Learn more about Kensington
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|OS grid reference:||TQ255795|
|London borough:||Kensington & Chelsea|
|County level:||Greater London|
|Sovereign state:||United Kingdom|
|Ceremonial county:||Greater London|
|Historic county:||Middlesex (1889)|
|Police force:||Metropolitan Police|
|Fire brigade:||London Fire Brigade|
|Ambulance service:||London Ambulance|
|Post office and telephone|
|Postal district:||SW7, W8, W14|
|London Assembly:||West Central|
|London | List of places in London|
Kensington is a district of West London within the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, located 2.8 miles (4.5km) west of Charing Cross. An affluent and densely-populated area, its commercial heart is Kensington High Street and it contains the well-known museum district of South Kensington.
Its name came from Anglo-Saxon Cēnsiginga tūn = "The village or enclosure of Keen-Victory's people".
The focus of the area is Kensington High Street, a busy commercial centre with many shops, typically upmarket. The street was declared London's second best shopping street in February 2005 thanks to its range and number of shops. 
Kensington's second activity centre is South Kensington, where a variety of small shops are clustered close to the Underground station. This is also the southern end of Exhibition Road, the thoroughfare that links the area's museums and educational institutions together.
The edges of Kensington are not well-defined; in particular, the southern part of Kensington blurs into Chelsea, which has a similar architectural style. To the west, a transition is made across the West London railway line and Earl's Court Road further south into other districts, whilst to the north, the only obvious dividing line is Holland Park Avenue, to the north of which is the similar district of Notting Hill.
In the north east, the large Royal Park of Kensington Gardens (continguous with its western neighbour, Hyde Park) is an obvious buffer between Kensington and areas to the north east. The other main green area in Kensington is Holland Park, just north of Kensington High Street, whilst Kensington has numerous small residential garden squares.
Kensington is, in general, an extremely affluent area - a trait that it now shares with its neighbour to the south, Chelsea. In fact the "most expensive street in England" is claimed to be Earls Terrace, where houses cost upwards of £4 million each on average in early 2005 . Additionally, most neighbouring districts are also well-off, including Knightsbridge and Brompton to the east and the nearest parts of Notting Hill to the north. To the west is the less affluent (but far from poverty-stricken) area of Earl's Court.
Kensington is also very densely populated; it forms part of the most densely populated local government district (the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea) in the United Kingdom. This high density is not formed from high-rise buildings; instead, it has come about through the subdivision of large mid-rise Victorian and Georgian terraced houses (generally of some four to six floors) into flats. Unlike other parts of the Borough, Kensington itself has almost no high-rise buildings - the exception being Cromwell Road's Holiday Inn, a 27-storey hotel.
Notable attractions and institutions in Kensington (or South Kensington) include: Kensington Palace in Kensington Gardens, the Royal Albert Hall opposite the Albert Memorial in Hyde Park, the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Royal College of Art, and Imperial College London. The Olympia exhibition hall is just over the western border in Hammersmith.
Kensington is part of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, and lies within the Kensington & Chelsea parliamentary constituency. Prior to 1965 Kensington formed the Royal Borough of Kensington, and some residents objected to the merger with Chelsea, formerly an inexpensive and bohemian borough compared with the fashionable Royal Borough.
Kensington is crossed east-west by three main roads, the most important of which is the A4 or Cromwell Road which connects it to both central London and Heathrow Airport, as well as providing the main route out of the city from the district. To the north is the mostly-parallel Kensington Road (of which Kensington High Street forms a large part), linking central London and Hammersmith to the area. To the south is Fulham Road, which connects South Kensington with Fulham to the southwest. North-south connections are not as well-developed and there is no obvious single route through the area.
Kensington is well-served by public transport and is located in the central zone of the public transport network; three London Underground lines serve the district via stations at High St Kensington, Gloucester Road and South Kensington. All three are served by the Circle Line which connects them to London's railway terminals. The District Line also serves all three stations, albeit on different branches; it links the latter two to Westminster and the City. The Piccadilly Line also links South Kensington and Gloucester Road to the West End in about 15 minutes, and in the other direction to Heathrow Airport in about 45 minutes.
A number of local bus services link Kensington into the surrounding districts, and key bus hubs are Kensington High Street and South Kensington station. These bus services will be improved in frequency and spread with the western extension of the London congestion charge area, which will require vehicles driving into or around Kensington to pay a daily fee of £8 from 19 February 2007.
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