|Local authority||Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea|
|Managed by||London Underground|
|Number of platforms||4|
|London Underground annual entry and exit|
|2017||33.86 million |
|2018||32.25 million |
|2019||33.07 million |
|2020||9.81 million |
|2021||10.82 million |
|1 October 1868||Opened (MR)|
|24 December 1868||Started (DR)|
|1 February 1872||Started "Outer Circle" (NLR)|
|1 August 1872||Started "Middle Circle" (H&CR/DR)|
|30 June 1900||Ended "Middle Circle"|
|15 December 1906||Opened (GNP&BR)|
|31 December 1908||Ended "Outer Circle"|
|1949||Started (Circle line)|
|WGS84||51°29′39″N0°10′26″W / 51.4941°N 0.1738°W Coordinates: 51°29′39″N0°10′26″W / 51.4941°N 0.1738°W|
South Kensington is a London Underground station in the district of South Kensington, south west London. It is served by the District, Circle and Piccadilly lines.  On the District and Circle lines it is between Gloucester Road and Sloane Square, and on the Piccadilly line between Gloucester Road and Knightsbridge. It is in Travelcard Zone 1. The main station entrance is located at the junction of Old Brompton Road (A3218), Thurloe Place, Harrington Road, Onslow Place and Pelham Street. Subsidiary entrances are located in Exhibition Road giving access by pedestrian tunnel to the Natural History, Science and Victoria and Albert Museums. Also close by are the Royal Albert Hall, Imperial College London, the Royal College of Music, the London branch of the Goethe-Institut and the Ismaili Centre.
The station is in two parts: sub-surface platforms opened in 1868 by the Metropolitan Railway and the District Railway as part of the companies' extension of the Inner Circle route eastwards from Gloucester Road to Westminster and deep level platforms opened in 1906 by the Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway. A variety of underground and main line services have operated over the sub-surface tracks, which have been modified several times to suit operational demands with the current arrangement being achieved in the 1960s. The deep-level platforms have remained largely unaltered, although the installation of escalators in the 1970s to replace lifts improved interchanges between the two parts of the station. Parts of the sub-surface station and the Exhibition Road pedestrian tunnel are Grade II listed.
The station was opened on 24 December 1868 by the Metropolitan Railway (MR, later the Metropolitan line) and the District Railway (DR, later the District line). The MR had previously opened an extension from Paddington (Praed Street) (now Paddington) to Gloucester Road on 1 October 1868 and opened tracks to South Kensington to connect to the DR when the DR opened the first section of its line to Westminster.  The original South Kensington station, designed by the MR's engineer John Fowler,  had two platforms although it was intended that this would be supplemented as DR services extended. 
On 1 August 1870, the DR opened additional tracks between Gloucester Road and South Kensington. On 10 July 1871, the DR opened its own facilities at South Kensington.  The enlarged station had two through platforms for each company and a bay platform for terminating MR trains from the west. The junction between the two companies' tracks was also moved from the west side of the station to the east side. 
On 1 February 1872, the DR opened a northbound branch from its station at Earl's Court to connect to the West London Extension Joint Railway (WLEJR, now the West London Line) at Addison Road (now Kensington (Olympia)).  From that date the Outer Circle service began running over the DR's tracks. The service was run by the North London Railway (NLR) from its terminus at Broad Street (now demolished) in the City of London via the North London Line to Willesden Junction, then the West London Line to Addison Road and the DR to Mansion House – at that time the eastern terminus of the DR. 
From 1 August 1872, the Middle Circle service also began operations through South Kensington, running from Moorgate along the MR's tracks on the north side of the Inner Circle to Paddington, then over the Hammersmith & City Railway (H&CR) track to Latimer Road, then, via a now demolished link, on the WLEJR to Addison Road and the DR to Mansion House. The service was operated jointly by the H&CR and the DR. 
