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London - Around Town : Kensington and Knightsbridge (part 2) - The Best of the Rest, Shopping

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Kensington on Foot

Morning

Start at South Kensington Underground station, and follow the signs to the Victoria & Albert Museum . Spend a delightful hour in the new British Galleries and see the recreated period rooms. Follow Old Brompton Road to the Brompton Oratory , where you should take a look at its sumptuous Italianate interior, with 12 marble Apostles. Cross the road for a coffee and a pastry at Patisserie Valerie.

Turn right into Beauchamp Place, where window shopping takes in creations by such English designers as Bruce Oldfield and Caroline Charles. Continue down into Pont Street, and turn left up Sloane Street. Check out Hermés, Chanel and Dolce e Gabbana before turning left along Knightsbridge to Harrods.

Harrods has a choice of 21 bars and restaurants. The food hall’s Deli and the Oyster Bar are best. Save dessert for the 4th-floor ice-cream parlour.

Afternoon

Just five minutes north of Harrods, Hyde Park , offers a peaceful walk along the south bank of the Serpentine. Heading for Kensington Palace you pass the famous statue of JM Barry’s Peter Pan and the Round Pond, where model-makers sail their boats. West of here, the palace’s costume exhibit includes many of Princess Diana’s dresses. Next door, The Orangery Tea Rooms provide a restorative cup of tea.

The Best of the Rest

  1. Royal College of Music

    The UK’s leading music college stages musical events throughout the year. It also houses a Museum of Musical Instruments.

    • Prince Consort Road SW7

    • Museum open four days per week during term time

    • 020 7591 4346 for details

    • Admission charge

  2. Holland Park Concerts

    The open-air theatre in Holland Park hosts an annual summer season of opera, theatre and dance, while art exhibitions are held regularly in the Ice House and the Orangery (see Holland Park).

    • Abbotsbury Road W14

    • Admission charge

    Holland Park Orangery
  3. Serpentine Gallery

    In the southeast corner of Kensington Gardens, this gallery houses temporary exhibitions of contemporary art .

    • Kensington Gardens W2

    • Open 10am–6pm daily

    • Free

    Serpentine Gallery
  4. Christie’s

    Visiting the salerooms here is like going to a small museum. Their experts will value items brought in by the public.

    • 85 Old Brompton Road SW7

    • Open 9am–5pm Mon–Fri (7:30pm Mon)

  5. Electric Cinema

    London’s oldest purpose-built movie theatre, it remains one of the prettiest and offers luxury seats; it also has a bar and restaurant.

    • Portobello Road W11

  6. Queens Ice Bowl

    Enjoy ice-skating, karaoke and ten-pin bowling here – but try to avoid the after-school crowd.

    • 17 Queensway W2

    • Bowling 10am–11pm daily, Skating 10am–10:45pm daily (10pm Sun)

    • Admission charge

  7. V&A Late View

    On the last Friday of the month the ground-floor galleries at the V&A Museum are open until 10pm, with a themed evening of events (see Victoria and Albert Museum).

    • Cromwell Road SW7

    • Free

  8. Park Café

    Alongside the Serpentine Lido, the Park Café has lakeside tables. Jazz and poetry sessions take place on summer evenings.

    • Hyde Park W2

  9. Speakers’ Corner

    This corner of Hyde Park attracts assorted public speakers, especially on Sundays.

    • Hyde Park W2

  10. Hyde Park Stables

    Ride around Hyde Park or take lessons – this is the best place for horse riding in London.

    • 63 Bathurst Mews W2

Shopping

  1. Harrods

    London’s most famous store has over 300 departments full of the finest goods that money can buy. Specialities include food, fashion, china, glass and kitchenware .

    • 87–135 Brompton Road SW1

  2. Harvey Nichols

    Another top London store. There are eight glorious floors of fashion, beauty and home collections alongside one floor dedicated to high-quality food .

    • 109–125 Knightsbridge SW1

    Harvey Nichols
  3. Burberry

    Burberry sells its famous trenchcoats as well as checked clothing and distinctive luggage.

    • 2 Brompton Road SW1

  4. Nicole Farhi

    Sophisticated urban clothing from one of the UK’s leading designers is available is this cool, minimalist shop.

    • 193 Sloane Street SW1

  5. L’Artisan du Chocolat

    Combining artistry and craftsmanship, Gerard Coleman creates some of London’s most innovative chocolates.

    • 89 Lower Sloane Street SW1

  6. Rigby & Peller

    Famous for their high quality lingerie, swimwear, corsetry and superb fitting service, this company has held the Royal Warrant since 1960. Expect service fit for a Queen.

    • 2 Hans Road SW3

    • Tube Knightsbridge

  7. Antiquarius

    Up to 60 dealers housed under one roof sell vintage jewellery and silverware as well as more unusual antiques.

    • 131–141 King’s Road SW3

  8. Cutler and Gross

    Treat yourself to the latest eyewear and browse the superb collection of retro classics.

    • 15 Knightsbridge Green SW1

  9. Shop at Bluebird

    As to be expected on King’s Road, the stock here is always chic and fashionable. Women’s and men’s clothing, books, furniture and even a spa for decadent treatments.

    • 350 King’s Road SW3

  10. The Travel Bookshop

    Excellent specialist bookshop selling both new and old books. The shop achieved fame when it appeared in the film Notting Hill.

    • 13 Blenheim Crescent W11

    • Tube Ladbroke Grove

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