Moving to Kensington and Chelsea
Are you moving to Kensington and Chelsea? Although Kensington and Chelsea is one of the smallest of London’s 33 boroughs, it is both the most densely populated and the wealthiest of them. It is a narrow north-south swath of land that encompasses the areas of Westbourne Park, Ladbroke Grove, Notting Hill, Holland Park, Kensington, South Kensington, Earls Court, Sloane Square and Chelsea, some of the most expensive real estate in the world.
Our free, in-depth Moving to Kensington and Chelsea report includes info on:
• The best areas to live
• The good schools
• The average monthly rental prices
• The excellent public transport system in the city
Putting Kensington and Chelsea on the map
It’s important to the whole of London as a centre for culture and the arts, as it is home to several major museums and tourist destinations including the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Kensington Palace and Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre; and it hosts a number of large annual events, most notably the Notting Hill Carnival, which is Europe’s largest, and the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show. No round up of the borough would be complete without mentioning the excellent shopping in the area, from Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Peter Jones in the south of the borough to the exclusive boutique village of Westbourne Grove in Notting Hill. There are also a number of embassies and several international schools in the borough.
As you’ve probably already realised, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea is nothing if not varied; the different areas all have their own particular characteristics. So in a rental market that appears to be rising steeply at the moment, where are the best places to look? These are the most distinctive areas:
• Chelsea The area dates back to the days of Edward the Confessor, when he had a manor on the site where the Royal Hospital now stands, and in the 17th and 18th centuries it was known as the ‘village of palaces’. In Victorian times it was an artists’ colony and then Kings Road became the epicentre of London’s Swinging Sixties. Today, St Leonards Terrace and Chelsea Square are the most desirable – and expensive – addresses, but there are more modest properties on elegant garden squares and in pretty cobbled mews. There are also a couple of outstanding prep schools in the area.
• Kensington This is a diverse area, characterised by large, rather grand mansion blocks with spacious apartments and long rows of imposing Victorian terraced houses. Kensington High Street provides the shopping hub for this sector and proximity to Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park and Holland Park is a bonus.
• Holland Park Once the grounds of a Jacobean mansion called Holland House, this large park is quiet and in some parts positively rural. In the neighbourhood of this glorious green space the property prices can seem a little extreme. But on the west side of the park there are some enormous and spectacular Victorian villas, with remarkably large gardens given the city-centre location – a popular area with multi-millionaires. Further east on the other side of the park, Campden Hill Square is renowned for its lovely Victorian terrace houses. North of Holland Park Road, the Royal Crescent is formed by two stunning curved quadrants of Victorian houses.
• Notting Hill This has always been one of London’s most cosmopolitan areas and it is known around the world for its carnival, the bustling weekend antiques market on Portobello Road and, of course, for the Hugh Grant/Julia Roberts film of the same name. Gentrification rapidly changed the area in the 1980s and now it is celebrated for its bijou boutique shopping and thriving restaurant scene. However, the multicultural nature of the area has not changed and it is still one of the most exciting and intriguing corners of the borough.
• South Kensington This is London’s museum quarter, with the great Victorian edifices of the Natural History Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Throw in the Albert Hall, the Royal College of Music, the Brompton Oratory, with Harrods just down the road, and the area has plenty of appeal. The presence of Imperial College brings a youthful student vibe and the Lycee Francais has made it a popular area with French expats. In terms of housing, there are some wonderful late Victorian red brick mansion blocks, as well large Victorian stuccoed terraces around tranquil garden squares. The main roads are lined with tourist hotels but away from these, this is a refined and desirable area in which to live.
Who lives here and why?
As one would expect, the population of Kensington and Chelsea is a generally affluent one but it is also a varied and cosmopolitan one. As well as a multitude of Christian churches, most notably Holy Trinity Brompton and Chelsea Old Church for the Church of England, the Brompton Oratory for Catholics and St Sophia’s Greek Orthodox Cathedral, there are also a number of synagogues, several mosques and the Sikh Central Gurudwara in Holland Park. And a recent survey showed that children in the borough’s schools spoke in 93 different mother tongues over and above English.
So perhaps the question should be: Who doesn’t live here?
