Recently I’ve found myself in Kensington on more than one occasion. Appointments, events and opportunities have all conspired to mean I’ve somehow been drawn to this enclave of London and I’d forgotten how much I like it (at one point I lived just a bike ride away). So if you’re heading to London for business or pleasure, it’s not a bad place to base yourself, even just for a night.
As mentioned in this post, I recently visited the Ideal Home Show at Olympia, in Kensington. If you’re planning to visit a show (or just doing the tourist thing) and want to make a proper trip of it, consider an overnight stay in the area. I spent a lovely night at the Royal Garden Hotel, which is located a short walk from the tube and right next to Kensington Palace and Gardens – one of the city’s royal parks.I was lucky enough to try a suite on my stay, which had a garden view looking down on the park out of large picture windows – great for people watching! As you can see, the room was the perfect size with enough room for a desk and sofa to enjoy the view as well as a good-sized bed and mirrored wardrobes. The bathroom also had a separate bath and shower which is handy if you’re sharing the room. Oh and Penhaligons toiletries, which is always nice. Staying at the Royal Garden Hotel makes even a one night stay feel that little bit special, from the friendly and helpful welcome you receive from the doormen to the attentive reception staff and even a complimentary bowl of fresh fruit provided in the room. After settling in, an afternoon stroll (or even a run if you’ve packed your trainers) in the adjacent park is really tempting now that the evenings are drawing out (although there’s also a great health club and spa on site). I also treated myself to a long bubble bath before heading out for some supper.
There are lots of places to eat nearby from the tried and trusted chains (I went for a quick but delicious bite to eat at Wagamamas since I was dining solo that night) but you could also try Cote brasserie or Zaika indian restaurants if you fancy something special. During the day, lunchtime options are great too – you must try the Whole Foods market on Kensington high street, filled with an amazing range of healthy, delicious choices as well as several alternative options upstairs including the wonderful Bone Daddies if you fancy noodles. And there’s even a nice Bill’s located just inside the entrance to the tube station.
Unfortunately I had to head off early the next day to arrive at a press breakfast on time, so I couldn’t enjoy a long leisurely cooked breakfast in the hotel restaurant but I was grateful for the room service option: delicious pastries, juice and tea which I could munch on as I got ready. Check out was speedy and the service just as courteous as on my arrival, with offers of help with my luggage as well as taxis etc – always nice when you’re travelling on your own! If you fancy some shopping, there’s plenty to be found on the high street including all the usual suspects plus Cos, Massimo Dutti, Kooples and American Apparel. Stop by Crush or Boost juice bars to get a healthy fix or try Cafe Concerto for good coffee. One of the things I love about this area of London is just wandering down some of the pretty tree-lined streets with their distinctive rows of terraced housing – great for spotting pretty doors if that’s your thing or just getting away from the bustle for five minutes.
It felt good to enjoy some spring sunshine on my last visit to London although it’s always tricky dressing for these in-between days. I’d had my eye on this jacket for a while and was thrilled when I saw it reduced to half price in my local store – it’s a great transition piece, being shorter but still warm. I also gave these amazing oyster pink, snake-embossed leather brogues from Ted & Muffy a spin. Likewise, they’re still sensible enough to keep out the April showers and look good worn with socks but that colour feels so light and pretty after dark winter boots (I just need to work on my tan now!). Check out the rest of the Ted & Muffy range, they’re known for their great-fitting boots but there are some incredible styles for summer too and are available in several width sizes to suit everyone.
Thanks to Natasha from Candy Pop for taking these photos of me.
Bye for now,
Disclosure: I stayed one night free of charge at the Royal Garden Hotel for the purposes of this review.