walkruncycle LONDON

Holland Park & Kensington Mews

This 7km (4 mile) walk takes you from High Street Kensington underground station to Notting Hill Gate underground station via Holland Park, garden squares, mews terraces and some very pretty streets. Just take your time, enjoy the beautiful buildings, stop for a coffee and cake, leisurely lunch or pint of ale in an old London pub away from most of the tourist crowds!

We start this walk at High Street Kensington underground station.

Kensington is, in general, an extremely affluent area, a trait that it now shares with its neighbour to the south, Chelsea. The area has some of London's most expensive streets and garden squares, including Edwardes Square, most of the Holland Park neighbourhood and Wycombe Square, all private redevelopments in Regency architecture. Kensington is also very densely populated; it forms part of the most densely populated local government district (the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea) in the United Kingdom. This high density is not formed from high-rise buildings; instead, it has come about through the subdivision of large mid-rise Georgian and Victorian terraced houses (generally of some four to six floors) into flats.​

Kensington High Street is one of western London's most popular shopping streets, with upmarket shops serving a wealthy area. Kensington High Street is also home to a large part of the British music industry, with the UK offices of major labels such as Universal Music Group, Sony Music, Warner Music Group and EMI all situated in the area.

As you leave the tube station onto Kensington High Street, head to your left out of the station and cross over to the other side of the road at the pedestrian crossing. Go straight ahead at the crossing to walk up Hornton Street. Take the second road on the right to walk along Holland Street. You will see a lovely little row of houses on the right hand side called Gordon Place as you walk along here. Just after Gordon Place take the alley on your right (Kensington Church Walk) that leads down to the grounds of St Mary Abbots Church.

Follow the path around to the right in front of the Church entrance, then left to follow it back to High Street Kensington.

Turn left along the main road and cross to the other side at the pedestrian crossing traffic lights. Continue along a little further and turn right into Young Street. Walk down here to the end passing Kensington Square on your right (Map Point 1). ​

Kensington Square was founded in 1685 and is the oldest garden square in Kensington. Elsewhere in London, Soho, St. James's and Golden Squares are a few years older, but Kensington Square still retains its residential character.

At the end of Young Street turn left onto Thackeray Street then first right onto Ansdell Street. Walk along here then turn left onto St Albans Grove.

Continue straight ahead along St Albans Grove, crossing over Victoria Road when safe to do so, and continuing towards the shops ahead of you where the road changes into Victoria Grove. Follow Victoria Grove round to the right, a beautiful row of Regency houses, until you reach the main Gloucester Road. Cross over to the other side using the pedestrian zebra crossing on your right, then turn left to cross back over Queen's Gate Terrace when safe to do so. Walk up Gloucester Road a short distance until you see the entrance to Queen's Gate Mews on your right just after the row of shops. 

Turn right into Queen's Gate Mews and follow this all the way to the end, first left, then right around the corner. This is one of London's prettiest Mews rows, and very expensive! At the end of the mews, on your left is a lovely traditional London pub, the Queens Arms (Map Point 2), but to continue this walk turn right to head back onto Queen's Gate Terrace.

Turn right onto Queen's Gate Terrace, cross to the other side when safe to do so, then turn left into Gore Street. Walk to the end then turn left into Elvaston Place. Cross over when safe to do so then turn first right into Elvaston Mews under the impressive stone entrance archway, then right again to continue along Elvaston Mews, another lovely row of Mews houses. When you reach the road Queen's Gate Place, cross over when safe to do so and continue straight ahead into another very pretty row of Mews cottages called Petersham Mews, painted in different shades of pastel. Follow this all the way to the end, round the corner to the right, and back onto Elvaston Place. 

Turn left along Elvaston Place and you will shortly come to the main Gloucester Road. Look across to the other side and just to the left you will see another stone archway. Cross to the other side of Gloucester Road using the pedestrian zebra crossing on your right, then walk down to the left to head underneath that stone arch into Kynance Mews, a quiet little old cobbled alley. This is another of those places that appear in many photographs of London! Indeed, Kynance Mews is a popular place for Instagram photographs; having been described as "Insta-famous" and has been listed as one of the most "instagrammable" places to photograph wisteria in London by the Evening Standard!

Go through the stone archway at the end, and cross over the road Launceston Place to go through the stone arch on the other side and continue straight ahead into a continuation of the lovely Kynance Mews. A short distance along here look for the steps on your right hand side to cut through to Victoria Road (to avoid these steps, don't continue into Kynance Mews but turn left down Launceston Place after the first section fo Kynance Mews, then right along Cornwall Gardens where you will join this walk). Walk a short distance along Victoria Road, then turn left into Eldon Road. Walk to the end then turn left again into Stanford Road, and follow the small passageway on the right hand side at the end down to Cornwall Gardens.

