St Mary Abbots Church, viewed from Church St, before junction with Kensington High Street
|Population||64,681 (2011 census)|
|OS grid reference|
|Ceremonial county||Greater London|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Postcode district||SW5, SW7|
|Postcode district||W8, W14|
Kensington is a district in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in the West of Central London.
The district's commercial heart is Kensington High Street, running on an east–west axis. The north-east is taken up by Kensington Gardens, containing the Albert Memorial, the Serpentine Gallery and Speke's monument. South Kensington and Gloucester Road are home to Imperial College London, the Royal College of Music, the Royal Albert Hall, Natural History Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, and Science Museum. The area is also home to many international embassies and consulates.
The manor of Chenesitone is listed in the Domesday Book of 1086,which in the Anglo-Saxon language means "Chenesi's ton" (homestead/settlement). One early spelling is Kesyngton, as written in 1396.
The manor of Kensington, in the county of Middlesex, was one of several hundred granted by King William the Conqueror (1066-1089) to Geoffrey de Montbray (or Mowbray), Bishop of Coutances in Normandy, one of his inner circle of advisors and one of the wealthiest men in post-Conquest England. He granted the tenancy of Kensington to his follower Aubrey de Vere I, who was holding the manor from him as overlord in 1086, according to the Domesday Book. The bishop's heir, Robert de Mowbray, rebelled against King William II and his vast feudal barony was forfeited to the Crown. Aubrey de Vere I thus became a tenant-in-chief, holding directly from the king after 1095, which increased his status in feudal England.He granted the church and an estate within the manor to Abingdon Abbey in Oxfordshire, at the deathbed request of his eldest son Geoffrey. As the de Veres became Earls of Oxford, their principal manor at Kensington came to be known as Earl's Court, as they were not resident in the manor, and their manorial business was not conducted in the great hall of a manor house but in a courthouse. In order to differentiate it, the new sub-manor granted to Abingdon Abbey became known as Abbot's Kensington and the church St Mary Abbots .
The original Kensington Barracks, built at Kensington Gate in the late 18th century, were demolished in 1858 and new barracks were built in Kensington Church Street.
In 2022 12.2% of Kensington residents have been granted non domicile status to avoid paying tax in the UK.
The focus of the area is Kensington High Street, a busy commercial centre with many shops, typically upmarket. The street was declared London's second best shopping street in February 2005 due to its wide range and number of shops.However, since October 2008 the street has faced competition from the Westfield shopping centre in nearby White City.
Kensington's second group of commercial buildings is at South Kensington, where several streets of small to medium-sized shops and service businesses are situated close to South Kensington tube station. This is also the southern end of Exhibition Road, the thoroughfare which serves the area's museums and educational institutions.
The boundaries of Kensington are not well-defined; in particular, the southern part of Kensington has conflicting and complex borders with Chelsea (another ancient manor) whether electoral or postal definitions are used, and has similar architecture. To the west, a border is clearly defined by the line of the Counter Creek marked by the West London railway line. To the north, the only obvious border line is Holland Park Avenue, to the north of which is the district of Notting Hill (another ancient manor), usually classed as within "North Kensington".
In the north east is situated the large public Royal Park of Kensington Gardens (contiguous with its eastern neighbour, Hyde Park). The other main green area in Kensington is Holland Park, on the north side of the eastern end of Kensington High Street. Many residential roads have small communal garden squares, for the exclusive use of the residents.
The sub districts of Kensington: South Kensington and Earl's Court also consist largely of private housing. North Kensington and West Kensington are largely devoid of features to attract the visitor.
Kensington is, in general, an extremely affluent area, a trait that it shares with Chelsea, its neighbour to the south. The area has some of London's most expensive streets and garden squares, and at about the turn of the 21st century the Holland Park neighbourhood became particularly high-status. In early 2007 houses sold in Upper Phillimore Gardens, immediately east of Holland Park, for over £20 million. Brompton is another definable area of Kensington.
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea forms part of the most densely populated local government district in the United Kingdom. This high density has come about through the subdivision of large mid-rise Georgian and Victorian terraced houses (generally of four to six floors) into flats. The less-affluent northern extremity of Kensington has high-rise residential buildings, while this type of building in the southern part is only represented by the Holiday Inn's London Kensington Forum Hotel in Cromwell Road, a 27-storey building.
Notable attractions and institutions in Kensington include: Kensington Palace in Kensington Gardens; the Royal Albert Hall opposite the Albert Memorial in Hyde Park; the Royal College of Music; the Natural History Museum; the Science Museum; the Victoria and Albert Museum; Heythrop College; Imperial College; the Royal College of Art and Kensington and Chelsea College. The Olympia Exhibition Hall is just over the western border in West Kensington.
