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14 Cool Things to do in South Kensington (and Nearby) on a London Workcation

Discover things to do in South Kensington and nearby in London. Find out what to do in South Kensington on a London workcation.
South Kensington has a reputation for being a posh neighborhood in London

We thought that spending a week in South Kensington on a London workcation would give us a nice contrast to all the things to do near Tower Bridge that we'd discovered the previous week. 

Read on to discover cool things to do in South Kensington (and nearby). By settling in for a week, we were able to experience South Kensington more in-depth and notice all the little details. 

For example, did you know that Benny Hill (the raunchy, slapstick 1970s comedian from The Benny Hill Show) lived in South Kensington. Who would have guessed?!

Things to do in South Kensington: London Museum of Natural History

Getting to South Kensington

South Kensington is most easily accessible via the Gloucester Road and South Kensington London Underground stations. 

South Kensington Station is served by the District and Circle lines. Gloucester Road is also served by the District and Circle lines as well as the Piccadilly line.
Gloucester Road Underground Station in South Kensington London

Things to do In and Around South Kensington at a Glance

Let's take a look at things to do in South Kensington and give you a sense of what I mean of 'nearby'. I've noted distances from Gloucester Road Station on foot in parentheses. 

All the places to visit near South Kensington are within a 30 minute walk.
  1. Explore Local Coffee Shops (5 - 20 min walk)
  2. Walk Kensington Gardens (15 min walk to the entrance)
  3. Discover South Kensington Mews (5 - 15 min walk)
  4. Take an Afternoon Walk in Brompton Cemetery (20 min walk)
  5. Take a South Kensington Architecture Photo Walk (5 - 20 min)
  6. Go Door Hunting in South Kensington (5 - 20 min walk)
  7. Enjoy a Cheeky Pint at the Windsor Castle Pub (30 min walk)
  8. Take a Notting Hill Photo Walk (30 min walk)
  9. Tour Imperial College London (10 minute walk)
  10. Photograph the Stained Glass Michelin Man (15 min walk)
  11. Tour the Natural History Museum (10 min walk)
  12. Visit the Victoria and Albert Museum (10 min walk)
  13. Visit Battersea Park (30 min walk to the entrance)
  14. Eat Lebanese Food for Dinner on Gloucester road (less than 5 min walk)

Map of Things to do in South Kensington (and Nearby)

Click on the image of the map below to open up an interactive version in Google Maps to explore the recommended things to do in and around South Kensington covered in this post.

Map of things to do in London South Kensington

Things to do In and Around South Kensington in Detail

Now let's dive into things to do around London's South Kensington neighborhood in more detail.

1. Explore Local Coffee Shops

Morning coffee walks are a critical part of our London England workcations (or our workcations in Mainz and Oslo for that matter!) 

Seeking out great local coffee shops is a fantastic way to provide some structure to a morning walk while fueling exploration of different areas of the neighborhood. 

We planned our first walk around a trip to Guillam Coffee House in South Kensington. Our oat latte was well-crafted and the staff were friendly. 

We enjoyed Guillam so much that we did a reprise and visited again on our last day in South Kensington before we moved on to Kingston upon Thames

I don't know how it was possible, but it was raining enough to need an umbrella, but there wasn't a visible cloud in the sky!

Things to do in South Kensington: Coffee at Guillam Coffee House Things to do near South Kensington: treats at Carpo

Another great coffee walk destination from South Kensington is Knightsbridge. Knightsbridge is home to Harrod's, one of London's most famous department stores. 

We grabbed a teeny tiny cappuccino from 39 Steps and then went across the street to Carpo for a second coffee and a sort of pistachio, seed, and honey brittle covered in dark chocolate on one side. 

The sweet treat was so good but eye-wateringly expensive. We paid about 20 GBP for a small bag.

Things to do near South Kensington: Coffee at 39 Steps in Knightsbridge London

We also took the opportunity to walk from South Kensington to Chelsea for morning coffee and got to photograph lots of posh architecture and doors on the way. 

We ended up with coffee and hamentaschen at Gail's bakery on Fulham Road. The proceeds from hamentaschen sales went to support humanitarian efforts in Ukraine.

Things to do in South Kensington: Hamentaschen at Gail's Bakery

We walked to Kensington High Street and then detoured onto Kensington Church Street for a coffee and gluten free banana bread at Cafe Jumo. 

We don't normally sit-in on our morning coffee walks, but we decided that Cafe Jumo was too cute to pass up spending some time inside.

Things to do in South Kensington: Coffee at Cafe Jumo

2. Walk Kensington Gardens

Places to visit in South Kensington: Kensington Gardens

Kensington Gardens is South Kensington's flagship attraction and is one of eight royal parks across London. Try to visit on a sunny day if you can. 

