Activities in South Kensington and Knightsbridge
Home to many of London’s richest inhabitants as well as the city’s most exclusive department store, Harrods, Knightsbridge is a glamorous and inviting area to explore. Surrounded by posh apartment blocks and a wealth of luxury hotels, it’s not simply a London neighbourhood that is all about designer shopping and beautiful museums.
While the main shopping street boasts various stores you’d expect to see on a typical London high street, Knightsbridge is also home to major international fashion outlets as well as a lot of smaller unique, independent stores selling everything from art to cosy furnishings.
Knightsbridge appeals to different tastes with a wide range of delightful treasures waiting to be discovered, many of which can ensure you leave with some interesting experiences. Explore some of our favourite Knightsbridge and South Kensington hidden gems.
Brompton Food Market with a courtyard garden
This calming and friendly cafe tucked away around the curve of Thurloe Place is welcoming and refreshing when looking for somewhere to enjoy some good food while escaping the South Ken bustle for some time. If you are a fan of the outdoors then you’re in a for a treat, pop out to visit their secret garden at the rear. This is a great space for breakfast, lunch, dinner and evening drinks.
V&A John Madeski Garden
The John Madeski Garden at the V&A opened in 2005. The main feature is an oval swimming pool. It has been well thought out and well proportioned with steps leading in so it can serve as a paddling pool for children during the summer months. Yet it can be drained when necessary to create a meeting or exhibition area.
You can sit back and relax in the outdoor cafe or simply settle onto the vast courtyard and enjoy the views of the oval pool and plush greenery. It is a nicely detailed garden to admire. Kim Wilkie the designer of this garden explains it as follows: “The design is based on the traditional simplicity of a garden courtyard with the drama and flexibility of a stage set. A simple central ellipse that creates a calm centre to the garden surrounded by Liquidambars, lawns, lemon trees and glass planters. The stepped ellipse is picked out with jets of water and bands of light. The central space can be flooded to create a shallow reflecting pool, or filled with heavy fog for night lighting.”
Rococo chocolates was founded way back in 1983, quite a long time before foodie businesses became mainstream, but in areas like Belgravia, Chelsea and Knightsbridge where Rococo functions, this kind of specialist store is emblematic of the area and the people who shop there. As the name suggests, these are deliciously decadent chocolates, think gold leaf, fine ingredients and velvety textures. They go perfectly with the area itself, Knightsbridge is all about luxury and fine living but it doesn’t forget to support fair trade chocolate and cocoa farmers too. There are all sorts of interesting flavours here, but one of the new arrivals is rosemary and seasalt suspended in an artisan milk chocolate. There is also a summer pudding, white chocolate with mixed berries, and salty caramel balls disguised as seagull eggs. Makes the perfect present or special treat for oneself.
Part art gallery, part fashion studio, Egg is one of the London design world’s best kept secrets. This converted former dairy is located on quiet Kinnerton Street and the boutique interior has an ever-changing array of stock displayed on its whitewashed walls and shelves. Pop along to peruse perfectly-picked clothing, textiles, home-wares and accessories.
Divertimenti describes itself as the ultimate cookshop. There is cookware, bakeware, kitchen knives, electricals, a cookery school, cooks tools, food and books. All of top quality and great new gadgets that you didn’t even know you needed, but once you use them, you can’t live without them. There are things like cups for measuring curry spices, or ceramic knives. You can buy beautiful copper cookware and bowls, to recreate that victorian kitchen look. Agas too are part of the package and then, once you have bought this British classic, you can go on a cookery course to learn how to cook with the behemoth of the British kitchen. For those who like Maroccan cooking, there is an impressive range of Tagines in several colours, as well as paella pans and fondue sets.
Located in the surrounding area, in Hyde Park, this lido has been a part of London for over 100 years. A great chance to try out open water swimming or just relax on the edge of the water. Open weekends through May, then seven days a week in June-mid September, it’s the perfect place to take family or friends.
After a busy day enjoying the finest that Knightsbridge and South Kensington has to offer, it’s always nice to finish off the day with a relaxing massage at our peaceful massage room on Thurloe Street. With some calming aromatherapy included, your mind and body can certainly enjoy the rest and recovery it deserves. No South Kensington visit is truly complete without it.