The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea
“Filled with the affluent and the educated, over half of the borough’s residents have the equivalent of a university degree and more than one fifth work within the financial sector”
Moving to Kensington & Chelsea
Stretching from the River Thames opposite Battersea Park to Kensal Green, this central London borough is renowned for its wealthy residents, opulent properties and prestigious schools, as well as some of the capital’s most high-end shops. Filled with the affluent and the educated, over half of the borough’s residents have the equivalent of a university degree and more than one fifth work within the financial sector, a figure which is second only to residents living in the City of London. Property investment is big business here, with buyers from both home and abroad, and more than 50% of residents were born outside the UK with a relatively high number of Asian, Russian and Middle Eastern residents compared to most other boroughs.
But Kensington and Chelsea isn’t all prosperous investors and multi-million pound properties – there’s an array of different neighbourhoods and communities to be found here, from the charming French community in South Kensington (known to some as the 21st arrondissement of Paris) to vibrant, artistic Notting Hill with its pastel-coloured houses, quirky antique shops and world-famous annual Notting Hill Carnival.
House prices in Kensington & Chelsea
With an average property price of £2,000,000 as of 2017, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea is the most expensive borough in London at nearly four times the London average, and is equally the least affordable borough for renting. Residents here will need to have deep pockets if they’re looking to settle in the borough, although for those who can afford it there are a wide range of properties on offer, stretching from the pretty terraces of Notting Hill, to the chic, contemporary apartments of Knightsbridge.
“Excellent eateries are in abundance here, particularly for those seeking refined, award-winning dining with multiple Michelin-starred restaurants”
Travel in Kensington & Chelsea
Public transport facilities are outstanding in Kensington and Chelsea, with many Underground stations offering services on the Circle, District, Piccadilly, Central, and Hammersmith & City lines, making commuting to anywhere in London fast and easy. The Overground can also be found at the western border of the borough at stations Shepherd’s Bush, Kensington Olympia and West Brompton, and for those in the south-western neighbourhoods, Battersea, Belgravia and Westminster are all within walking distance
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea offers some of the best shopping opportunities in the capital, with everything from vintage treasures to designer brands to be found. Big spenders should head straight to Knightsbridge, home to luxury department store Harrods as well as Harvey Nichols, Prada and Gucci, whilst for high-street brands, independent stores and boutique brands High Street Kensington and the King’s Road offer a myriad of options including The Shop At Bluebird, Urban Outfitters and Nike alongside cosy cafes, rooftop bars and cool restaurants. For something a little more alternative, Portobello Road and the streets of Notting Hill are awash with vintage shops such as One Of A Kind, Frock Me, and Retro Woman, with products ranging from bargain buys to second-hand Chanel.
Excellent eateries are in abundance here, particularly for those seeking refined, award-winning dining with multiple Michelin-starred restaurants such as Five Fields and Kitchen W8. The streets surrounding South Kensington are awash with good French restaurants (largely due to the many Gallic residents), with highlights including Le Colombier, L’Etranger and Aubaine. Meanwhile in Notting Hill, there are plenty of spots to choose from with The Ledbury and Ottolengi particularly beloved by locals.
Kensington and Chelsea is also a hotspot for those seeking to mingle with London’s most glamorous young residents after dark, at high end nightspots such as Raffles, Embargo Republica and Barts Bar. Notting Hill also has a buzzing bar scene, with cool venues including Beach Blanket Babylon, Portobello Star and Trailer Happiness.
Food shopping in Kenginston & Chelsea
The borough offers a very good selection of supermarkets, with multiple branches of major brands such as Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose. It’s also home to a large Whole Foods, and the Queen’s very own grocers, Partridges, on the King’s Road.
Health and sport
Kensington and Chelsea has some of the UK’s healthiest residents, so it comes as no surprise that there are many superb fitness facilities here. Branches of national chains such as PureGym, Soho Gyms and Virgin Active can all be found, as well as many private studios and exclusive facilities including Barrecore Chelsea, Heartcore Fitness, and KX Private Members Health Club.
Home to London’s Museum District, Kensington and Chelsea has more than enough cultural venues to rival the West End. The Science Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Natural History Museum can all be found along the Exhibition Road in South Kensington and are some of the most popular museums in the capital, while other, lesser-known museums and galleries in the area include the Design Museum, the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising and the Saatchi Gallery. Multiple well-respected theatre and music venues can be found in the borough, such as Cadogan Hall, Gate Theatre and Royal Court Theatre, while cinephiles can enjoy various arthouse cinemas, ranging from independent picture houses Electric Cinema and Curzon Chelsea to the French-centric Cinema Lumière.
The borough also hosts a variety of events throughout the year, the largest of which is the colourful, chaotic, Notting Hill Carnival, which takes place on the August Bank Holiday and sees around one million people descending on the streets of Notting Hill for drinking, dancing and celebrations.
“…the borough is dotted with beautiful garden squares, while for larger expanses Kensal Green, Kensington Gardens and Holland Park are firm favourites with both residents and visitors”
Schools and education
Kensington and Chelsea has a very impressive selection of schools, with the borough ranked best in London for exam achievement. For primary-aged children, the Oratory Roman Catholic Primary School, St Barnabas and St Philip’s CofE Primary School and Thomas Jones Primary School are among the best in the borough with 100% of pupils achieving the expected level of English and Maths, while independent prep schools Wetherby Place and Garden House School are highly recommended. For older children, Holland Park School and Cardinal Vaughn Memorial RC School are the leading state options, and Queen’s Gate School and Lycée Francais Charles de Gaulle the best among the borough’s many independent schools.
For higher education, Kensington and Chelsea is home to Imperial College London, which regularly ranks among the top 5 universities in the UK.
Proving that even the most affluent boroughs are not immune to high crime rates, Kensington and Chelsea has the 3rd highest crime rate in London with an average of 121 crimes per 1000 people as of 2015 – almost double the UK average. Shoplifting and theft are particularly problematic here, with both over 100% higher than the London average.
Only 15% of Kensington and Chelsea is made up of green space, a rather low proportion particularly when compared to other inner boroughs such as Ealing. However, the borough is dotted with beautiful garden squares, while for larger expanses Kensal Green, Kensington Gardens and Holland Park are firm favourites with both residents and visitors to the borough. The latter is particularly stunning, spread across 54 acres and home to the romantic ruins of Holland House, as well as an Orangery, a Japanese garden, and an open air theatre.
For budding botanists, on the other hand, Royal Flower Show is a spectacular event, with thousands of floral enthusiasts turning up to enjoy London in full bloom.
Epicentre of the Swinging Sixties, ‘Village of Palaces’ for the peers of Henry VIII, and eternal home of the A-List, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea has a history as lavish as its well heeled residents.
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For more information on how OneDome helps complete your move, get in touch with our friendly team on 020 3868 6262 today.