We took a brief walk in the park via the Queen's Gate entrance to Kensington Gardens. The Albert Memorial commissioned by Queen Victoria in memory of her husband Prince Albert simply shines in the sun and sits directly across the street from Royal Albert Hall. 

Kensington Gardens is connected to Hyde Park via the Serpentine Lake. You can also visit Kensington Palace on your walk through Kensington Gardens. 

When we passed through that side of the park it was lashing rain, so we satisfied ourselves with a cursory glance from the outside. 

Things to do in South Kensington: Kensington Palace

3. Discover South Kensington Mews

To me, the absolute best part of staying in Kensington was the opportunity to explore the hidden mews in the neighborhood. Many mews are marked by ornate arches that seem to invite you in. 

What an idyllic (albeit expensive) spot to live! Get lost on these tiny laneways. London's adorable mews are a treasure trove of fun and eclectic architecture.

Things to do in South Kensington London: Photograph Kynance MewsThings to do in South Kensington: Walk Brompton Cemetery

4. Take an Afternoon Walk in Brompton Cemetery

I don't have a standing desk for work when I travel so I need to make more effort to get some steps when I'm on a workcation. Doing two walks a day helps. 

With this in mind, I walked to Brompton Cemetery near Earl's Court just before sunset. Here you'll find great spooky atmosphere and very peaceful place for a stroll.

SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: Looking for ideas of other places to spend a workcation in the UK? Why not:
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  5. Experience the best of summer in Edinburgh Scotland including a stroll in the Edinburgh Royal Botanic Garden or a walk along the Water of Leith
  6. Get off the beaten track with these things to do in Chester
  7. Get to know Birmingham things to do and the best of Birmingham food and drink
  8. Celebrate the rich history of Cardiff, Wales

5. Take a South Kensington Architecture Photo Walk

The architecture in South Kensington will make your jaw drop. It's not just the doors (what usually catches my eye) but an entire building or even an entire block. 

There are lots of private gardens too that I wish the public had access to. Take time to turn off of the main roads and onto less traveled residential streets. 

Keep an eye out for intricate decorations to include in your South Kensington photo walk shot list. I recommend taking a walk down Harrington Gardens towards Earls Court Road. 

Harrington Gardens itself and the various gardens leading off of it are a treasure trove of photo opportunities for architecture lovers.

Things to do in South Kensington: take an architecture photo walkThings to do in South Kensington: Pink Door on Bedford Gardens

6. Go Door Hunting in South Kensington

My regular readers know that I absolutely love discovering and photographing doors, especially the doors of Dublin. I even created a neighborhood scavenger hunt that you can try to introduce an element of fun and friendly competition into your door hunt. 

I have to say that South Kensington has an outstanding door game. I was absolutely losing my mind over the doors on Bedford Gardens in particular. 

I can only imagine how atmospheric this area would have been if I had spent Halloween in London. I can just picture the jack-o-lanterns and seasonal wreaths adorning the doors!

Follow the colorful doors on Bedford Gardens in South Kensington toward Notting Hill. You may feel like you've been sucked into a rainbow.

7. Enjoy a Cheeky Pint at the Windsor Castle Pub

London can be prone to rain and it started to pour as we were finishing up our photo walk on Bedford Gardens. We ducked into the Windsor Castle Pub and out of the rain for a pint of craft beer in an atmospheric wood-paneled setting. 

This is a great stop to stay dry or simply to rest your legs before continuing onward from South Kensington to Notting Hill.

8. Take a Notting Hill Photo Walk

We've visited Notting Hill before on a previous trip to London for the Notting Hill Carnival celebrations. I got to see a different side of Notting Hill on this London workcation in South Kensington. 

We wandered onto Uxbridge Street from Campden Hill Road and immediately started winding our way through the little pastel lanes featuring absolutely fabulous doors. 

I have to say that I really wish I lived in a purple house. The uplifting color would make me smile every day! Everywhere we turned neighbors seemed to be trying to outdo each other with color. 

Things to do near South Kensington: Photograph doors in Notting Hill

9. Tour Imperial College London

South Kensington is close to Imperial College London. 

Did you know that Imperial College London is the only university in the United Kingdom to focus exclusively on science, engineering, medicine and business. 

Steep in the scholarly atmosphere of one of the Top 10 universities worldwide and get some extra steps in in the process.

10. Photograph the Stained Glass Michelin Man

Make sure to seek out Michelin House in South Kensington if you love architecture. 

Michelin House is located where Brompton Road meets Sloane Ave. You'll find Art Deco features and the Michelin Man himself peering down from a stained glass window!  

The shop and auto center is now a French restaurant. I don't think it has a Michelin star though ;-)  How times change. I did a full lap around the Michelin building admiring the small architectural details.

Things to do in South Kensington: Visit Michelin House

11. Tour the Natural History Museum

Things to do in South Kensington: Marvel at the whale skeleton in the entrance of the London Natural History Museum

London's Natural History Museum is one of the most popular tourist attractions in London and is definitely one of the top things to do in South Kensington. 

