If you are visiting London this summer there’s plenty to do in the cultural heart of the capital around Knightsbridge, South Kensington and Notting Hill, with free museums to explore and parks to relax. Accommodation in Central London can be notoriously expensive, especially if you want to be close to the main sights, but Imperial College offers an affordable alternative with its summer accommodation in London.
Summer accommodation in Central London
There’s a choice of locations in Imperial College’s university accommodation in London, such as South Kensington, Paddington and Notting Hill – all perfectly located to see the museums and other cultural attractions nearby. And although it’s a lot more affordable than most centrally located hotels, you don’t need to compromise on quality or convenience. The two South Kensington properties are rated 4* by Quality in Tourism and you can enjoy your breakfast in the on-site cafe.
A Cultural Map of London – things to see near the Imperial College Accommodation
The summer accommodation in London is perfectly located for some of the top things to do in South Kensington, Knightsbridge and Hyde park – click here to see the cultural map of London above, showing you all the things to see that are close to the accommodation.
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10 Things to do in South Kensington and Central London
There are plenty of activities suitable for all ages close to the accommodation – and even better many of them are free! Here are ten things to do in South Kensington and Central London that we recommend you visit while staying at the Imperial College summer accommodation. More info: Discover South Kensington website
1. The Royal Albert Hall
The Beit Hall accommodation is just next door to the Royal Albert Hall which was opened in 1871 and is one of the London’s most iconic concert halls. You can take a tour of the building or book for one of the 350 performances that take place each year. Between July and September check out the BBC Proms concerts that take place between July and September with tickets going on sale in May, aiming to bring classical music to the widest audience with a great atmosphere. More info: Royal Albert Hall website
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Museums in South Kensington
There are three of London’s largest museums in South Kensington, which can be found along Exhibition Road and are free to visit. There’s lots to see so you may want to dip into just a few galleries in each one, or focus on the museum that interests you most.
2. The Victoria and Albert Museum
The Victoria and Albert Museum is a must-see for those who love art and design and is home to 3,000 years’ worth of amazing artefacts from many cultures. The collections are free to visit although there’s a charge for the special exhibitions, such as the one about Frida Kahlo that’s taking place this summer. We especially love the ground floor cafe, where you can have lunch in the original tea room designed in the decorative Arts and Crafts style by William Morris and the courtyard with a shallow pool where children can paddle in hot weather. More infö: V&A Museum Website
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3. The Science Museum
The Science Museum is packed full of intriguing interactive exhibits for fun and learning for the whole family. In every part of the museum are chances to immerse yourself in different aspects of the world all around us and there’s something for kids and adults of all ages. More info: Science Museum Website
4. The Natural History Museum
This is the place to find answers to your big nature questions and delve into stories about the Museum’s collections, scientists and research. Uncover the history of life on earth, from the smallest insects to the largest mammals. The famous cast of Dippy the Dinosaur a.k.a Diplodocus normally greets visitors in the entrance hall but he’s currently on a UK tour but you’ll be able to see 82ft Blue Whale skeleton instead. More info: Natural History Museum website
5. Hyde Park – in the heart of London
In the heart of London and close to all the accommodation is Hyde Park with summer events and plenty of quiet places under the trees where you can relax. At the heart of the park is the Serpentine Lake, where you can feed the ducks, or dabble your toes in the Princess Diana Fountain. There are numerous cafes and restaurants for a bite to eat and if feeling active you can hire a boat, play tennis, cycle or even go horse riding in Hyde Park. Read my article about things to do in Hyde Park. More info: Hyde Park Website
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6. Kensington Gardens – adjoining Hyde Park
Kensington Gardens is on the west side of Hyde Park, in fact the two parks merge seamlessly into one another. Opposite the Royal Albert Hall you’ll see the Albert memorial statue, since Queen Victoria’s consort Prince Albert was behind many of the cultural institutions and museums of South Kensington. The Serpentine Gallery is free to visit and you can swim at the Serpentine Lido as well as visiting the boating pond close to Kensington Palace. The palace is still a royal residence and the gardens surrounding it are beautiful and free to visit. Read my article about things to do in Kensington Gardens. More Info: Kensington Gardens website
7. Kensington Palace
This royal residence is the current home of The Duke and Duchess or Cambridge, Prince Harry and other members of the Royal family. In the 18th century the mansion became the household of King William and Queen Mary and was later the childhood home of Queen Victoria. You can see the apartments where the young Victoria grew up and there’s an exhibition of the dresses worn by Princess Diana who also lived here. Be sure to visit the beautiful sunken gardens adjoining the palace which are free to visit. More Info: Kensington Palace website
