South Kensington: By Day and Night

South Kensington is one of London’s finest districts, home to great restaurants, chic cafes, trendy shops and stunning architecture. It’s nestled between Chelsea and Knightsbridge and boasts some of the most exclusive real estate on the planet.

Best known for its cultural institutions, South Kensington is where you’ll find London’s big three museums: the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, and the Victoria & Albert Museum. Also nearby are the Royal Albert Hall and the Royal College of Art.

With so much to see and do in South Kensington, it’s no surprise that the area is busy round the clock. This got us thinking – if you could spend just one day in South Kensington, what would your day look like? Where would your journey start and end? And, what adventures would you get up to along the way.

We give you South Kensington by day and night:

8am – Breakfast at Raison D’etre

 

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Begin your day with a spot of breakfast at the stylish French café, Raison D’etre, which opens at 7:30am most mornings. All food is well-priced and the service is excellent. Go light with a coffee and a croissant or fill up on something more substantial like avocado on toast.

8:30am – A walk around Hyde Park

Get some exercise in for the day with an early morning stroll around Hyde Park. From Raison D’etre, head up Exhibition Road, past Imperial College and the V&A, and continue on through the park. We recommend a walk of the Serpentine, which takes roughly 45 minutes. Head west past the Lido Café, and Diana Memorial Fountain, and then circle back past the Serpentine Bar & Kitchen until you reach the footbridge. Continue up to the Italian Water Gardens, and follow the bend of the lake back to your starting point.

10am – Visit the Serpentine Galleries

You may be familiar with the famous Serpentine Galleries. Well, there are two of them in Hyde Park, both of which are close to the South Kensington end of the park. The Serpentine Sackler Gallery, designed by the late architect, Zaha Hadid, is as beautiful to look at as it is to walk around, and features a wonderful selection of art. Just a short walk away from the Serpentine Sackler in Kensington Gardens is the main Sackler Gallery itself, which is also worth checking out. At a push, you can tick off both in an hour and a half.

11.30am – Early lunch at the Lido Cafe

Remember the Lido cafe you walked past earlier? Well, not only does it do great British food, but it’s also excellent for families. Treat yourself and whoever else you’re with to a well-deserved lunch – you’re going to need it for the afternoon ahead.

12:30pm – The Science Museum

Now begins your tour of South Kensington’s famous big three museums, starting with the Science Museum, which like the others is free to visit. Inside you’ll find an astonishing collection of iconic objects which really show the breadth and depth of science, and get you thinking about the world around you. Realistically, you could spend an entire day (or two) walking around the Science Museum, so, if possible, scale your visit down to, say, one exhibition.

2:15pm – Victoria & Albert Museum

Officially the world’s largest museum of design and decorative arts, the V&A brings together textiles, ceramics, costumes, jewellery, furniture and prints from around the world that span more than 5,000 years. It plays host to the world’s biggest collection of post classical sculpture, along with an impressive range of Islamic art. Getting around it is no easy feat, but in an hour or two you can, in the very least, get a taste of what’s on offer.

4pm – Natural History Museum

Last but not least is the Natural History Museum, which lies just across from the V&A, and is popular with families. The various life and earth specimens here are truly spectacular – everything from dinosaur skeletons to ancient artefacts. Unmissable treasures include the colossal squid in the museum’s Tank Room and Sir Hans Sloane’s Plant Collection. Again, with limited time to spare before the museum closes, you’ll only be able to cover off a few sections, so decide what you want to see first.

5:45pm – Dinner at Apero Restaurant & Bar

This fabulous all-day brasserie and bar is known for its great Mediterranean food. It’s tucked away in the cavernous cellars of the Ampersand Hotel and features trendy Spanish floors and exposed brickwork. Its tapas-themed menu is designed for sharing and includes things like patatas bravas, grllled octopus and bavette steak. Complete your meal with a bottle of house wine.

7:15pm – Take in a show at the Royal Albert Hall

No trip to South Kensington would be complete without a visit to the Royal Albert Hall. And, what better way to take it in than with an evening performance. The concert hall has many shows running from 7:30pm, most notably orchestras and musicals. Just make sure you book ahead.

10pm – Drinks at Eclipse Bar

South Kensington isn’t exactly overrun with nightclubs, but there are many late bars around like Eclipse, for example, which stays open until 1am most nights. Eclipse is smart, compact and features DJ sets throughout the week. Get your groove in gear with a signature martini and party on into the wee hours.

1am – Further partying at Janet’s Bar

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Still awake? If so, head to Janet’s Bar on Old Brompton Road. It might be kitsch looking inside, but Janet’s is a whole lot of fun and closes at 2am. Expect US dive bar décor, live music and a friendly vibe.

2am – Head back to your serviced apartment

Central London Apartments provide a wide variety of apartments in South Kensington, many with luxury extras. Welcome packs are a staple in our South Kensington serviced apartments and include things like tea, coffee and biscuits, which, as we know are great pick-me ups at the end of the night.

 

 

 

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