A range of accommodations from basic to luxury and good transportation links make South Ken an attractive place to consider for overnight and extended stays in London.
Known as “Museum Quarter,” South Ken is home to the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, and the Victoria & Albert Museum.
This historic area is also walking distance from the upscale shopping districts of Knightsbridge and Chelsea.
Nearby Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park provide visitors and locals alike access to huge swathes of green space and plenty of outdoor activities for all ages.
Fortunately, the food’s great in this part of town too. No matter your budget, there’s bound to be a variety of quality options to suit your taste. However, there’s a lot of competition for you taste buds around here. Looking for a bite around South Kensington Station can be a bit overwhelming given the choices and underwhelming if you unknowingly happen into the wrong place. For foodies soon boarding flights to London, here’s a breakdown of some of the best food and drink options around the Underground station in South Ken.
Bosphorus Kebabs (59 Old Brompton Road, SW7 3JS): Bosphorus Kebabs is a tiny hole-in-the-wall just a short stroll away from the South Ken Tube. According to the shop’s awning, Bosphorus proudly serves “fresh lamb and chicken with no artificial additives.” The food here certainly tastes fresher and more delicious than that from most other kebab shops. The large mixed grill (under $10) with chilli sauce and salad comes highly recommended. Innumerable rave reviews written on index cards cover much of the wall space inside and provide a brilliant lunchtime read. One card from 2002 is signed by “Lionel the Taxi Driver” a fan of Bosphorus Kebabs for more than 35 years, writing that Bosphorus serves “the best food in town.” Another, among the multitude of cards, simply states that “It’s all about Bosphorus Kebabs.”
Casa Brindisa (7-9 Exhibition Road, SW7 2HQ): The folks behind Brindisa have done a phenomenal job building up a highly regarded reputation as London’s most popular purveyors of all things deliciously Spanish. Offering an impressive array of tapas and a smartly selected Spanish wine list, the multi-level Casa Brindisa is a comfortable yet elegant establishment. Salt cod with fresh peppers, meatballs with cuttlefish, the truly delectable hand carved jamon Ibérico and so much more … muy bien!
La Cave a Fromage (59 Old Brompton Road, SW7 3JS): One of London’s best cheesemongers. The emphasis here is French but they’ve got the goods from all over the world with an ever changing line up of fabulous “farmhouse cheeses” along a great selection of wine, charcuterie, biscuits and breads. It all adds up to a perfect pit stop for a gourmet picnic in the park or a leisurely snack in the shop.
Comptoir Libanais (1-5 Exhibition Road, SW7 2HE): A vivid feast for the eyes as much as for the taste buds, this Middle Eastern restaurant serves traditional Lebanese brunches, grilled dishes, mezze platters, wraps and tagines in a stylized Lebanese market setting with lots of Lebanese nicknacks and goodies for sale. The third Comptoir of a trio in this London-based chain, the South Ken branch is always buzzing with pleased patrons and friendly staff. Thirst quenching lemonades are as much of a draw as the food. The Roomana (pomegranate and orange blossom) lemonade is an especially refreshing option.
Janet’s (30 Old Brompton Road, SW7 3DL): American expat owned and frequented watering hole featuring cheap fast food (but you’re welcome to order from any of the local takeaways – the staff might even go get it for you), cocktails, conversation and kitsch. An eclectic marvel that as soon as you stick your head in you’ll know you’ll either love or hate.
There’s so much more. Starbucks and the rest of the usual suspects are steps from the station along with a representative from just about every imaginable cuisine present. The fabled food courts at Harrods department store along with a wealth of fine dining restaurants and more are but a stroll away in Knightsbridge. Just as close, all sorts of eateries from inexpensive to extremely expensive with most big brand chains represent await up the street a bit at Kensington High Street. You’ll find lots of great restaurants and cafes near the Earl’s Court and Gloucester Road Tube stations as well.
Image Credit: Chris Osburn (Author)