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8. Notting Hill and Portobello Road street market
You may recognise Notting Hill from Richard Curtis’ hit film of the same name, when the characters played by Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant fall in love after meeting in his quirky travel bookshop. This popular (and these days rather upmarket) neighbourhood of West London, is famous for its carnival which takes place each year on August Bank Holiday Monday. Portobello Road is full of quirky antique shops and colourful houses, and especially comes alive on Fridays and Saturdays when the whole road is taken over by the famous Portobello Road flea market. More info: Portobello Rd Website
9. The Wallace Collection
Across Hyde Park and not far from Oxford Street you’ll find The Wallace Collection, with 25 galleries of old master paintings, porcelein and furniture, on display in a beautiful London townhouse. The collection is free to visit and was built up as the personal art collection of Sir Richard Wallace in the 18th and 19th centuries. The courtyard of the mansion has a glass roof enclosing the light and airy brasserie restaurant which is a lovely place to have lunch. More info: The Wallace Collection Website
10. The State Rooms of Buckingham Palace
During the summer, the state rooms of Buckingham Palace, the Queen’s residence, are open to the public and it’s worth booking your tickets well in advance since this Royal residence is only open to the public for 10 weeks of the year. The magnificent state rooms, full of colour and ornate gold decoration, are where the Queen welcomes and entertains her guests from all over the world. You’ll see the royal art collection, ballroom and grand staircase and your visit ends in the gardens, which are the largest private gardens in London, complete with the lake. More info: Buckingham Palace website
For further information about visiting London: Visit London website
Booking the summer accommodation in London at Imperial College
If you’d like to explore the cultural delights of central London this summer, check out the affordable summer accommodation in central London offered at Imperial College.
From beginning of July to end of September (dates may vary from year to year) Imperial College opens its student halls of residence for summer stays, offering the chance of a weekend visit to London or a longer stay while you see the sights. Across the four central London locations there are 1800 rooms available as single and twin bedrooms – standard or ensuite to suit your requirements and budget.
You have a choice of four different locations for accommodation in London which are all centrally located;
Beit Hall – a traditional Grade II listed building located in South Kensington, next to the Albert Hall and moments from Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. This 4* accommodation offers single and twin bedrooms with either shared or en suite bathrooms and is for guests who are over 18. Aprox rates per room / night: Single standard from £58 Twin en suite from £83 More info about Beit Hall
Prince’s Gardens – overlooking the leafy Prince’s Gardens in South Kensington and a short walk from the V&A and Natural History Museum. Prince’s Gardens offers a range of 4* accommodation with single and twin bedrooms all with en-suite bathroom facilities. If you’re travelling with the family, Prince’s Gardens also welcomes children. Aprox rates per room / night: Single en suite from £82, twin en suite from £108 per room (breakfast additional £10 per person per day) More info about Prince’s Gardens
At both Beit Hall and Prince’s Gardens you can enjoy a continental or full English breakfast in the on-campus SCR Restaurant (additional £10 charge) and have use of the gym and swimming pool at the Ethos Sports centre in nearby Prince’s Gardens for a small extra charge. Other cafe options are available on the South Kensington campus for meals throughout the day.
Pembridge Gardens – The accommodation is in three interconnecting Georgian houses, located in the heart of Notting Hill and a short distance from Portobello Road and Kensington Gardens. Pembridge Gardens offers single and twin bedrooms with either en-suite or shared bathroom facilities. Guests are also able to use the complimentary tea and coffee making facilities in the kitchens. Aprox rates per room / night: Single standard from £38, Twin en suite from £71 More info about Pembridge Gardens
Wilson House – located in Paddington and convenient for the station and tube, with easy access to Oxford St, Hyde Park and Marble Arch. The recently refurbished Victorian property benefits from a newly built annex and offers a choice of single and twin bedrooms with either en-suite or shared bathroom facilities. Guests are also able to use the complimentary tea and coffee making facilities in the kitchens. Aprox rates per room / night: Single standard from £50, Twin en suite from £83 More info about Wilson House
All the rooms have complimentary tea and coffee making facilities, free wifi and complimentary toiletries. You’ll have use of shared common areas with TV, laundry facilities on site and a 24 hr reception with secure swipe card access.
If you’re unsure about which location would suit you best, here’s a handy comparison chart. The rates quoted above are based on a mid-week stay for en suite rooms. Weekend rates may be higher and rates are lower if you book a standard room with shared bathroom – for exact rates please check availability on the website.
Take a look at this video about the Summer Accommodation in London at Imperial College
If you can’t see the video above about staying in London at Imperial College Summer Accommodation please view it on Youtube here
This article is brought to you in partnership with Imperial College Summer accommodation in London