Short read: London’s royal village.
Medium read: Special place, special walk. It’s rarely the first – or even the second or third – walk people go on but when they do get round to taking it they often say it’s the one they liked the most. And no wonder, because “Royal Kensington is London at its best – picturesque, stimulating and full of character”
Long read: the walk ranges across everything from the woman who saved Western Civilisation and had 200 lovers along the way to a couple of ghostly figures behind a balustrade to World War II bomb damage to “the second most embarrassing death ever suffered by a British monarch” to an extremely rare mews and how to “read” it to “a rising room” to “the only candy striped house in London” to an artistic tour de force made out of 41,300 matchsticks to the visualisation of the four great rivers of the Old Testament to “the most remarkable small literary house on the planet” to the connection between Twiggy’s figure and the Americans “going home” in 1945 to what the “blew coat” boy has written on his scroll to six French particules and what they reveal about the history of Kensington to the woman cradling a church in her arms to T.S. Eliot’s wearing green face makeup to Brigitte Bardot and a famous English actress competing for the same man to a £300 million pound house to the garden where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their engagement to the mole that caused the death of a king to a distant Kensington past that we can see thanks to the haphazard layout of a lane to the “grace and favour apartment” lived in by “the man who ruined Princess Margaret’s life” to a £30,000 knife to a man who “couldn’t see a belt without hitting below it” to a matryoshka (Russian nesting dolls) of Kensington mini neighbourhoods to still visible scorch marks from Luftwaffe incendiary bombs to a famous actress who tried to smuggle her dog into the country in her décolletage to… well, the list goes on and on.” N.B. the above is just a sampling of what’s served up on David’s walk – this being London Walks Corin’s and Adam’s walks will each be stamped with its owner’s character and interests.
KENSINGTON WALK – THE PRACTICALS
The Kensington Walk takes place at 2 pm on Thursdays and 2 pm on Saturdays. The meeting point is High Street KensingtonTube. When you come up the steps and go through the ticket barrier at High Street KensingtonTube you’ll see, directly in front of you, a short shopping arcade that leads out to the High Street. At the far end – the pavement (sidewalk) end – of the shopping arcade, just before it debouches out onto the High Street, is a Wasabi restaurant. The meeting point is on the pavement (sidewalk) directly outside the shopping arcade, right by the Wasabi restairant.
LONDON WALKS REVIEWS
“If you want to know London better, if you want to learn some things about the world’s most cosmopolitan city that most people who spend their lives there never learn… I can think of no better investment than London Walks” The New York Times
“London’s best walking tours” Travel & Leisure
“Even jaded Londoners find these London Walks a source of astonishing gems of information about the city in which they live.” Daily Mail, Top London Treats
“Never have participated in but having seen and overheard walking tour guides over many years in the US, I was a bit sceptical that most of them were simply platforms for young aspiring actors to perform for small captive audiences. In the case of the London Walks I could not have been further from the truth. The stable of guides include barristers, physicians, professors, authors, historians and archaeologists–folks who actually know a bit about what they are talking about.” Rebecca D.
“we were lucky enough to have David to take us on a walk around Kensington. David was the first guide to take us on a walk and from that moment we were hooked” Emberton75 Lancaster, United Kingdom
“this is a very informative and interesting route, the beautiful mews hidden in back streets, tiny alleys, grand addresses, nosey parkers would love this walk. you’re looking at architecture, history, famous people’s addresses. This particular company use actors and professional people to orate. I have done a different one each time I am in London. they are all equally impressive.” Joan C. Cardiff, United Kingdom
“We joined the Saturday afternoon Old Kensington walk, guided by Angela, on a windy, slightly dank day though, fortunately, the rain held off. We spent a considerable part of the walk laughing as Angela was such a witty, entertaining guide who delivered her anecdotes with perfect timing. I spent many years working in London and now regularly visit but the beautiful ‘old village’ part of Kensington (with its eye-wateringingly expensive houses) was unfamiliar to me and it was fascinating to learn so much about its history. I’ve already recommended this walk to family and friends and would happily join them and do it again next year. Thanks Angela.” BaHertford Hertford, United Kingdom
“My husband and I took part in the Old Kensington walk. Adam was our guide and he delighted us all with his humor, his knowledge and his obvious affection for the city. Questions are encouraged and duly answered. Photo ops abound. And quirky bits of history make Kensington come alive as the small neighborhood you’d long to be part of. As our schedule did not allow time for another tour, it will be first on our to-do list next time we land in London and it should be on your list as well. It is a lovely way to spend a couple of hours learning the history of one corner of London.” Rebecca D. Hamilton, Virginia
“Never failed to be amazed at the entertainment on these walks. Of all the ones I have done, the uniform areas are 1 The walk leaders are brilliant. Knowledgeable, entertaining and loud enough to be heard by all. 2 Hidden gems of London hiding behind the rush you normally see when sightseeing, shopping or just going to work in London. 3 Great eating recommendations in places you would not normally find. The reason you should do one of these walks early on your London trip? You will want to do another! This time we did the Old Kensington walk. It did not sound as dramatic as some of the other walks, but it was breathtaking. From meeting up at High Street Kensington tube station and all the rush there, within minutes we were transported back 300 years into a quiet and peaceful area. Lots of history, interesting insights into how the area developed, how housing styles developed, famous people who lived there, secret gardens both at ground level and higher, stables conversations into shops and houses, even stables on the 1st floor. The church we went into was so quiet and the size of a cathedral, the history outside equally as interesting. At the end of the walk, we retraced our steps on our own to take it all in – but it needs the expert to bring out all the interesting details. We stopped at one of the recommended eating places mentioned by the guide – very good.” FullNotGlum St. Ives, United Kingdom
LONDON WALKS ADDED VALUE
Be sure to ask Adam or David for a toothsome recommendation or two if you’re feeling peckish after the walk