rom its grand Victorian buildings and private garden squares to the cultural institutions that have given this part of London its undeniable charm and personality for decades, it’s not hard to see South Kensington’s unique appeal.
The Other House founder, and long-time London resident, Naomi Heaton’s vision and taste are fine-tuned to what the millennial generation wants in terms of lifestyle, consumerism, and culture. And the 11 Victorian terraced houses on Harrington Gardens that now comprise The Other House, South Kensington’s newest residents’ club, are a prime example.
With its slew of high-end boutiques and international luxury brands, along with some of the capital’s most esteemed galleries, museums, restaurants, hotels, and spas, who better than this local expert to give us a tour of one of the most well-bred and dynamic hotspots in town? Here are the best things to do and see in South Kensington.
The museum: The V&A
Naomi says: The Victoria and Albert museum takes you on an amazing journey from Chinese ceramics to Alexander McQueen dresses. Having a keen interest in interior design, I particularly like walking through the unfolding display of domestic interiors from the Renaissance or looking at the wonderful exhibition celebrating the life and work of Beatrix Potter, one of the best-loved children’s authors of the 20th century. She also just happens to be one of the many famous former residents of South Kensington.
We say: One of the world’s leading museums of art, design, and performance, the V&A is a jewel in the crown of the capital’s cultural institutions. Don’t miss this summer’s headline exhibition, Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear, celebrating the power and artistry of masculine attire. At a moment of unprecedented creativity in men's fashion and reflections on gender constructs, this exhibition explores how masculinity has been both designed and defined through the ages.
The art gallery: Cromwell Place
Naomi says: Cromwell Place is a new hub for the arts; a membership organisation offering a hybrid exhibition and working space for art professionals. It has an incredibly exciting roster of exhibitions and events, having housed the 2021 Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize while the National Portrait Gallery remained closed for redevelopment work – a testament to the calibre of work it has on offer.
We say: Formed following the shift in changing industry demands, this pay-for-what-you-need art space signals the future of the industry in the capital. Designed in 1858 by Sir Charles James Freake, Cromwell Place was once the home and studio of artists such as Sir John Lavery. Maintaining the building's period features, spaces have been transformed to house galleries, private workspaces, 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 galleries, collectors, advisors, foundations, and art businesses.
The entertainment: The Royal Albert Hall
Naomi says: A night out at the Royal Albert Hall simply cannot be beaten. Don’t miss Jools Holland and an all-star line-up on 22 June 2022 for Raise the Roof, a charity concert aimed at stopping lives being rocked by prostate cancer. Masterminded by the eminent Jonathan Waxman, founder and president of the charity Prostate Cancer UK, he is coincidentally professor of medicine at Imperial College, one of the world’s most respected universities, located in the very heart of South Kensington.
We say: One of the country’s most iconic venues, the hall is the London home of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the chosen venue of the annual and much-loved BBC Proms. Currently marking 150 years as the nation’s ‘local village hall’, landmark celebrations include major commissions from British artists, headline performances from musical legends, and a series of showcases promoting the next generation of talent.
The restaurant: The Other Kitchen
Naomi says: If you’re looking for a spot to meet friends for breakfast, brunch or lunch, The Other Kitchen will be our new street café on Harrington Gardens. With its signature approach to one-pot dishes, designed by London’s youngest Michelin-starred chef, Asimakis Chaniotis, and our talented head chef Gary White, it's café culture as South Kensington has never experienced before. Our new destination bar, The Owl & Monkey, is also set to stir up the local cocktail scene.
We say: Think all-day street café offering a casual breakfast and lunch, with top-notch coffee and delicious homemade cakes in the afternoon. Just off the bustle of South Kensington’s Gloucester Road, The Other Kitchen strikes a balance of informality and glamour with a signature approach to constantly changing meat, fish and vegan and vegetarian inclusive dishes. It is seasonal, sustainable, low waste – and utterly fabulous, of course.
The shop: The Conran Shop
Naomi says: This gem on the Fulham Road, located in the stunning Art Deco Michelin House, has been a go-to for me for years. The signature mix of design classics and one-off vintage finds makes it a perfect spot for gifts and a quick retail fix.
We say: Home to a wealth of iconic designs and ‘future classics’, this world-famous store was founded by the legendary Sir Terence Conran in 1973 and is still a mecca for those in the know when it comes to acquiring stunning signature pieces. From furniture and lighting to art and accessories, it’s hard to leave without your bags bulging (and your pockets depleted).
The salon: Larry King Hair
Naomi says: Larry King’s flagship salon, located around the corner from The Other House on Harrington Road, is among the very best. With salon clients that include David Gandy, Jamie Redknapp and Pixie Lott, you can’t go wrong when it comes to a cut and colour.
We say: With a range of signature treatments from ‘the gloss’ (a good pick me up in-between colour visits to refresh and tone) to ‘the smudge’ (for a sun-kissed golden glow to lighten your natural hair colour), King’s flagship salon is based on the ethos of ‘a social life for your hair’. Favouring un-intimidating luxury in a relaxed atmosphere, the stellar team of award-winning colourists and stylists will have you looking hot off the runway in no time.
The park: Prince’s Gardens
Naomi says: Hidden away behind rows of Victorian terraced houses, Prince’s Gardens is mostly known only by locals. Originally designed as a private garden square for very grand families, the space is still technically private, being owned by Imperial College, but is open for all to enjoy peacefully as it is still surrounded by residential flats.
We say: One of the capital’s many hidden pocket parks, this rather generous garden square near South Kensington’s museums is a remarkably peaceful space, despite being only one row of houses away from Exhibition Road. Take a picnic on a sunny day and enjoy a spot of tranquillity in the heart of the bustling capital.
Prince’s Gardens, SW7