Kensington, United Kingdom
Home to Wills and Kate (the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge reside in the ‘not too shabby’ Kensington Palace), the royal borough of Kensington is graceful and green, with genteel white and red-brick townhouses and well-groomed Kensington Gardens, leading through to Hyde Park. The city’s most-coveted (and expensive) real estate and the royal connection have attracted well-heeled shops and five-star restaurants, and a bevy of ‘dress to impress’ bars – the Kensington Roof Gardens even has a resident flamboyance of flamingoes. Stay here and the museum quarter triumvirate (the Victoria & Albert Museum, Science Museum and Natural History Museum – all free entry) and Royal Albert Hall are a short stroll away.
When to go
Kensington looks dashing all-year round – especially during snowfalls when it takes on a Dickensian air. Visit from June to August for the best chance of riding a pedalo around the Serpentine before pausing in that year's artist-led pavilion.
PlanesHeathrow airport (www.heathrowairport.com) is 17 miles away – a 45-minute drive. You can take the Piccadilly line from the airport to South Kensington (a direct journey of around 50 minutes), or jump in a cab.
TrainsSouth Kensington is the closest Tube; London Victoria – a 10-minute Tube ride away – is the nearest major overground station, with services connecting to Kent, Brighton, Gatwick, Surrey and other UK destinations; King’s Cross is about 20 minutes away by Tube, with services to Leeds, Newcastle, Edinburgh and other British hubs. (St Pancras International is just across the road from King’s Cross, if you’re coming by Eurostar.)
AutomobilesSkip the congestion charge and leave your car behind; trust us, you'll want to wander around these pretty parts.