South Kensington Travel Guide: Naomi Heaton’s Guide to the Neighborhood

From the massive Victorian buildings and private garden plazas to the cultural institutions that have given this part of London its undeniable charm and character for decades, it’s not hard to see South Kensington’s unique allure.

Founder of The Other House, and longtime local resident, Naomi Heaton’s vision and taste are finely tuned to what millennials want in terms of lifestyle, consumption, and culture. A good example is the 11 Victorian Terraced Houses in Harrington Gardens which now houses The Other House, the newest private residents’ club in South Kensington.

With a plethora of high-end boutiques and luxury international brands, along with some of the capital’s most iconic galleries, museums, restaurants, hotels and resorts, who better offers us than this local expert on a tour of one of the city’s most iconic-born and dynamic hotspots? Here are the best things to do and see in South Kensington.

Museum: Victoria and Albert Museum

Naomi says: The Victoria and Albert Museum takes you on an amazing journey from Chinese porcelain to Alexander McQueen’s dresses. keen interest in interior designI especially love to walk the unfolding display of domestic Renaissance interiors or look at the fascinating gallery celebrating the life and work of Beatrix Potter, one of the 20th century’s best-loved children’s authors. She just happened to be one of many famous former residents of South Kensington.

we say: One of the world’s leading museums of art, design, and performance, the Victoria and Albert Museum is a jewel in the crown of the capital’s cultural institutions. Don’t miss out on this summer’s main show! Shaping Manhood: The Art of MenswearA celebration of the power and art of menswear. In an unprecedented creative moment in men’s fashion and reflections on gender formations, this exhibition explores how masculinity has been designed and defined through the ages.

Cromwell Road, SW7 2RL;

Art Gallery: Cromwell Place

Naomi says: Cromwell Place is a new arts center. A membership organization that offers a hybrid gallery and workspace for art professionals. It has an incredibly exciting roster of exhibitions and events, having held the 2021 Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait award while the National Portrait Gallery has remained closed for redevelopment work – a testament to the level of work it offers.

we say: Formed after the shift in changing industry demands, this art space indicates the future of industry in the capital. Designed in 1858 by Sir Charles James Frick, Cromwell Place was once the home and studio of artists such as Sir John Lavery. To preserve the older features of the building, the spaces have been converted into home galleries, private work spaces, art storage rooms, and a club room. With creativity, connection, and collaboration at its core, it is home to a thriving community of some of the world’s most exciting art galleries, collectibles, consultants, institutions and artworks.

4 Cromwell Place, SW7 2JN;

Entertainment: Royal Albert Hall

Photo: Annabelle Muller

Naomi says: A night at the Royal Albert Hall simply cannot be beat. Don’t miss out on Jools Holland and the all-star crew on June 22, 2022 for Raise the Roof, a charity gala aimed at stopping souls from getting prostate cancer. Masterminded by eminent Jonathan Waxman, founder and president of the charity Prostate Cancer UK, he is Professor of Medicine at Imperial College, one of the world’s most respected universities, located in the heart of South Kensington.

we say: One of the country’s most famous venues, the auditorium is the London home of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the chosen venue for the BBC’s annual and beloved concerts. Currently celebrating 150 years as the country’s “Local Village Hall”, highlights include major commissions from British artists, major performances from music legends, and a series of performances promoting the next generation of talent.

Kensington Gore, SW7 2AP;

Restaurant: The Other Kitchen

Naomi says: If you’re looking for a place to meet friends for breakfast, brunch or brunch, The Other Kitchen is the new street cafe in Harrington Gardens. With its distinctive approach to one-pot dishes, crafted by London’s youngest Michelin-starred chef, Asimakis Chaniotis, and our talented chef Gary White, café culture has never been seen before in South Kensington. A new destination bar, The Owl & Monkey, is set up to spark the local cocktail scene.

we say: Think of the all-day street café serving casual brunch, with first-class coffee and delicious homemade cake in the afternoon. Away from the hustle and bustle of Gloucester Road in South Kensington, The Other Kitchen balances casualness and charm with a distinctive approach to constantly changing meats, fish And the vegetarian And comprehensive vegetarian dishes. It’s seasonal, sustainable, low-waste – and absolutely gorgeous, of course.

19-21 Harrington Gardens, SW7 4LF;

Shop: Konran Store

Naomi says: This gem on Fulham Road, nestled in a stunning Michelin Art Deco home, has been a destination of mine for years. Its distinctive blend of design classics and unique antique finds makes it the ideal place for gifts and quick retail repair.

we say: Home to a plethora of iconic designs and ‘futuristic classics’, this world-famous boutique was founded by the legendary Sir Terence Conran in 1973 and continues to be a go-to for those in the know for acquiring stunning signature pieces. From furniture and lighting to artwork and accessories, it’s hard to leave without your bags bulging (and your pockets drained).

81 Fulham Road, SW3 6RD;

Salon: Larry King Hair

Naomi says: Larry King’s flagship salon, located near The Other House on Harrington Road, is among the best of all. With salon clients that include David Gandy, Jamie Redknapp, and Pixie Lott, you can’t go wrong when it comes to cut and color.

we say: With a range of signature treatments from ‘shine’ (a fine choice between visits of color to refresh and tone) to ‘smack’ (for a sunkissed golden glow to lighten your natural hair colour), King’s flagship salon is anchored in the ethos of the ‘social life of your hair’. Favoring uninhibited luxury in a relaxed atmosphere, our outstanding team of award-winning colorists and stylists will have you looking hot off the runway in no time.

34-36 Harrington Rd, SW7 3ND;

The park: Prince Gardens

Naomi says: Hidden behind rows of terraced Victorian homes, Prince Gardens is mostly known by locals. Originally designed as a private garden yard for very large families, the space is still technically private, owned by Imperial College, but open for all to enjoy in peace as it is still surrounded by condominiums.

we say: One of the capital’s many hidden pocket parks, this generous garden plaza near the South Kensington Museums is a remarkably quiet space, despite being only a row of houses away from Exhibition Street. Take a stroll on a sunny day and enjoy the tranquility in the heart of the bustling capital.

Prince Gardens, SW7

Read more: Henrietta Rex’s guide to West London