Transport and Schools Guide to South Kensington
Famous for its Francophile flair and thriving expat scene, South Kensington offers outstanding quality of life in the centre of the metropolis. It’s a true cultural hub, home to the Royal Albert Hall, the V&A, the Science and Natural History Museums and much, much more. While the district attracts plenty of visitors, its spacious residential streets provide a quiet and pleasant context away from the crowds – while staying attractively close to London’s outstanding range of amenities.
With its global feel and diverse makeup, South Kensington is a wonderful choice for your London relocation. You and your family will have access to some of the best international dining in the city, as well as a dynamic and wide-ranging programme of leisure activities and cultural events. But what about the practicalities? In this post, we’ll explore South Kensington’s education options, and find out how to get around the district, the borough, the city, and beyond.
South Kensington schools guide
Whether it’s primary or secondary, state or independent, you’ll have an abundance of choice in and around South Kensington. Let’s take a look at some of the schools favoured by local parents.
Primary and preparatory
While Kensington in general has a wealth of independent schools, it’s also a prime spot for state education at the primary level. At the time of writing, all the state primaries in the district are rated either “outstanding” or “good” by Ofsted. Catholic education is a particular strength here, with Our Lady of Victories RC, Servite RC, and Oratory RC all rated outstanding. Bousfield (non-denominational) is another stalwart outstanding school.
If you prefer to go private, the powerhouse Lycée Française (of which more below) has its own primary school, the Ecole Primaire de South Kensington, offering a French curriculum with intensive English elements. Another well-reviewed school is Falkner House, an independent girls’ primary that’s known for balancing academic achievements with personal development. There’s also an associated boys’ school. You’ll find great co-educational choices, too, including Hyde Park School and Thomas’s Kensington.
South Kensington also has a number of very well-regarded prep schools including Sussex House (boys only) and Hill House (co-ed). Girls also have the option of an all-through education at Queen’s Gate school, which is academically strong but especially known for its focus on creativity and the arts.
If you’re looking for an outstanding state secondary, you’ll find several within easy reach of South Kensington. Kensington Aldridge Academy is one strong co-educational option, as is Chelsea Academy. Nearby Chelsea also houses the Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School.
One of the district’s best independent schools is also one of its most famous features: the Lycée Française Charles de Gaulle. This independent day school offers a bilingual education to boys and girls. Students can opt to follow either the UK or the French curriculum, culminating in A-levels or Baccalauréat respectively. The Lycée is the only British school of its kind and it attracts many French – and Francophile – families to move to South Kensington.
As well as Queen’s Gate, those seeking an excellent girls-only education are also drawn to the area by the historic St Paul’s Girls’ School, just a short distance away in Hammersmith. The schools mentioned here are just some of the options available, and you’ll find it easy to reach other Central London schools if you want to widen your range even further.
South Kensington transport guide
Unsurprisingly given its central location, South Kensington is very well connected. You’ll easily be able to move around Central London and beyond with no need for a car.
In the heart of “South Ken”, you’ll find two tube stations: South Kensington and Gloucester Green, both on the Piccadilly and the Circle and District Lines. This means you’re connected directly to Liverpool Street, Paddington, Victoria, and King’s Cross & St Pancras – and, from there, to France and Belgium via the Eurostar. These lines also bring you to Kensington Olympia, where you can access the Southern national rail line and the West London Overground.
If you prefer to stay at street level, you can easily travel by bus. You’ll find 45 bus stops in South Kensington, serving a total of 23 routes. Wherever you need to go in London, you can find a connection – and chances are good that you won’t even have to change. There are plenty of cycling routes too, whether you take your own bike or use the Santander Cycles network.
Of course, there are moments when it’s just more convenient to drive. But that doesn’t mean you need to have your own car. There are services nearby where you can hire a car with driver, such as iChauffeur and EG Chauffeurs. But you’re also covered by the Zipcar network. This is an on-demand car-sharing service that lets you hire a vehicle whenever you need to, for as long as it’s useful.
Not in a rush? South Kensington isn’t called Little Paris for nothing. Its pretty, well-maintained streets are a pleasure to stroll along. You’ll find plenty of opportunities to stop for a coffee or drop into one of the many cafés, bakeries and bookshops, French or otherwise. And if you’re in the mood to go further afield, the borough of Kensington and Chelsea is eminently walkable. Whether you’re exploring the neighbourhood or using it as a starting point for a longer Central London itinerary, there are lots of routes to take.
The combination of big-city amenities, continental atmosphere and a wealth of resources of all kinds – education, culture, infrastructure – makes South Kensington a very appealing destination for families looking for a London home. If you’re considering moving to South Kensington, Cadogan Tate’s expertise is at your disposal. Established in 1977 in Covent Garden, we’re a local business with international reach. Our highly trained team offers a range of services, including fine art removals, designer services and secure, specialist storage.
If you’re facing a national or international relocation, and looking for a short-term rental or a home for life, we can help. Contact us today to talk over your move and receive your free, bespoke quote.