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South Kensington

Whilst it is difficult to define the boundaries of South Kensington precisely, it is generally considered to be that surrounding the underground station of the same name and also that of Gloucester Road.

Part of South Kensington is rather institutional, housing the Natural History Museum, The Science Museum, Imperial College, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Royal College of Music and The Royal College of Art. However, it is also home to some quiet and graceful garden squares such as Thurloe Square and Onslow Square (nowadays made up of some large and impressive lateral apartments), and one of the gems of the Wellcome Trust Estate (which still controls larges swathes of the area), Pelham Crescent. Elegant white stucco terraced houses sweep in a semi-circle around leafy private gardens, which screen the Victorian crescent from Brompton Cross, a fashionable area of shops, bars and restaurants. Stretches of black iron railings, columned porches and Victorian street lamps complete the scene.

To the north of Cromwell Road the buildings, now almost exclusively converted into flats, offer proportions that are almost impossible to find other than in Belgravia. Here though, the atmosphere is much more relaxed; the French Lycée attracts international residents to the area, which gives it a diverse and distinctly European flavour.

Further west, the buildings change to red-brick, the majority of which comprise flats overlooking some pretty communal gardens. The Boltons Conservation Area, where handsome stucco villas are set round an eye-shaped garden with a church at its centre, is home to some of London’s wealthiest residents.

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