On 4 May 1885, the DR opened a pedestrian subway running from the station beneath the length of Exhibition Road, giving sheltered access to the newly built museums for a toll of 1 penny. Although it had cost £42,614 to construct (approximately £4.9 million today),  it was closed on 10 November 1886 and afterwards was opened only occasionally for special museum events. In 1890, the South Kensington and Paddington Subway (SK&PS), a proposed cut-and-cover railway planned to run from South Kensington to Paddington station, offered to purchase the under-used pedestrian subway for use as the first section of its tunnel. At 18 feet (5.5 m) wide and 11 feet (3.4 m) high the subway could have accommodated two tracks without difficulty, but the SK&PS's controversial plan to excavate a trench across Hyde Park was opposed and the railway withdrew its private bill from Parliament in March 1891.  The DR continued to open the subway intermittently and charged a toll until 1908, when it was opened permanently for free.  On 30 June 1900, the Middle Circle service was withdrawn between Earl's Court and Mansion House,  and, on 31 December 1908, the Outer Circle service was also shortened to terminate at Earl's Court.  In 1907, the current arcaded station entrance was opened to a design by George Sherrin. 
In 1949, the Metropolitan line-operated Inner Circle route was given its own identity on the tube map as the Circle line.  In June 1957, the reversing bay track was taken out of use and the track bed was later filled to connect the two island platforms.  The eastbound MR platform (Number 1) and westbound DR platform (Number 4) were taken out of use in January 1966 and March 1969 respectively.  The tracks for these platforms were also removed and platform 4 was subsequently demolished in the early 1970s to allow escalators to be provided to the Piccadilly line.  The widened island platform is now served by the District and Circle lines in both directions. Following the closure of platforms 1 and 4, platform 3 was renumbered as 1. The current arrangement has trains running in opposite directions to the original layout. During service disruption or engineering works, trains can also run Eastbound from Platform 1. The arcaded station entrance and shops, the brick retaining walls to the sub-surface platforms and the Exhibition Road pedestrian tunnel are Grade II listed structures.  
Over the decades, there were also a number of aborted attempts to build above the station with hotels, offices and a shopping mall proposed at times. None were built.
By the beginning of the 20th century, the DR had been extended to Richmond, Ealing Broadway, Hounslow West and Wimbledon in the west and to New Cross Gate in the east. The southern section of the Inner Circle was suffering considerable congestion between South Kensington and Mansion House, between which stations the DR was running an average of 20 trains per hour with more in the peak periods. 
To relieve the congestion, the DR planned an express deep-level tube line starting from a connection to its sub-surface tracks west of Gloucester Road and running to Mansion House. The tunnels were planned to run about 60 to 70 feet (18–21 m) beneath the existing sub-surface route with only one intermediate stop at Charing Cross (now Embankment). Parliamentary approval was obtained in 1897 but no work was done.   In 1898, the DR took over the Brompton and Piccadilly Circus Railway (B&PCR) which had a route planned from South Kensington to Piccadilly Circus. The route was modified to join the DR deep-level route at South Kensington. 
Following the purchase of the DR by the Underground Electric Railways Company of London in 1902, the planned DR and B&PCR lines were merged with a third proposed route from the Great Northern and Strand Railway. The DR deep-level route was revised at its western end to continue to Earl's Court and surface to the east of Barons Court. 
The deep-level platforms were opened on 15 December 1906 by the Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway (GNP&BR, now the Piccadilly line) which ran between Finsbury Park and Hammersmith.  The platforms are placed eastbound above westbound and were originally served by lifts from street level stopping at both platform levels. Eastbound GNP&BR trains and DR trains would have shared the same platform with the two routes separating at a junction immediately to the east of the station. Westbound trains would have had separate platforms at the lower level with the routes merging at a junction west of the station. Although construction of the section of the DR tube route east of South Kensington had been postponed, a partial, 120-foot (37 m) long, section of the westbound DR platform was built along with the two for GNP&BR use. Though closed-off from the rest of the station, it was linked to the lift lobby and was tiled to match the other platforms. Enlarged tunnel sections for the junctions were constructed with the original running tunnels and remain visible from passing trains.  A new surface building on Pelham Street for the lifts was designed by Leslie Green with the GNP&BR's distinctive ox-blood red glazed terracotta façade. 
