Nobody drives in London, there’s just too much traffic. Well, that’s how the saying goes, anyway. Admittedly, a second’s rational thought will spot the hole in that sentence, but anyway. While the city prefers for people to make use of its marvellously excellent (not to mention very charismatic) public transport system, sometimes, you just have to drive somewhere.
If you’re trying to park to reach an attraction near Kensington Gardens or to perhaps do some shopping near Kensington Gardens, there are a number of key locations to try.
Renowned for its plethora of museums, Exhibition Road is certainly a popular destination in the city for those wishing to visit the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum or the V&A Museum. Although they certainly don’t have anything in the way of their own parking, there are a number of venues nearby that specialise in providing safe places in London to leave your car or motorcycle.
NCP has two car parks at Cadogan Place and Pavilion Road, both of which are just a short walk from Kensington Gardens and have excellent access to the Royal Albert Hall, the Prince Albert Memorial and the Museum Quarter. The company also advertises spots at its Hyde Park venue
While these spaces are safe, supported by a 24 hour helpline and close to the heart of the city, they come at quite a price. A single hour will set you back £12, with costs spiralling up to £48 for anything between three and 24 hours. Motorcyclists have less to complain about – it’s just £5 per day. Spaces MUST be booked in advance on the internet.
Royal Albert Hall
If you’re travelling to Kensington Gardens to see a show at the Royal Albert Hall then you may want to check to see if you can make use of their very limited parking. The venue rents out a small number of spaces at the nearby College of Music, although it’s worth noting that unless you have a disability or are paying an outrageous amount of money to see a performance here, your request is not likely to be successful.
London’s city council goes to some pretty impressive measures to ensure that its residential parking isn’t hijacked by people wanting to spend a day in the centre of town. If you’re planning on using residential parking, bear in mind that you’ll struggle to find anywhere that allows for longer than four hours (always between the specified hours) and that costs can range from £4 an hour to £8 an hour.
Hornton Street Car Park
This 24 hour car park located on – would you have guessed it? – Hornton Street is ideally placed for those wishing to explore the shops on Kensington High Street or the wonders of Kensington Gardens or Holland Park. An attendant is generally on hand during the daylight hours at the nearby parking shop. Prices for the whole day (ten hours) start from an incredible (but not in a good way) £45. If you’re only planning to be in Kensington for four hours though, you won’t pay more than £20.
Union Car parks
Located on Harrington Road, this car park is located within easy access of South Kensington Tube station. A 24-hour attendant adds to the reassurance that your vehicle of choice will be safe and a ten-hour stay in the capital will set you back a reasonable £33. There is no need to book in advance and the site is outside of the congestion zone. However, there is a trade-off – the car park’s opening hours vary depending on the day, and while you can leave your car there overnight if you wish, you aren’t able to take it out of the car park between the hours of 11:30pm and 7am. Parking spaces are also fairly limited and the lack of online booking makes it difficult to be sure of a space before you arrive, so be sure to have a ready back-up such as one of the options above.