City Guide: Seek Wonderment in South KensingtonMonday, April 11, 2016
Many of my favourite childhood memories involve days spent sauntering around South Kensington with my parents after visiting one of its popular museums. Whenever I feel I need to revive that childlike wonderment, I head down to Cromwell Road and cruise until my heart’s content. Here are some of the places I love to check out:
Garden squares, bookstores, and shops lie nearby: Thurloe Street, South Kensington, London, SW7 2LT
Wherever you stroll in South Ken you’ll find yourself surrounded by stunning architecture. From charming, white stucco fronts and stately redbrick terraces to more avant-garde structures, something picturesque is bound to arrest your attention. But be careful! One of the quaint things about the area is its ‘shared space’ street design, vehicles will pass in what you might have thought to be a pedestrian-only lane. (Don’t be that person causing traffic to get the perfect photograph, unless of course you’re one of those “I need pain to create my Art” types…I am not responsible in the event that you are hit, run over, or distressed due to verbal attacks from London’s irritable drivers.) Remain alert and stay safe!
Image credit: Maitre Choux | Visit: Maitre Choux, 15 Harrington Road, London, SW7 3ES
Visit: Muriel’s Kitchen, 1-3 Pelham Street, London, SW7 2ND
When tired of walking or generally feeling peckish a good idea is to check out local cafés, many have tables and benches al fresco which is lovely for people watching when the weather is good. For sweet treats I recommend heading to the remarkable Maitre Choux, a patisserie by three Michelin star pastry chef, Joakim Prat. The establishment is a stylish white shop with playful pops of colour both in the interior and adorning the delectables. If you’re rooting for something more rustic, Muriel’s Kitchen is ever faithful. Built right on top of the station, the atmosphere is buzzing with excitement as people flock in after seeing something appetising displayed by the windows. That was how I discovered their upside down chocolate and raspberry cake, which I find is the perfect way to indulge. It’s always interesting to try something new from their seasonal menu too!
After refreshments and if you haven’t already been, head over to the Victoria & Albert Museum. There are always curious events going on such as the ASHISH Fashion Show that I went to a while ago, just ask at the front desk and staff will be happy to help you obtain tickets if any are available for that day. Alternately, in gallery 48a you can find the greatest treasures of the High Renaissance. The Raphael Cartoons are a must-see. Peruse a map of the museum to find out what else might interest you and lose sense of time as you cultivate your own childlike wonderment!
Visit: Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 2RL
Sometimes, I just like to sit in there with a book and while time away. The basement (pictured above) is such a peaceful space. With cushioned benches and natural light gilding the room, it’s most relaxing.
If you’re of the prehistoric persuasion, the Natural History Museum is the place to be. Go for the dinosaurs, to try your hand at cave painting, or to check out the pioneering research and vast collections. If like me, your interest in those things is only cursory, go and learn something new for half an hour then focus on more enthralling things, like the architecture!
Visit: Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 5BD
As the warmer months approach I’ll be sure to share more outdoor events and activities to explore South Kensington with. Do you have any favourite spots in the area? Comment below or tweet me at @theFiveEs!