King’s Road

Kensington & Hyde Park

At the counter-cultural forefront of London fashion during the technicolour '60s and anarchic '70s (Ian Fleming's fictional spy James Bond had a flat in a square off the road), the King’s Rd today is more a stamping ground for the leisure-class shopping set. The last green-haired Mohawk punks – once tourist sights in themselves – shuffled off sometime in the 1990s. Today it's all Muji, Calvin Klein, Foxtons and a sprinkling of specialist shops; even pet canines are slim and snappily dressed.

In the 17th century, Charles II fashioned a love nest here for himself and his mistress Nell Gwyn, an orange-seller turned actress at the Drury Lane Theatre. Heading back to Hampton Court Palace at eventide, Charles would employ a farmer’s track that inevitably came to be known as the King’s Rd.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Kensington & Hyde Park attractions

1. Saatchi Gallery

0.21 MILES

This grandly housed gallery In the Duke of York's Headquarters hosts temporary exhibitions of experimental and thought-provoking work across a variety of…

2. National Army Museum

0.27 MILES

This inventively redesigned museum vibrantly relates the history of the British Army, from the perspective of its servicemen and servicewomen. Reopening a…

3. Royal Hospital Chelsea

0.33 MILES

Designed by Christopher Wren, this superb structure was built in 1692 to provide shelter for ex-servicemen. Since the reign of Charles II, it has housed…

4. Chelsea Physic Garden

0.34 MILES

You may bump into a wandering duck or two as you enter this walled pocket of botanical enchantment, established by the Apothecaries’ Society in 1673 for…

5. Michelin House

0.35 MILES

Built for Michelin between 1905 and 1911 by François Espinasse, and completely restored in 1985, the building blurs the stylish line between art nouveau…

6. Carlyle’s House

0.47 MILES

From 1834 until his death in 1881, the eminent Victorian essayist and historian Thomas Carlyle dwelt in this three-storey terrace house, bought by his…

7. Peace Pagoda

0.56 MILES

Erected in 1985 by a group of Japanese Buddhists to commemorate Hiroshima Day (6 August), the pagoda in Battersea Park displays the Buddha in the four…

8. Chelsea Old Church

0.57 MILES

This beautiful and original church stands behind a bronze monument to Thomas More (1477–1535), who had a close association with it. Original features of…