24 HOURS IN
Leighton House Museum
Head to Leighton House Museum. The former home of the Victorian artist Frederic, Lord Leighton (1830-1896), it is one of the most remarkable buildings of the nineteenth century, and contains a fascinating collection of paintings and sculpture by Leighton and his contemporaries. From September, you can also visit 18 Stafford Terrace, down the road – it’s the former home of the Punch illustrator Edward Linley Sambourne (1844–1910). Over 1,500 of his original cartoons and drawings are still available to see, and the building itself is beautiful.
12 Holland Park Rd, Kensington, London W14 8LZ +44 20 7602 3316
Head to Clarke’s restaurant for lunch. A Kensington institution, Sally Clarke has been serving fresh, seasonal food for over 30 years, and it was Lucien Freud’s favourite restaurant. There’s also an excellent food shop and bakery next door, that sells everything from pies and pastries to desserts and raw ingredients.
124 Kensington Church St, Kensington, London W8 4BH +44 20 7221 9225
Walk over to the Brompton Oratory. Built 1884, this spectacular neo-baroque Roman Catholic church is well worth a look.
Brompton Rd, Knightsbridge, London SW7 2RP +44 20 7808 0900
Brompton Road Shopping
While you’re in the area, take in some of Brompton Road’s great shops. Just opposite the Oratory is cult Scandinavian furniture and homewares shop Skandium – a great place for picking up tableware and later in the year, Christmas decorations. You’ll also find antiquarian map sellers The Map House around the corner just off Beauchamp Place, and it’s worth popping into Amathus wine shop, where the staff are incredibly knowledgeable.
Brompton Rd, London
Head back to The Kensington to freshen up, before setting out to enjoy a classic French film at Cine Lumiere at the French Institute
17 Queensberry Pl, Kensington, London SW7 2DT +44 20 7871 3515
For dinner, Macellaio RC in South Kensington is an unmissable experience. Pick your steak from the counter at this authentic Italian grill, and enjoy it grilled simply with sea salt, garlic and rosemary. The restaurant’s speciality is the Fassone beef steak from Piedmonte, and if steak isn’t your thing, the homemade pizza and pasta is excellent too.
84 Old Brompton Rd, Kensington, London SW7 3LQ +44 20 7589 5834
Polish Hearth Club
Finish the evening with a couple of vodkas at the Polish Hearth Club on Exhibition Road – the terrace, which overlooks the tranquil Prince’s gardens, has the nicest tables
55 Prince’s Gate, Exhibition Road, London SW7 +44 20 7589 0101
Fernandez and Wells
Before heading home, there’s just time to pick up a good coffee and a breakfast treat from Fernandez and Wells. Their Portuguese egg custard tarts, known as pastel de nata, are legendary, as are their almond croissants and blondies.
8 Exhibition Road, London SW7 2HF +020 7589 7473