It's easy to be wowed by the grandeur of the Museum of Natural History at a high level. That said, I was even more impressed by the on point details. 

Everywhere we looked scenes from nature looked back at us. London's Museum of Natural History is free to enter, but you need to reserve a timed ticket. 

To be honest, it didn't seem like they were limiting numbers that much. The popular exhibits (e.g., dinosaurs) were teeming with visitors and school groups on a Friday morning in March. 

I really liked the bird-focused exhibition at the Natural History Museum. Paintings of a harpy eagle and shoe-billed stork caught my eye as did a 19th century display of hummingbirds. 

Budget a few hours to properly explore the Natural History Museum.

Bird paintings at the Museum of Natural History in LondonArchitectural details at the Natural History Museum in South Kensington London

12. Visit the Victoria and Albert Museum

The Victoria and Albert Museum is another of South Kensington's free museums and is the largest design museum in the world. The Victoria and Albert Museum features a wide array of applied and decorative arts.

We even spotted a bit of history at the Victoria and Albert Museum:  The damage to these walls is the result of enemy bombing during the blitz of the Second World War 1939-1945 and is left as a memorial to the enduring values of this great museum in a time of conflict

The Victoria and Albert Museum features an amazing cafeteria. We stepped out into the courtyard as the rain was clearing up and treated ourselves to a cup of afternoon tea amid the flowers. 

This really is an idyllic spot to include on your London workcation in South Kensington.
Things to do in South Kensington: The Victoria and Albert Museum

13. Visit Battersea Park 

Things to do near London South Kensington: Battersea Power Station

This next place to visit near South Kensington is slightly further afield. It takes about 30 minutes to walk from Gloucester Road Underground Station to the very edge of Battersea Park. 

I hoofed it toward the Thames and discovered the lovely red-trimmed Chelsea Bridge that would take me across to Battersea Park. Battersea Park is named for the iconic Battersea Power Station (a decommissioned Art Deco coal plant) that lives nearby.  

Battersea Power Station has featured in a number of movies and album covers over the years including the Beatles and Pink Floyd. 

Chelsea BridgePlaces to visit near South Kensington: Peace Pagoda in Battersea Park

I crossed the river and stood at the entrance to Battersea Park. A lovely gazebo, sculptures, and water features add atmosphere to the park. 

Skirting the path through Battersea Park along the Thames, I came upon the Peace Pagoda, an active Buddhist temple and site of contemplation. Continuing along the path, I spotted a pastel bridge in the distance and headed for it to cross the river again and head to work. 

There is a small pastel guard house on Albert Bridge. I saw a notice that caused me to raise an eyebrow:  All troops must break step when marching over this bridge.  

This must be one of those bridges that starts to undulate if you set off vibrations at certain frequencies.  I've heard about it happening in the U.S. when marching bands cross a bridge during local parades. 

Crossing over, the sun projected ornate patterns onto the path. Battersea Park was a lovely and quiet diversion before my workday began and the lovely bridges across the Thames here are an added bonus.

Places to visit near South Kensington London: Albert BridgeAlbert Bridge Notice in London

14. Eat Lebanese Food for Dinner on Gloucester road

Finish a day of exploring the things to do in South Kensington with a late Lebanese dinner across from the Gloucester Road Tube station at Comptoir Libanais. 

You can't go wrong with a mixed grill, lamb kibbeh, and a glass of Lebanese white wine.

Where to Stay in South Kensington London

On our recent London workcation in South Kensington we stayed at The Harrington Residence - 1 Harrington Gardens. We paid about 900 GBP for 6 nights in a large one bedroom apartment which comes out to about 150 GBP per night. 

The apartment itself was a little threadbare, but it was clean, comfortable, and an absolute bargain given the location and the amount of space we had. 

Located at the corner of Gloucester Road and Harrington Gardens, The Harrington Residence is close to the restaurants and shops on Gloucester Road. 

We especially enjoyed picking up Nando's takeaway for dinner, opening a bottle of red wine, and calling it an early night.

Another place we've stayed in South Kensington is Hotel Xenia which features clean, posh rooms that are quite small but have a small price tag (by London standards) to match (also about 150 GBP per night).  

It's an ideal spot for a weekend city break if you're not looking to break the bank. Hotel Xenia is a Marriott Autograph Collection Hotel and is thus a great option if you are pursuing or trying to maintain frequent traveler status with Marriott.

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Things to do in South Kensington LondonThings to do in South Kensington: Free Museums

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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: 14 Cool Things to do in South Kensington (and Nearby) on a London Workcation
14 Cool Things to do in South Kensington (and Nearby) on a London Workcation
Discover things to do in South Kensington and nearby in London. Find out what to do in South Kensington on a London workcation.
Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog