London Walks: Kensington

I love living in West London but sometimes when things are on your doorsteps they are the least explored.  When friends come to stay it’s a perfect excuse to get out and re-visit some less frequented spots.

First stop, Holland Park.  One of the most beautiful parks in London.  It boasts a Japanese Garden, an orangery, an open air Opera house, a giant chess board, woodland walks, lots of peacocks, sculptures and even a youth hostel if you fancy staying the night.

South of Holland Park is the newly opened Design Museum on High Street Kensington. The main part of the museum is free to enter.

Head east up High Street Kensington and pit stop for lunch at Wholefoods. Three floors of pure foodie heaven.  When you enter there are plenty of lunch choices – there’s a salad bar, hot food bar, pre-pack meals full of goodness – take these to Kensington Park for a little picnic or choose the top floor food court.  I can’t recommend the burrito stand enough!  If you are a cheese lover, do not miss the most amazing cheese room on the ground floor.

Next up is a short walk up the road to Kensington Park Kensington Palace. Owned by the Queen, Prince William & Kate and Prince Harry reside here (still haven’t spotted them).  If you go visit the Palace, check out the toilets and the Princess Diana wallpaper.

Stroll through Kensington Park, keeping to the south side, walking round the lake, when you get to a crossroad, look to the right and you will spot the majestic Prince Albert Memorial  in front of the Royal Albert Hall.

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The final stop for us was Harrods.  I mean, you just have to visit don’t you?  At Christmas they have the best window displays, at night the whole building is lit up by light bulbs attached to the exterior.  There are 330 departments, amazing food halls (I’ve eaten possibly the best Fish n’ Chips of my life here, washed down with a vintage bottled beer). There is an Egyptian theme throughout part of the luxury department store and despite Al-Fayed not owning Harrods anymore, there is still a memorial and bronze statue of his son Dodi and Diana downstairs.

On a side note, if you’re not shopped out, then Harvey Nichols is on the corner on Knightsbridge.  If I haven’t given enough food choices for the day, then my favourite branch of Yo! Sushi is on the top floor.  It’s a brilliantly white room, part glass roof, it just feels clean, bright, understated glitzy.  If you’re looking for a top booze shop then the top floor also houses the best.  I recently shopped for gin & vodka miniatures – one with a scorpion in it, one in a glass skull and one in an apothecary bottle.  Great presents!

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