Borough economic profile

Kensington and Chelsea is one of London's wealthiest boroughs and the country's most populous local authority, with more than 13,000 people per square kilometre occupying some of the most valuable real estate in the world. Its proximity to the City of London and central location attracts corporate head offices and small businesses alike, drawn also by the much valued vibrant and attractive environment.

While the majority of the borough is well developed, there are a small number of sites which could provide development opportunities and a further boost to economic prosperity. Similarly, improvements to London’s transport infrastructure, which may include a Cross Rail station could provide opportunities for business growth and new enterprise.

In all there are approximately 18,000 businesses in the Royal Borough, who benefit from being in the midst of the most highly qualified population anywhere in the country and by the ability to attract a workforce from across London and the wider South East. Approximately 120,000 people are employed across all business types but Business Services, Retail, Hospitality, Real Estate, Medical, and Personal Services are the most significant employment sectors.

Visitors are a significant driver of the local economy, with over £3 billion coming into the borough from non-resident spend. The Royal Borough is home to London's 'Museum Quarter'. The Natural History, Science and Victoria and Albert Museums can all be found in South Kensington, while Kensington Palace and many other hidden cultural gems can be found further north. Visitors and residents will also soon be welcoming the Design Museum to Kensington and Chelsea, when it comes to its new home at the former Commonwealth Institute - where Holland Park meets Kensington High Street.

Annual showpieces, such as the Chelsea Flower Show, the Notting Hill Carnival and the open air Opera in Holland Park reflect the broad variety of the borough's social calendar.

Nearly half of all visitor spend is in shops. It's no wonder, as the Royal Borough is home to some of the world’s most renowned and exclusive shopping districts, with the iconic Portobello Road in the North, to Knightsbridge and the King’s Road in the south. Aside from these internationally renowned shopping attractions, there are a plethora of small boutiques and unique merchants, adding to the character and village feel of many parts of the borough.

Useful documents
Further information about the economic conditions and development opportunities can be found in the documents below. Our Economic Development Team are also on hand to discuss opportunities and help new and existing businesses, where possible.

Local development framework - Core strategy 

Employment and land use study [PDF] (file size 2.37 MB)
A balance of trade [PDF] (file size 1.65 MB)
Arts and culture strategy [PDF] (file size 63.97 KB)
Visitor policy [PDF] (file size 87.05 KB)
Study of the visitor economy [PDF] (file size 1.75 MB)