Stemming off of a previous circuit I recommended (the “Kensington Gardens Gallivant“), we’ll be heading west of South Kensington today for a nice neighborhoody stroll that won’t bog us down with too many big attractions. Instead, we’ll pass by and through points of interests and just soak up the atmosphere of a nice London neighborhood on a hopefully nice day outside.
If you’re in the vicinity of South Kensington station, start heading west on Brompton Road and stay on it as it becomes Old Brompton Road. You’ll pass by a string of shops and restaurants that you can pop into to your heart’s content. One cute one along the way is Bumpkin, which would make for a nice brunch stop. My husband also likes to ogle the Ferrari dealership further down on the left-hand side. If you’re more keen on a pub breakfast or lunch, two great options just across the street from each other are the Duke of Clarence (for higher grade gastropub fare) or the Drayton Arms (your more laidback variety with classic pub grub and a great English breakfast). Otherwise, around this same intersection you’ll see a variety of ethnic cuisines like Indian and Vietnamese.
Keeping on Old Brompton, on your left you’ll eventually see a long brick wall with a blue plaque signifying it as the site of the former home of Beatrix Potter, author of the treasured Peter Rabbit books. A primary school now stands on the site, but you can take a stroll around this neighborhood, called The Boltons, to get a taste for the affluent residences that have stood there since Beatrix’s time.
As you approach the intersection with Earls Court Road, to your left is the building where Lady Diana lived when she was courting Prince Charles, Colherne Court. Turning right onto Earls Court Road here will take you along a corridor highly populated with cafes and pubs, as well as Earls Court tube station if you’re needing to catch the District or Piccadilly lines.
Otherwise, if you’re a film buff, if you stay on Old Brompton, walk past Earls Court Road and turn left at the next street, 64 Colherne Road is the site of the famous metamorphosis scene in the cult-classic An American Werewolf in London—it’s Nurse Alex’s flat! The scene of a more recent film, Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law, is just a block further west on Old Brompton Road at the Brompton Cemetery. This graveyard is one of the Magnificent Seven located all over London that came into being during the Victorian era to solve the issue of overcrowding in individual churchyards. Almost 40 acres in size, it makes for an atmospheric and peaceful walk and/or sit, and is free, as opposed to its Highgate sister from yesterday’s London Bundle.
Across the street from the cemetery, you can’t help but notice the enormous Earls Court convention center that houses major fairs like the London Book Fair and Great British Beer Festival, as well as the prestigious music award show, the BRIT Awards. And, actually, if you’re willing to back-track a bit, on Old Brompton Road just between Colherne Road and the cemetery is a great coffee shop/restaurant named The Troubadour. Established in the 1950s, its music venue downstairs has hosted performances by legends like Bob Dylan (it was the first place he ever performed in London, in fact), Jimi Hendrix, Paul Simon, and Joni Mitchell.
With all this celebrity exposure, you could continue the trend by staying on Old Brompton (which turns into Lillie Road eventually) and hang a left on Fulham Road to catch a flick at the Fulham Broadway Cinema. This positions you perfectly if you’re looking for dinner—there is plenty to choose from within the mall at the cinema or outside in the general Fulham Broadway area—or ready to head back to the comforts of the fabulous London flat where London Relocation Ltd. has placed you after your move to London 🙂 …this being because the cinema is located directly above the Fulham Broadway tube station. Ta da!