Notable residents include, and have included, the newly married Royals, William and Kate (the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge who now have an apartment in Kensington Palace), Bryan Adams, Bernie Ecclestone, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones in the 60s, Judy Garland, Margaret Thatcher, Oscar Wilde, Mark Twain, Bram Stoker and J R R Tolkein.
The Best Bits
• Beautiful houses – from the red brick Georgian houses on Cheyne Walk overlooking the Thames to the grand Victorian villas of Ladbroke Grove and from the multi-million pound mansions of Holland Park to the highly sought after mews cottages of South Kensington, the property stock here is eminently desirable.
• Shops, restaurants and entertainment – it’s all on your doorstep. The borough has literally hundreds of restaurants, from world class establishments such as Gordon Ramsey and Tom’s Kitchen to modest cafés and fast food joints; certainly all the cuisines of the world are represented here. There are also traditional English pubs – try the Cross Keys or the Cadogan Arms – and a multitude of bars and clubs. Entertainment venues range from the vast Earls Court Exhibition Centre to the innovative Royal Court Theatre in Sloane Square to the inspirational Royal Albert Hall – international concerts and London theatre at its best, including the celebrated BBC Proms season that runs every year from July to September.
• Green spaces – it may be crowded, but there’s room to breathe. Holland Park is one of London’s loveliest parks, while Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park are the borough’s eastern boundary.
Then there are the gardens of the Royal Hospital in Chelsea, the enormous Bromptom Cemetary and the Kensington Memorial Park, not to mention countless garden squares with their lawns, mature trees and characteristic wrought iron fences.
• Child friendly – although it’s in the heart of the city, this is a great place for families. There’s a wide range of schools covering all age groups in both the private and the state sectors, as well as international and denominational schools. At the tertiary level, some of the UK’s heavy hitters are to be found here including Imperial College, the English National Ballet School, the Royal College of Music and the Royal College of Art. See below for more details about educational opportunities within the borough.
• Transport links – with no fewer than 12 tube stations, a multitude of bus routes and bisected by four main roads in and out of London, it’s easy to get to wherever you need to be – be that the West End, Heathrow Airport or one of London’s mainline railway stations.
Bringing the Kids
If you decide to move to Kensington and Chelsea, you’ll find that there is a wide range of options for educating your children. London has eight international schools, most of which are commutable from Kensington and Chelsea; indeed, the Southbank International School is in W11. Within the borough there are 26 state primary schools and five state secondary schools, including two well-respected Roman Catholic senior schools – Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School and Scion-Manning RC Girls School. There are 11 independent primary schools and 16 independent secondary schools, including the Lycee Francais Charles de Gaulle in Kensington and the Colegio Espanol Vicente Canada Blanch on Portobello Road.
For advice on which particular type of school would be suitable for your child or children, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Saunders 1865 to talk to one our professional relocation experts; we are able to co-ordinate your home and school search to ensure that the relocation works for every single member of the family, not just the main assignee.
Relocating to Kensington and Chelsea
For assignees who are looking for a city centre base and who can afford the high rents within the borough, Kensington and Chelsea offers a fine choice of properties and environments. However, to the uninitiated, it can seem like a maze of different areas, with a wide variation in the rents being asked. This is where your relocation agent can really help. At Saunders 1865, our teams of experts combine local knowledge with first-hand experience to pinpoint the right area and the right property for every relocation. Is it right for the schools? Does it have the required transport links? Is the location absolutely ideal and does the space fit the requirements? We can bring all these considerations together and help to arrange smooth, efficient and stress-free relocations – to Kensington and Chelsea or to other parts of London and the UK.
Saunders 1865’s London head office is located in the heart of Kensington. We employ highly experienced destination experts who have specialized knowledge on the area and its rental markets. Every day we help VIP expats from the world’s top corporations get happily settled in Kensington & Chelsea. Our services include home finding assistance, school finding, lease negotiations, temporary accommodation, move management and immigration assistance. Don’t hesitate to contact us to find out how we can help you.
The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea is regarded by expats as the best part of London in which to live.
Average Monthly Rents in Kensington
Average Monthly Rents in Chelsea
Average Monthly Rents in Holland Park
Average Monthly Rents in Notting Hill
Average Monthly Rents in South Kensington