Kensington: the city’s undisputed cultural quarter, home to some of London’s best museums (which remain, amazingly, free to visit); the grandiose Royal Albert Hall, hosting concerts large and small; the annual pop-up opera festival in Holland Park; and the Serpentine Pavilion that appears each summer next to a sprawling, man-made lake.
It’s also sandwiched between two beautiful patches of greenery; Holland Park to the west, with its pocket Kyoto Garden and resident peacocks, and Kensington Gardens (morphing into Hyde Park) to the east, with its resident royalty over in Kensington Palace.
And despite its well-heeled credentials, there’s plenty of things to do on a budget in Kensington. You can spend a day just walking around – start at The Churchill Arms, a pub adorned head to toe in flowers, then go on a crawl of the neighbourhood’s picturesque mews.
But if you’re swinging by just after payday, there are plenty of bars and restaurants worth your attention too…