Christmas in Kensington: the best things do in the neighbourhood this festive season
Insider Guide by Maria Viader, personal stylist and shopper. Exclusively curated for our guests
Kensington is charming any time of year, but it’s especially special in the run up to Christmas and the holidays. Twinkly lights, cozy pubs and elegant Christmas shopping tick all our holiday season boxes.In this guide, Maria has pulled together a few of her top picks for things to do locally while staying with us this festive season - whether for a family holiday with kids, a trip away with friends or a romantic getaway.
Ice skating at the Natural History Museum
Every year the ice rink outside the Natural History Museum attracts adults and children alike for its magical setting. Skate among fairy lights and frost-covered trees, against the stunning backdrop of the Natural History Museum’s Waterhouse building. Kids can get ice skating lessons at the regular Penguin Ice Club, and when visiting the rink before 3pm on weekdays, parents with toddlers get a free chocolate or soft drink for both themselves and their little ones with the £10 entry.
Insider tip: For adults, there are regular acoustic gigs evenings at the rink (more info and dates available on the Natural History Museum website). To avoid waiting times, we recommend booking a slot on the ice ahead of time. though tickets can also be purchased at the box office on arrival.
Indulge at Venchi Chocolate and Gelato
Venchi on Exhibition Road in South Kensington is popular with locals and visitors alike as destination for delicious artisan chocolates and authentic Italian gelatos, and in the colder months, we love ordering their luxurious Italin style hot chocolate. In addition to a ‘classic’ hot chocolate, you can also try the hot version of the chocolate house’s celebrated ‘‘Gianduja’ artisan chocolate, a special blend of chocolate and Piedmont hazelnuts. We won’t judge if you also decide to pick up some chocolates for later while you’re in there… Take home a selection of their classic slabs or create your own pick and mix chocolate goodie bag.
Get cozy with a traditional roast lunch at the Scarsdale Tavern
This iconic Kensington haunt, tucked away between Cromwell Road and Kensington High Street, was once a favourite of Diana, Princes of Wales. Comforting food and real ales in a cozy setting make it the perfect spot for a typically British afternoon at the pub. On Sundays, we recommend the traditional Sunday roast, which features a choice of roast meat with all the trimmings, including roast potatoes, veggies and yorkshire pudding. Or for a truly classic festive feast, why not try their beef wellington?
Go all out on this year’s Christmas shopping at Harrods
Christmas at Harrods is one of our favourite things London has to offer. From the jaw-dropping window displays and the iconic lights on the building’s facade, to the seasonal delights in the Food Hall, this iconic department store cannot be beat for its festive ambience. In the world-famous Christmas Shop, you will find dated baubles and Christmas tree decorations (unique designs are created each year and take inspiration from London and its landmarks), as well as special editions of the collectable Harrods teddy bear. So whether you are looking for luxury gifts, foodie delights or a special Christmas-themed souvenir - you will find it all at this Knightsbridge shopping paradise.
Try the festive dinner menu at the elegant Launceston Place
Another favourite of the late Princess of Wales, Launceston Place is an elegant restaurant serving exceptional food on one of Kensington’s prettiest corners. The current head chef, Ben Murphy, previously ran the much celebrated The Woodford in East London and has worked in Michelin-starred kitchens in London, New York and Paris. The food is exquisite and whimsically but beautifully presented, and the restaurant’s many nooks and crannies make it perfect for celebrating a special occasion or a romantic tête-à-tête this Christmas.