SW7 (Kensington and Chelsea) area guide
Kensington and Chelsea
SW7 marks a broad postal code in a roughly triangular shape. Kensington Road acts as the northern border of the area. Fulham Road acts as the southern border as does Old Brompton Road, further east. West Brompton tube station roughly marks the east boundary of SW7, while the intersection of Kensington Road and Old Brompton Road marks the west.
The SW7 postcode district lies within or includes part of the following towns, counties, localities, electoral wards and stations: Brompton, City Of Westminster, Courtfield, Gloucester Road Station, Kensington And Chelsea, Knightsbridge and Belgravia, London, Queen’s Gate, South Kensington Station, Stanley.
Two key events contributed to the creation of the South Kensington we see today. The Great Exhibition at Hyde Park in 1851 and the 1860s construction of the Metropolitan and District railways.
The Great Exhibition raised enough money to construct a collection of museums, including the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum, located on Cromwell Road. Following the exhibition, the museums stayed, along with the beginnings of the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine.
Also following the Great Exhibition, landowners in the area began to develop their property and take advantage of newly-installed roadways. Large Victorian terraced stucco houses were constructed in the area between 1855 and 1875. In 1868, the Underground officially connected South Kensington to Westminster and the City of London, thereby creating easy access into the economic and political hubs of the city. Later in the 19th century, a second wave of construction resulted in red brick mansion flats.
Today, the leafy streets, abundance of shopping opportunities and proximity to Kensington Gardens and cultural outlets, makes this area one of the most desirable in London. The presence of Imperial College draws a large student population and South Kensington is decidedly multicultural, with a strong French presence in particular.
The main roads in South Kensington are Kensington Road, Cromwell Road, Old Brompton Road and Gloucester Road, which bisects Cromwell Road and Old Brompton Road in a north-to-south direction.
Kensington Road follows the border of Kensington Gardens which is, in conjunction with Hyde Park, the largest track of open park space in London. On the opposite side of the road are the Royal Albert Hall and desirable residential areas such as Trevor Square, Rutland Gate and Montpelier Square.
Montpelier Square, comprised of Montpelier Terrace, Montpelier Street, Cheval Place and Montpelier Walk, is within walking distance of Harrods. The square features a private central garden surrounded by four and five storey houses.
Old Brompton Road is more commercial than residential, boasting five-star hotels and shops including the fine-art auctioneer, Christie’s. Harrington Road runs parallel to Old Brompton and represents the second-wave red-brick residential construction mentioned above. One side of the road is tree-lined, whereas the other faces a communal garden.
Cromwell Road, a busy four-lane thoroughfare, is surrounded on both sides by upscale hotels and a variety of restaurants. Going east past Queen’s Gate, you’ll run into the Natural History Museum on your left and the Victoria & Albert Museum just past Exhibition Road.
Gloucester Road is also stacked with eateries, convenience stores and hotels. Streets branching off Gloucester Road, however, such as Queen’s Gate, Elvaston Place and Queen’s Gate Terrace are almost traffic free havens. A few hotels, restaurants and embassies grace the broad Queen’s Gate, whose residential units consist mainly of white-stucco houses with wide, columned porches. Queen’s Gate Terrace is also a spacious residential street, featuring Victorian buildings similar to those on Queen’s Gate. Elvaston Mews, too, is very wide, but the buildings feature a cream-coloured brick, as opposed to stucco. Wander a street away from Gloucester Road and one sees charming mews such as Cornwall Mews West; a cul-de-sac with two-storey houses and modest roof gardens.
Average property values for the South Kensington area range from £750,000 to £2 million. Neville Street, in the northeast corner of the postcode district, is the most desirable street. Three and four-storey houses grace the street, which stretches from Fulham Road to Onslow Gardens.
The wealth that surrounds SW7 brings with it a profusion of posh local shops and entertainment. The Cromwell Road, Fulham Road, and Old Brompton Road are littered with newsagents, antique dealers, boutique book stores, and fancy eateries. The Natural History Museum, Victoria & Albert Museum, and the Science Museum all reside in the northern section of SW7 on
Exhibition Road . Also, Royal Albert Hall is just around the corner on Prince Consort Road . Continue north on Exhibition Road and you will run straight into Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. Together, they are 625 acres of beautifully designed public gardens with plush green grass and lots of open space.
In the heart of SW7 lies South Kensington underground station. This station caters to the Piccadilly, Circle, and District line trains.
There are many notable pubs, bars, and clubs in the area too. The Anglsea Arms, on Onslow Gardens , is one of the last truly “free” houses serving wonderful beer. Boujis, the very posh and quite famous nightclub is located next to the South Kensington Underground station.