The unused westbound tunnel was used during World War I to store art from the Victoria & Albert Museum and china from Buckingham Palace and, from 1927 to 1939, was used as a signalling school. During World War II it contained equipment to detect bombs falling in the River Thames which might require the emergency floodgates on the under-river tunnels to be closed. 
In the early 1970s the lifts to the Piccadilly line platforms were replaced by escalators, with one pair being provided between the ticket hall and a new intermediate level, where it met a linking passageway to the Circle and District line platforms, and three being provided from there to a lower concourse between the levels of the two Piccadilly line platforms. Stairs up and down from the lower concourse connect to the platforms. The stairs and passage to the westbound platform are located in the disused DR westbound platform tunnel.  With the introduction of escalators, the GNP&BR station building was taken out of use.
In February 2021, access to the Piccadilly line was closed in order to replace the escalators. The work was completed by June 2022.  
Many stations on the Circle line which were originally constructed in open cuttings have been subject to air-rights developments where cuttings have been roofed over with buildings built above. [note 1] South Kensington station and the adjacent shop premises occupy a site of approximately 0.77 hectares (1.9 acres)  and proposals for redevelopment of the station and the site have been made a number of times since 1989 without success.  [note 2] In December 2016, Transport for London published outline proposals prepared by architects BuckleyGrayYeoman for a redevelopment of the buildings to the west of the station arcade and in Thurloe Street and space to the south of the station cutting on Pelham Street.  The proposal includes bringing the disused northern platform back into use for eastbound trains, a new entrance to Thurloe Street, a reconfigured ticket hall and provision of step-free access throughout the station. 
The station is in Travelcard Zone 1 On the District and Circle lines, the station is between Gloucester Road and Sloane Square, and on the Piccadilly line, it is between Gloucester Road and Knightsbridge. South Kensington is the easternmost interchange between these three lines. Train frequencies vary throughout the day, but generally District line trains operate every 2–6 minutes from approximately 05:15 to 00:30 eastbound and 05:45 to 00:45 westbound; they are supplemented by Circle line trains every 8–12 minutes from approximately 05:30 to 00:30 clockwise and 05:40 to 00:15 anticlockwise. Piccadilly line trains operate every 2–6 minutes from approximately 05:40 to 00:25 eastbound and 05:50 to 00:40 westbound.  
On the Piccadilly line 1973 Stock is used. On the Circle and District lines S Stock is used. 
London Buses routes 14, 49, 70, 74, 345, 360, 414, 430 and C1 and night routes N74 and N97 serve the station.   There is a Santander Cycles rental station north of the station in Thurlow Street. 
South Kensington is one of two tube stations (the other being Sloane Square) mentioned in the song "When you're lying awake" from the operetta Iolanthe by Gilbert and Sullivan. 
The District line is a London Underground line running from Upminster in the east and Edgware Road in the west to Earl's Court in west London, where it splits into multiple branches. One branch runs to Wimbledon in south-west London and a short branch, with a limited service, only runs for one stop to Kensington (Olympia). The main route continues west from Earl's Court to Turnham Green after which it divides again into two western branches, to Richmond and Ealing Broadway.
Charing Cross is a London Underground station at Charing Cross in the City of Westminster. The station is served by the Bakerloo and Northern lines and provides an interchange with Charing Cross mainline station. On the Bakerloo line it is between Embankment and Piccadilly Circus stations and on the Northern line it is between Embankment and Leicester Square stations. The station is in fare zone 1.