Kensington is administered within the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, and lies within the Kensington parliamentary constituency.
The head office of newspaper group DMGT is located in Northcliffe House off Kensington High Streetin part of the large Barkers department store building. In addition to housing the offices for the DMGT newspapers Daily Mail , Mail on Sunday and Metro , Northcliffe House also accommodates the offices of the newspapers owned by Evgeny Lebedev: The Independent , The Independent on Sunday , and the Evening Standard . The i newspaper, sold to Johnston Press in 2016, is still produced from offices in Northcliffe House. Most of these titles were for many decades produced and printed in Fleet Street in the City of London.
The building also houses Lebedev's TV channel London Live, with its news studio situated in part of the former department store, using St Mary Abbots church and Kensington Church Street as live backdrop.
Kensington is crossed east–west by three main roads, the most important of which is the A4 Cromwell Road which connects it to Central London on the east and to Hounslow and Heathrow Airport on the west. Parallel to the north is Kensington Road (of which Kensington High Street forms the eastern part), linking central London and Hammersmith and Hounslow to the area. To the south is Fulham Road, which connects South Kensington with Fulham to the south-west. North-south connections are not as well-developed and there is no obvious single north–south route through the area.
Kensington is well served by public transport. Most of Kensington is served by three stations in the Travelcard Zone 1: High Street Kensington, Gloucester Road and South Kensington. All three are served by the Circle line which connects them to London's railway terminals. The District line also serves all three stations, albeit on different branches; it links the latter two to Westminster and the City. The Piccadilly line also links South Kensington and Gloucester Road to the West End in about 10 minutes, and in the other direction to Chiswick, Ealing, Hounslow and Heathrow Airport in around 20–40 minutes, depending on the area of choice. In addition Kensington (Olympia) in Travelcard Zone 2 serves the western part of Kensington, with District line trains to Earl's Court and High Street Kensington. Nearby West Kensington station takes its name from the former boundaries with Hammersmith and is not in the Borough.
A number of local bus services link Kensington into the surrounding districts, and key hubs are Kensington High Street and South Kensington station. These bus services were improved in frequency and spread from 2007 until 2010 when the western extension of the London congestion charge area existed (which required drivers of cars and vans during the charging hours Monday-Friday to pay a daily fee of £8).
In 2020 a temporary cycle lane on Kensington High Street caused a nationwide media stir.The temporary cycle lane was installed by the local council in September 2020 with £700,000 in funding from central government grants, but it was removed in December 2020.
Kensington has one football team, Kensington Borough F.C., which currently plays in the Combined Counties Football League.
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Hounslow is a large suburban district of West London, 10.7 miles (17.2 km) west-southwest of Charing Cross. It is the administrative centre of the London Borough of Hounslow, and is identified in the London Plan as one of the 12 metropolitan centres in Greater London.
The London Borough of Hounslow is a London borough in West London, England, forming part of Outer London. It was created in 1965 when three smaller Middlesex council areas amalgamated under the London Government Act 1963. It is governed by Hounslow London Borough Council.
Feltham is a town in West London, England, 13 miles (21 km) from Charing Cross. Historically part of Middlesex, it became part of the London Borough of Hounslow in 1965. The parliamentary constituency of Feltham and Heston has been held by Labour Party MPs since 1992. In 2011, the population of the combined census area of Feltham, Bedfont and Hanworth was 63,368.
Isleworth is a town located within the London Borough of Hounslow in West London, England. It lies immediately east of the town of Hounslow and west of the River Thames and its tributary the River Crane. Isleworth's original area of settlement, alongside the Thames, is known as 'Old Isleworth'. The north-west corner of the town, bordering on Osterley to the north and Lampton to the west, is known as 'Spring Grove'.
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea is an Inner London borough with royal status. It is the smallest borough in London and the second smallest district in England; it is one of the most densely populated administrative regions in the United Kingdom. It includes affluent areas such as Notting Hill, Kensington, South Kensington, Chelsea, and Knightsbridge.
Knightsbridge is a residential and retail district in central London, south of Hyde Park. It is identified in the London Plan as one of two international retail centres in London, alongside the West End.
Notting Hill is a district of West London, England, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Notting Hill is known for being a cosmopolitan and multicultural neighbourhood, hosting the annual Notting Hill Carnival and Portobello Road Market. From around 1870, Notting Hill had an association with artists.
Chelsea is an affluent area in west London, England, situated south-west of the City of Westminster. It lies on the north bank of the River Thames and for postal purposes is part of the south-western postal area.
