The best places to rent a vacation apartment in a city are often the ones that are bit secluded, but still within easy access of the major attractions. Finding that special place that feels like home can be tricky in a major city, but London’s town-like growth over the centuries means many of its central neighbourhoods are perfectly suited to accommodate a comfortable stay within reach of major sights. Zones 1 and 2 cover the heart of London, and it’s a very big heart, where you can find areas that are greener and don’t have quite the movement of people or traffic that you’ll find around the West End or Trafalgar Square.
Chelsea, Kensington and South Kensington are all perfect examples of this: these areas lie within central London, offer easy routes to the big attractions and sights, and have a number of their own major draws. In these areas you’ll find tree-lined streets, luxurious apartment buildings, shops, cafes, restaurants and many of the major museums. Here are some examples of how these towns offer the perfect getaway, just minutes from all the major sights.
London is a very green city and wherever you are within the boroughs around Kensington you’ll come across much greenery and communal gardens. Kensington is also home to two very distinguished parks, Holland Park and Hyde Park.
Hyde Park (which adjoins Kensington Palace Gardens) is the largest park in central London, and if you’re in need of a break from your busy sightseeing schedule, this is one of the best places to lay down your picnic blanket and pull out those travel games. You can also feed the geese and swans, and admire the flower garden in front of Kensington Palace while you sip on a cup of tea at the Orangery.
Holland Park is smaller, and because fewer tourists know about it, your experience there will be a more intimate one. During the summer the park plays host to outdoor operas and other performances. Toward the back end of the park, a maze of gardens doubles as romantic event space for weddings. Byron’s, a burger restaurant, makes for a nice pit stop to refuel at the entrance of the park. You can also pop in to the Waitrose supermarket across the street to piece together a nice spontaneous picnic.
The Hound and The Fox
If a nice little atmospheric cafe is what you’re after, Chelsea has these in spades. Almost every door you walk by on Chelsea’s main shopping street, King’s Road, is a cafe, restaurant or pub. Tea can be had in the gardens outside of the Saatchi Gallery where outdoor sculptures liven up your view.
Also, most pubs serve lunch and dinner. In fact, some pubs are known as gastropubs and serve some up some of London’s finest cuisine. You can even find pubs that serve authentic Thai food. Head to Churchill Arms in nearby Notting Hill for its incredible decoration, atmosphere and Thai curry.
If you’re already on King’s Road and you’re looking for indoor, or outdoor refinement, try the brunch at The Ivy Chelsea Garden; the menu is one of the most varied in Chelsea.
The Tate Modern, British Museum, National Gallery, London Transport Museum are all well worth a visit, but if you want to explore museums nearer to your Kensington vacation rental, three of London’s must-visit museums are right at at your doorstep. Walk to South Kensington to explore science, biology and art. Next door you’ll find the Natural History Museum (complete with carved animals crawling up the sides of the building), the Science Museum (see the engines that took us into space), and the Victoria and Albert Museum, with its incredible eclectic collection of Eastern and Western art and design.
London has so much going on that you never have to go far to enjoy a great meal or get lost in splendid museum halls. Stay just beyond the main attractions and you’ll find yourself in a luxury apartment along a quiet, leafy street. Visit A Place Like Home to find your own dream rental.
About the author
Sebastian is a photojournalist and writer. While he enjoys the top rate social and cultural events only a world class city can offer, he also appreciates London’s many green spaces and parks. Sebastian has been known to rent a vacation apartment near the heart of London to get away from it all.