Embankment is a London Underground station in the City of Westminster, known by various names during its history. It is served by the Circle, District, Northern and Bakerloo lines. On the Bakerloo line and the Charing Cross branch of the Northern line, the station is between Waterloo and Charing Cross stations; on the Circle and District lines, it is between Westminster and Temple and is in Travelcard Zone 1. The station has two entrances, one on Victoria Embankment and the other on Villiers Street. The station is adjacent to Victoria Embankment Gardens and is close to Charing Cross station, Embankment Pier, Hungerford Bridge, Cleopatra's Needle, the Royal Air Force Memorial, the Savoy Chapel and Savoy Hotel and the Playhouse and New Players Theatres.
Aldwych is a closed station on the London Underground, located in the City of Westminster in Central London. It was opened in 1907 with the name Strand, after the street on which it is located. It was the terminus of the short Piccadilly line branch from Holborn that was a relic of the merger of two railway schemes. The station building is close to the Strand's junction with Surrey Street, near Aldwych. During its lifetime, the branch was the subject of a number of unrealised extension proposals that would have seen the tunnels through the station extended southwards, usually to Waterloo.
Baker Street is a London Underground station at the junction of Baker Street and the Marylebone Road in the City of Westminster. It is one of the original stations of the Metropolitan Railway (MR), the world's first underground railway, opened on 10 January 1863.
Oxford Circus is a London Underground station serving Oxford Circus at the junction of Regent Street and Oxford Street, with entrances on all four corners of the intersection. The station is an interchange between the Bakerloo, Central and Victoria lines. As of 2021, it was the fourth-busiest station on the London Underground. On the Central line it is between Bond Street and Tottenham Court Road, on the Bakerloo line it is between Regent's Park and Piccadilly Circus, and on the Victoria line it is between Green Park and Warren Street. The station is in Travelcard Zone 1.
Green Park is a London Underground station located on the edge of Green Park, with entrances on both sides of Piccadilly. It is served by the Jubilee, Piccadilly and Victoria lines. On the Jubilee line it is between Bond Street and Westminster; on the Piccadilly line it is between Piccadilly Circus and Hyde Park Corner and on the Victoria line it is between Victoria and Oxford Circus. It is in fare zone 1.
Westminster is a London Underground station in the City of Westminster. It is served by the Circle, District and Jubilee lines. On the Circle and District lines, the station is between St James's Park and Embankment, and on the Jubilee line it is between Green Park and Waterloo. It is in Travelcard Zone 1. The station is located at the corner of Bridge Street and Victoria Embankment and is close to the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Parliament Square, Whitehall, Westminster Bridge, and the London Eye. Also close by are Downing Street, the Cenotaph, Westminster Millennium Pier, the Treasury, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and the Supreme Court.
Earl's Court tube station is a Grade II listed London Underground station in Earl's Court, London, on the District and Piccadilly lines. It is an important interchange for both lines and is situated in both Travelcard Zone 1 and Zone 2. The station has an eastern entrance on Earl's Court Road and a western entrance on Warwick Road. Another former entrance allowed passengers to enter the station from the other side of Warwick Road, via a ticket hall and subway leading to a concourse beneath the District line platforms. Earl's Court is a step-free tube station; the Earls Court Road entrance provides lift access between street and platform levels.
Euston Square is a London Underground station at the corner of Euston Road and Gower Street, just north of University College London – its main entrance faces the tower of University College Hospital. The multi-interchange Euston station is beyond Euston Square Gardens, which is one street east. The station is between Great Portland Street and King's Cross St Pancras on the Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines in Travelcard Zone 1.
Gloucester Road is a London Underground station in Kensington, west London. The station entrance is located close to the junction of Gloucester Road and Cromwell Road. Close by are the Cromwell Hospital and Baden-Powell House.
Mansion House is a London Underground station in the City of London which takes its name from Mansion House, the residence of the Lord Mayor of London. It opened in 1871 as the eastern terminus of the Metropolitan District Railway. Today, Mansion House is served by the Circle and District lines. It is between Blackfriars and Cannon Street stations and it is in fare zone 1. The station is located at the junction of Queen Victoria Street and Cannon Street.