Earl's Court is a district of Kensington in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in West London, bordering the rail tracks of the West London line and District line that separate it from the ancient borough of Fulham to the west, the sub-districts of South Kensington to the east, Chelsea to the south and Kensington to the northeast. It lent its name to the now defunct eponymous pleasure grounds opened in 1887 followed by the pre–World War II Earls Court Exhibition Centre, as one of the country's largest indoor arenas and a popular concert venue, until its closure in 2014. The area has long been known as "Bedsitter Land" with many of its stuccoed terraces converted into studio flats, hotels and hostels.
Kensington High Street is the main shopping street in Kensington, London. The area is identified in the London Plan as one of 35 major centres in Greater London.
South Kensington is a district just west of Central London in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Historically it settled on part of the scattered Middlesex village of Brompton. Its name was supplanted with the advent of the railways in the late 19th century and the opening and naming of local tube stations. The area is known as a popular tourist destination owing to the density of museums and cultural landmarks. Adjacent affluent centres such as Knightsbridge, Chelsea and Kensington, have been considered as some of the most exclusive real estate in the world. Since the First World War it has become a cosmopolitan area attracting Belgian and French refugees, but also Poles during the Second World War and after, and latterly Spanish, Italian, American, and Middle-Eastern expatriates. The French presence is emphasised by the Lycée Français Charles de Gaulle, the French Institute, hosting the Ciné Lumière a window on French cinema and the Alliance française and the French consulate, among other diplomatic residences. With a French bookshop and many international cafés in the area, it has been called Paris’s 21st arrondissement.
Kensington (Olympia) is a combined rail and tube station in Kensington, on the edge of Central London. Services are provided by London Overground, who manage the station, along with Southern and London Underground. It is in Travelcard Zone 2. On the Underground it is the terminus of a short District line branch from Earl's Court, originally built as part of the Middle Circle. On the main-line railway it is on the West London Line from Clapham Junction to Willesden Junction, by which trains bypass inner London. The station's name is drawn from its location in Kensington and the adjacent Olympia exhibition centre.
The Metropolitan District Railway, also known as the District Railway, was a passenger railway that served London from 1868 to 1933. Established in 1864 to complete an "inner circle" of lines connecting railway termini in London, the first part of the line opened using gas-lit wooden carriages hauled by steam locomotives. The Metropolitan Railway operated all services until the District Railway introduced its own trains in 1871. The railway was soon extended westwards through Earl's Court to Fulham, Richmond, Ealing and Hounslow. After completing the inner circle and reaching Whitechapel in 1884, it was extended to Upminster in Essex in 1902.
Whitton is an area in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, England. Historically, the boundaries of Whitton were the north-western part of Twickenham manor, bounded internally by the sections of the River Crane and the Duke of Northumberland's River.
West Kensington, formerly North End, is an area in the ancient parish of Fulham, in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, England, 3.4 miles (5.5 km) west of Charing Cross. It covers most of the London postal area of W14, including the area around Barons Court tube station, and is defined as the area between Lillie Road and Hammersmith Road to the west, Fulham Palace Road to the south, Hammersmith to the north and West Brompton and Earl's Court to the east. The area is bisected by the major London artery the A4, locally known as the Talgarth Road. Its main local thoroughfare is the North End Road.
Brompton, sometimes called Old Brompton, survives in name as a ward in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in London. Until the latter half of the 19th century it was a scattered village made up mostly of market gardens in the county of Middlesex. It lay south-east of the village of Kensington, abutting the parish of St Margaret's, Westminster at the hamlet of Knightsbridge to the north-east, with Little Chelsea to the south. It was bisected by the Fulham Turnpike, the main road westward out of London to the ancient parish of Fulham and on to Putney and Surrey. It saw its first parish church, Holy Trinity Brompton, only in 1829. Today the village has been comprehensively eclipsed by segmentation due principally to railway development culminating in London Underground lines, and its imposition of station names, including Knightsbridge, South Kensington and Gloucester Road as the names of stops during accelerated urbanisation, but lacking any cogent reference to local history and usage or distinctions from neighbouring settlements.
West Brompton is an area of south-west London, that straddles the boundary between the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham and Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. The centuries-old boundary was traced by Counter's Creek, now lost beneath the West London Line railway.
Cadogan Group Limited and its subsidiaries, including Cadogan Estates Limited, are British property investment and management companies that are owned by the Cadogan family, one of the richest families in the United Kingdom, which also holds the titles of Earl Cadogan and Viscount Chelsea, the latter used as a courtesy title by the Earl's eldest son. The Cadogan Group is the main landlord in the west London districts of Chelsea and Knightsbridge, and it is now the second largest of the surviving aristocratic Freehold Estates in Central London, after the Duke of Westminster's Grosvenor Estate, to which it is adjacent, covering Mayfair and Belgravia.