Turn right onto Cornwall Gardens and then walk straight ahead through the archway you will see ahead of you into Cornwall Gardens Walk. Follow this round to the left, then when you come to a junction with a pathway on your left, the cobbled lane continuing ahead and another pathway on your right, take the pathway on your right (Lexham Walk) to cut through to the Easterly end of Lexham Gardens (Map Point 3).

Turn right to walk alongside Lexham Gardens, then turn first right after the gardens into Marloes Road. Turn first left into Stratford Road where you will find a nice selection of local shops and places to rest for a drink or food. Turn first left again into Radley Mews, and admire the expensive cars on the showroom ahead! Follow Radley Mews round to the left in front of the car showroom, then right and then right again. Walk along here and it changes to Lexham Mews. Continue along, following it to the left at the end and coming out onto Lexham Gardens road. Turn right onto this road, then right again onto Earl's Court Road.

Walk up Earl's Court Road, and when you reach the junction with Stratford Road on your right, use the pedestrian crossing triangle in the middle of Earl's Court Road to cross over to the opposite side of Earl's Court Road. Continue to walk up Earl's Court Road until you come to the charming Rassells Garden Centre on your left by Pembroke Square (Map Point 4).

Rassell's, founded by Charles Rassell, has been here since 1897, a remarkable achievement when so much around has been developed. Charles Rassell's father, Henry, was drawn to London with all its possibilities and established the firm in 1870 employing large teams of gardeners. The property boom had opportunities for gardens and parks all over the city and prosperity for new home- owners brought a desire to enjoy a gracious and more leisurely way of life. Charles Rassell established his pretty florist shop at The Lodge, 80 Earl's Court Road in 1897, but the business founded in his name is unusual in still trading today. The Rassell family through Charles' daughter, Marjorie Rassell, continued the family connection until 1979 and further through Donald Rider; who in 1935 at the tender age of sixteen became Marjorie Rassell's apprentice. Donald rose through the ranks to eventually become managing director. Apart from a brief absence due to war service, Donald worked continuously for the company until 29th July 2011 when he died at the age of 92 in his home above the business.

Turn left into Pembroke Square and at the end turn right into Edwardes Square. When you reach the greenery of Edwardes Square continue straight ahead until you reach Kensington High Street. Turn left onto the High Street and cross to the other side when safe to do so. Turn right into Melbury Road and walk up here until the road start to curve to the left. Just before it bends left, continue straight ahead into Ilchester Place and walk up here until you see the brick piers and metal gates that are the entrance into Holland Park straight ahead of you. Go through the gates and explore the historic Holland Park (Map Point 5).

Holland Park is the Royal Borough’s largest park with 22.5 hectares of gardens, children’s play facilities, sports areas, a cafeteria and large areas of woodland abundant with wildlife. Contained within the park is the beautiful Kyoto Garden; a Japanese garden donated by the Chamber of Commerce of Kyoto in 1991. Holland Park used to be the grounds of Cope Castle, a large Jacobean mansion hidden in the woods. It was built by Sir Walter Cope in the early 17th century, who became Chancellor of the Exchequer under King James 1. Holland House was badly damaged during World War II. One wing was saved and is used as a youth hostel. A remaining section of the front terrace is now used as a distinct backdrop for the park's summertime open-air theatre productions and classical concerts. See more at https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/leisure-and-culture/parks/holland-park

After walking through the park, exit on the right/East side onto the Duchess of Bedford's Walk, with it's imposing Mansion Apartments on the left hand side. Walk along here to the end where you will reach Campden Hill Road (Map Point 6).

Turn left onto Campden Hill Road and walk along here until you reach Peel Street on your right hand side. Again there are lovely examples of red brick mansion apartments and town houses in this area, including the impressive Observatory Gardens on your right with their red and white stone detailing around the windows and doors.

Turn right into Peel Street and walk down to the end. Turn left onto Kensington Church Street and then second left into Kensington Place. You are now in the historic Hillgate Village. There are many lovely terrace houses in different pastel shades around this area, and it is very photogenic! You can read more about the history of this area at https://www.hillgatevillage.com/the-facts.

Take the first right along Kensington Place into Jameson Street then first left into Hillgate Place then first right into Farmer Street. Walk along to the end, crossing over Uxbridge Street when safe to do so, to come out onto Notting Hill Gate main road. This walk finishes at Notting Hill Gate underground station just to your right, but to see more of this area you can continue with our Notting Hill London walk from this point.

Hope you enjoyed the walk!

Ian from Walk Run Cycle

Overview of Route:

Information from various sources including wikipedia.org. Map source files copyright openstreetmap.org