South Kensington is located in West London. It is an affluent area home to several popular museums, 2 Royal parks, Kensington House which is currently the London Residence of the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge as well as having great places to eat and shop. South Kensington is a good place to explore if you are on a budget. Here are several things to do in South Kensington for under £10…
1. Hyde Park
Hyde Park is a stunning Royal Park to walk around at leisure, relax with a picnic or get involved in something active. Within the extensive grounds there is plenty to discover and it doesn’t have to cost much at all.
Princess Diana Memorial Fountain – free
This wonderful memorial fountain to Princess Diana was opened by The Queen in 2004. On a hot day, sit by the water’s edge, dip your toes in the cool water and relax.
Queen Elizabeth Gate
This gate stands at one of the entrances to Hyde Park and was opened by The Queen in 1993 to celebrate her Mother’s 90th birthday.
The Italian Garden – free
The beautiful Italian garden is filled with fountains and birdlife. This peaceful area is believed to have been a gift from Prince Albert to Queen Victoria. It is the perfect place to relax. Why not treat yourself from the old fashioned ice cream van located just outside the garden, take a seat on one of the benches and unwind.
Open Water Swim – Serpentine Lido – £4.80 before 4pm (summer)
For those who are feeling energetic, the open water swimming area is open on weekends and bank holidays in May and every day from June to early September. Sun loungers can be rented for £3.50 and there is a cafe where you can purchase drinks and snacks.
Hire a boat – £10 for 30 minutes
Rowing and pedal boats can be hired on the Serpentine – £10 for a 30 minute session.
Monuments and Statues within Hyde Park
There are a number of monuments and statues within Hyde Park that you can look for. They include an 18ft statue of Achilles, animals of war memorial, holocaust memorial and a bronze sculpture of Peter Pan. Peter Pan is located where he landed in the creator, J.M. Barrie’s novel.
Hyde Park is home to over 150 species of bird. While walking, see how many you can find.
Check Hyde Park’s website for latest prices, opening times and events.
2. Interesting Architecture
I recently wrote a blog post about ‘must see’ London architecture. One of the places which is worth seeing is the ‘Thin House’ located in South Kensington’s Thurloe Square. This eye catching, 19th Century building is apparently just over 6ft wide at one end.
Kensington High Street is a wonderful place to window shop. Shops include favourites such as H&M, Zara and Oliver Bonas. There is also a super, indoor, organic food market.
4. Japan House
Japan House is located in South Kensington High Street. There are a number of interesting events and workshops that take place here such as a Tenugui wrapping workshop and sake tasting. Additionally there is a shop, snack bar and restaurant. Check out Japan House’s website for latest information about events taking place.
The following museums are free to enter but donations are welcomed. Some of the optional exhibits are chargeable.
The Natural History Museum is a huge and fascinating museum with interesting exhibits of specimens throughout natural history showing the diversity of life on earth. As soon as you enter the museum you are welcomed by a huge skeleton of a blue whale suspended from the ceiling…
This popular museum is home to Stephenson’s Rocket. Arranged over several different levels you can learn about medicine, space, climate change, as well as the evolution of clock and watch making. It has the oldest clock collection in the world!
This diverse museum is the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design and has over 4.5 million objects on display. Exhibits include oils on canvas by Landseer, costumes worn by Madonna, 16th Century tapestries, 15th Century stained glass and jewellery through the ages.
6. Places to Eat
There are a range of restaurants and eateries in South Kensington to suit all budgets. But if you are looking to eat something good for under £10 here are a couple of recommendations…
Thai Square – Bento Boxes and Express Lunch £9.95
The CEO of Thai Square quoted that the ingredients used in the award winning chain of restaurants, are hand selected and flown in direct from Thailand every day. The South Kensington branch is located a short walk from the museums, There are a couple of dining options available for under £10, the Bento Box and some of the express lunches.
The Bento Box offers a choice of spring rolls or sweetcorn cakes, followed by lemongrass soup with mushrooms. The main course is a Thai Green chicken curry or a vegetarian alternative. These are served with steamed jasmine rice and mixed vegetables.
Express dishes included Pad Thai, Drunken Noodles, Fried Rice or Pad Is-ew – Thai street food.
Whole Foods Market
The Whole Foods Market on Kensington High Street has a number of dining options to choose from such as self-serve food bars. These include salads, soups, curries and roasts. There are also pies, breads, pastries and ice cream bars. Plenty to choose from for under £10.
Suggested Further Reading:
Here are links to other places I can recommend while solo in London…
Hotels – Places I have stayed in by myself
Things to do in London – recommended solo activities
Restaurants I have enjoyed dining solo at