Barons Court is a London Underground station in West Kensington in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, Greater London. This station serves the District line and the Piccadilly line. Barons Court is between West Kensington and Hammersmith on the District line, and between Earl's Court and Hammersmith on the Piccadilly line and is in Travelcard Zone 2. East of the station, the Piccadilly line descends into tunnel towards Earl's Court and the District line continues in a cutting to West Kensington. The station is the last open air stop for eastbound trains on the Piccadilly line until Arnos Grove and has cross-platform interchange with the District line.
Ealing Common is a London Underground station on the Uxbridge branch of the Piccadilly line and on the Ealing Broadway branch of the District line. Eastbound, the next station is Acton Town; westbound, the next station is North Ealing on the Piccadilly line and Ealing Broadway on the District line. Here, the District and Piccadilly lines share the same pair of tracks through the station – the only other example where a deep level line and a sub surface line share the same pair of tracks is further up the Uxbridge branch, where the Piccadilly line shares tracks with the Metropolitan line from Rayners Lane to Uxbridge. It is the only station west of Acton Town to be served by both the Piccadilly and District lines.
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.
The Central London Railway (CLR), also known as the Twopenny Tube, was a deep-level, underground "tube" railway that opened in London in 1900. The CLR's tunnels and stations form the central section of the London Underground's Central line.
Stamford Brook is a London Underground station on the eastern edge of Chiswick in west London. The station is served by the District line and is between Ravenscourt Park and Turnham Green stations. The main entrance is located on Goldhawk Road (A402) with a secondary entrance on Prebend Gardens. It is in Travelcard Zone 2. The station takes its name from Stamford Brook, a tributary of the River Thames that is now predominantly underground. The Piccadilly line uses the inside tracks, but does not stop here except on rare occasions
The Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway (GNP&BR), also known as the Piccadilly tube, was a railway company established in 1902 that constructed a deep-level underground "tube" railway in London. The GNP&BR was formed through a merger of two older companies, the Brompton and Piccadilly Circus Railway (B&PCR) and the Great Northern and Strand Railway (GN&SR). It also incorporated part of a tube route planned by a third company, the District Railway (DR). The combined company was a subsidiary of the Underground Electric Railways Company of London (UERL).
The Underground Electric Railways Company of London Limited (UERL), known operationally as the Underground for much of its existence, was established in 1902. It was the holding company for the three deep-level "tube" underground railway lines opened in London during 1906 and 1907: the Baker Street and Waterloo Railway, the Charing Cross, Euston and Hampstead Railway and the Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway. It was also the parent company from 1902 of the District Railway, which it electrified between 1903 and 1905. The UERL is a precursor of today's London Underground; its three tube lines form the central sections of today's Bakerloo, Northern and Piccadilly lines.
Paddington is a London Underground station served by the Bakerloo, Circle and District lines. It is located on Praed Street to the south of Paddington mainline station and has entrances from Praed Street and from within the mainline station. On the Bakerloo line the station is between Warwick Avenue and Edgware Road and on the Circle and District lines it is between Bayswater and Edgware Road. It is in London Fare Zone 1.
|Preceding station||London Underground||Following station|
| Gloucester Road |
towards Edgware Road
|Circle line|| Sloane Square |
towards Hammersmith via Tower Hill
| Gloucester Road |
towards Wimbledon, Richmond or Ealing Broadway
|District line|| Sloane Square |
| Gloucester Road |
towards Uxbridge, Rayners Lane or Heathrow Airport (Terminal 4 or Terminal 5)
|Piccadilly line|| Knightsbridge |
towards Cockfosters or Arnos Grove
|Preceding station||London Underground||Following station|
| Gloucester Road |
towards Uxbridge or Hounslow West
| Piccadilly line |
Former route (1906-1934)
| Brompton Road |
towards Cockfosters or Arnos Grove
| Gloucester Road |
towards Wimbledon, Richmond or Ealing Broadway
| District line |
| Charing Cross |
towards Upminster, High Street Kensington or Edgware Road