’s a gorgeous building with a pub on the southwest corner. Before you get there, take a left into Dove Mews and follow it around as it curves. It has a great house with purple garage doors and an external stairway on the corner.
Exit Dove Mews where it meets Old Brompton Road and take a right. Cross the street at the intersection and continue down Old Brompton Road, taking in the restaurants and pubs as you go.
When you get to Boltons Place, turn left and walk through The Boltons. This oval-shaped street with a garden in the middle is lined by gorgeous houses with lots of details to admire.
At the end of The Boltons, continue down Gilston Road and take a left on Priory Walk. Follow it until you reach Thistle Grove. Turn left up Thistle Grove, a narrow pedestrianized stretch lined with pretty houses.
This street will take you back up to Old Brompton Road. Turn right and soon you’ll come to Cranley Mews. Turn right to enter the street, and as it curves let yourself be swept away by the area’s most famous mews. The pastel houses and cobblestones are just gorgeous, and this is the highlight of my self-guided walk in South Kensington.
Walk all the way to the end of Cranley Mews, exiting on Cranley Gardens after the street bends around to the left. Turn left on Cranley Gardens, then cross the street and turn right into Ensor Mews. This is a pretty little street with charming nooks to explore.
When you come to the end, turn left on Onslow Gardens and continue straight until you reach Old Brompton Road. Once there, turn right and cross the street. Take a left on narrow Clareville Street, then veer right into Manson Mews (you can wander up Clareville Street for more pretty houses before you do). You’ll be greeted by cobblestones as you enter Manson Mews, and when the street winds around you’ll see a beautiful row of pastel houses.
Walk to the end to soak up the colors, then turn around and exit left through the arch onto Queen’s Gate. When you get to Queen’s Gate, turn left and walk up the street. Cross over the road at the intersection and continue north until you reach Queensberry Mews West.
Take a right into the mews, exploring the cross streets as you go. There’s a particularly pretty house on your right. When you come to Queensberry Place, turn right and continue to Harrington Road.
When you reach Harrington Road, cross over and turn right, then take your first left into Reece Mews. There are beautiful brick facades to take in here, and as you turn the bend you’ll find a big mural on your left. Take in the mural, then wander up into Kendrick Mews.
At the end of Kendrick Mews, turn around and take a left to exit via Kendrick Place onto Old Brompton Road. Turn left onto Old Brompton Road and take in the shops and restaurants until you reach Cromwell Place. Turn left onto Cromwell Place, pass the tube station, then turn right into Thurloe Street. Here you’ll find lots of restaurants and cafes if you want to stop for a break.
If not, turn left up Exhibition Road and walk until you reach Cromwell Road. Once here, you’ll see the Natural History Museum on your left and the V&A on your right. If you want to, you can pop into one or both to look around (they’re free to enter, so you can spend as much or as little time as you like inside).
Back outside, continue north up Exhibition Road and take a right into Princes Gate Mews. There are three streets in one here, so you’ll have a lot to explore. When you’re done, follow the northernmost prong of the mews and exit through the narrow path straight ahead of you to get to Ennismore Gardens Mews.
There are two prongs to this mews, and you can explore them both. When you’re finished, walk through the garden behind Holy Trinity Brompton church and make your way down Cottage Place to get to Brompton Road.
Once there, turn right onto Brompton Road, cross the street, and follow it left as it splits off from Thurloe Place. Continue along it until you reach South Terrace. Turn right onto South Terrace and soak up the houses as you make your way to the leafy Thurloe Square Garden.
When South Terrace meets Thurloe Square, take in the thin house on the corner, then turn right up Thurloe Square and left onto Thurloe Street. This will take you back to South Kensington tube station, where you’ll end your self-guided walk in South Kensington.
Time: 1.5 hours
Map of the first half of the walk: https://goo.gl/maps/13qGyVwSXzD2
Map of the second half of the walk: https://goo.gl/maps/w7NuY3ecm8v
Further afield: Hyde Park, Walton Street, Chelsea
I’ve written a lot more London walks and they’re 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.
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