Kensington hotel visitor briefing

What to expect if you are contemplating staying in Kensington

Harrods Department Store London

Harrods department store, Knightsbridge, Kensington

Kensington is a large district just to the west of the very centre of London. A short journey to most of London's main attractions. There are various sub-districts within the Kensington area, broadly the further east you go towards the centre the more affluent and upmarket things become.

On this page we look at the Earl's Court, Gloucester Road, South Kensington and Kensington High Street districts of Kensington where the vast majority of hotel accommodation is found in Kensington.

Earl's Court Kensington

The Earl's Court hotel district is the furthest west of the hotel districts within Kensington. The centre of the district is Earl's Court Underground Station, all the streets within 5 minutes walk are full of hotel accommodation.


Earl's Court is one of London's leading budget hotel districts and the district is certainly orientated towards the budget traveller with lots of cheap accommodation. Having said that there are a few 4 star hotels, including the Marriott Kensington and many mid-range options including chains like Premier Inn and Best Western.

Although the area is orientated towards the budget end of the market its not unpleasant in any way or seedy and its as safe an area to wander the streets at night as any. There are lots of fast food outlets, coffee shops like Starbucks and many pubs offering value for money food and drink. There are also many convenience stores and unusually for a Central London hotel district, two full size supermarkets Tesco and Sainsbury. This is an area of London where there are quite a few apartments for short holiday let too.

Right opposite Earl's Court Underground Station is Earl's Court Exhibition Centre, one of London's main exhibition halls. Even when there is a major show on here it doesn't seem to affect hotel room rates too much. Chelsea soccer club is also only 10 minutes walk, again when there is a game on it doesn't normally impact on the Earl's Court hotels.

For the most part people staying in Earl's Court will just use their hotel as a base to return to at night and be down to Earl's Court Station to travel somewhere more central during the day time. West Brompton Cemetery at the southern end of Earl's Court is worthwhile visiting. It's about a 15 to 20 minute walk down the Cromwell Road to the South Kensington Museums and Harrods, but most people will take the tube that follows the Cromwell Road right up to Harrods and Knightsbridge Underground.


Earls Court Kensington Exhibition Centre London

Earl's Court Kensington Exhibition Centre

Gloucester Road Kensington

5 minutes walk along the Cromwell Road from Earl's Court is Gloucester Road Underground Station. It's non-stop hotel accommodation all the way but by the time you have reached Gloucester Road Underground a subtle change has taken place in your environment. Hotels around Gloucester Road are dominated by chain 4 star hotels like Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza and Radisson. Most of the global 4 star chains will have many hotels in London, their hotel in Kensington is often the cheapest one available.

Whereas, Earl's Court is dominated by fast food and pubs, here the emphasis is more upmarket with many full service restaurants and coffee shops. The large supermarket here is Waitrose, the UK's most upmarket supermarket chain.


As this area is the first hotel district hit on entering London by road from Heathrow, airline crews use the hotels here a lot. As with most 4 star hotels where business customers are very important, the rates at weekends here can be very attractive, Further to the centre, there is often a premium for weekend stays.


Otherwise, Gloucester Road is very similar to Earl's Court. A value for money place in the 3 to 4 star sector from where you travel into Central London each day on the Underground. Gloucester Road is the furthest out of London the popular hop-on, hop-off sightseeing buses come.

From Gloucester Road its only two or three sets of lights down to the South Kensington Museums (Natural History, Science and V&A) and then another 10 minutes walk to Harrods or Kensington Palace.


South Kensington, Knightsbridge and Kensington High Street

Christmas Ice Rink In Front Of Natural History Museum London

Christmas ice rink in front of Natural History Museum

Going east from Earl's Court to Gloucester Road there is a very slow transition upmarket. Once you go past Gloucester Road and get to South Kensington opposite the museums there is a major shift.


Around the South Kensington Underground there is a small hotel area, slightly more expensive than Gloucester Road but once you go beyond this you are in Knightsbridge, a very wealthy area where some of London's most expensive accommodation is located.

If you go north towards Kensington Gardens from South Kensington there are some very expensive hotels here too.

All of this area around Kensington Gardens and Knightsbridge you pay a big premium to the Gloucester Road / Earl's Court districts and most restaurants and services are also targeting an affluent market.


Wander into the back streets around Kensington High Street and Knightsbridge, look at the prices in local estate agents and you'll realise this is an area for rich people on a global scale.


Kensington in relation to the rest of Central London


London Hotel Districts


Getting around London from Kensington

With the notable exception of the South Kensington Museum you will be using the London Underground to get around. You should be able to get to most places you want to see in Central London within around 20-30 minutes using the Underground.


Most visitors should be purchasing an Oyster Card or Travelcard, the most convenient places in the district to buy from is from the ticket offices of the Underground Stations.

The Piccadilly Line takes you direct into the theatre/entertainment area of Central London whilst the Circle and District Line follows the River Thames and is good for many of the major sights like Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and Tower of London.


A popular option for visitors to get orientated with London is to use the hop-on, hop-off tour buses. There are three major operators, the Original London Tour, the Big Bus and Golden Tours. All have to service Harrods and the South Kensington Museums and come out as far as Gloucester Road, but not beyond to Earl's Court.

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