Thursday, 04, December 2014

Filed under:
The Kensington

Written by
Nicola Brady

Secrets of a concierge: The Kensington Hotel

The Kensington hotel


We spoke to Vincent Peach, the head concierge at The Kensington Hotel, to see where he recommends.

First things first…

If you only had a few hours to spare, I would recommend getting on a  Hop On Hop Off London tour bus. You’ll see all the major sights, with added commentary and insight, all without traipsing around town. It’s a good way to tick a lot of things off the list in one swoop, too. 

Must see attractions…

The  Victoria & Albert Museum is the greatest museum of art and design. It’s only a short walk from the hotel and you can’t miss the huge grand entrance. You could easily spend the whole day browsing the different rooms, but it’s worth keeping an eye on the new exhibitions too, which are always changing. Right now they have exhibitions on Horst and iconic wedding dresses, but in March the Alexander McQueen retrospective is opening, which will be huge.   

I always encourage guests to go to the  British Museum, which I think is the biggest and best museum in town. It’s a world museum with a fantastic Egyptian section and artefacts from all over the world, covering many centuries.  You can walk there from the Kensington Hotel, and it will take you less than an hour - plus you’ll go past some great little spots, like Fortnum and Mason and Hyde Park. 

London City

Secret spot…

A great hidden spot is the  Chelsea Physic Garden. Tucked away beside the Thames, it’s a beautiful walled garden, celebrating the beauty and the importance of plants. It was founded in 1673 by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries, so its apprentices could study the medicinal qualities of plants. It’s open from 11.00 - 18.00, from Tuesday to Sunday. 

All time favourites…

One of my favourite areas in London is Covent Garden. It has a great range of designer shops, a huge arts and crafts market and many restaurants, including new ones that are popping up all the time. It’s also great fun watching the street entertainers! You’re not too far from the theatre district or Leicester Square, and it’s a great place to wander for a few hours.

Give it a miss…

The only thing I wouldn’t recommend is the tube at rush hour! It’s incredibly manic and uncomfortable, and it makes the underground a lot trickier to navigate. If you avoid it from 8am – 10am and 5pm – 7pm during the week, you’ll find it a lot more enjoyable. 

The London Eye

Iconic London…

The  Tower of London was the home of our early kings and queens, and the Crown Jewels in their entire spender are displayed there. I advise visiting the Jewels first, then joining a Beefeater tour. These gentlemen are knowledgeable and give a fun and informed tour. It’s also a beautiful building in itself, right on the river. If you happen to visit when it’s getting dark, it’s illuminated and looks great against the backdrop of the London skyline.

For peace and quiet…

Sitting by the Serpentine in Hyde Park is a wonderfully relaxing way to spend a few hours. It’s where I feel most at home in the city, feeding the ducks, watching the rowers and maybe having a picnic.

Most common request…

The question I’m asked all the time is “How far away is Harrods?” That’s the question. And my answer? Just up the road. Best shop in the world!

The life of a concierge…

It may sound corny, but a happy guest that has really enjoyed their visit to London makes you feel that you’ve done a good job. I love giving someone the advice that makes the difference to their visit.

You can see more about The Kensington Hotel  here

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