A place of culture to visit and explore

A place of culture to visit and explore

Kensington and Chelsea has one of the strongest visitor economies in London. South Kensington is home to The Natural History, Science and Victoria and Albert Museums, which welcome over 10 million visitors each year between them, while many other cultural gems can be found further north, including Kensington Palace, the Design Museum, Leighton House Museum and the Museum of Brands. We hope to see these great cultural institutions go from strength to strength, while widening access and engagement with local people.

The borough generates £325 million a year in business rates, the ninth most in the country, of which it retains £65m to fund local services. We have some of the most iconic locations in the capital, from Portobello Road to Knightsbridge, and many beautiful residential streets and garden squares.

High streets everywhere are under pressure from the growth of large shopping malls and online retail. We want ours, including Kensington High Street and Kings Road, Chelsea, to evolve and adapt to create a new kind of retail experience and recover their cachet as much loved destinations in their own right. The Council will bring together all those with a stake in their high street, to develop a vision for its future and a plan for its improvement, starting with Kensington High Street.

As the principal host borough for the Notting Hill Carnival, we are delighted to celebrate the diverse heritage of the people of Kensington and Chelsea. We will continue to support and promote Carnival and other events which draw visitors here and enrich our cultural scene.

The Council is developing a new Culture Plan that will harness and support the power of arts and culture to bring communities together, improve health and well-being, and enhance skills and enterprise to develop the next generation of talent. Following on from a series of conversations with cultural providers, practitioners, retailers and residents, a draft of the Culture Plan has been created. During February 2020, further engagement will take place to gather opinion on the draft.

Would like to book into one of the conversation sessions taking place across the Borough or provide comments on the draft?

Contact Verena Cornwall - Head of Culture and Place:

Culture Plan 2020-2025


What we want to see

  • Thriving high streets, reflecting this diverse and metropolitan part of London.
  • A safe and spectacular annual Notting Hill Carnival.
  • The museums and cultural institutions in the borough going from strength to strength.
  • More well manged cultural events and 'pop ups' taking place in the borough.
  • More filmmakers using locations in the borough.
  • A place which is pleasant and easy to get around on foot and by bicycle.
  • Our attractions accessible to all.
  • Every park promoting public wellbeing and being well used for recreation.

What we will do

  • Convene local stakeholders to create a new vision and improvement plan for Kensington High Street.
  • Continue to provide financial and logistical support to Carnival.
  • Promote and celebrate our local creative and cultural offer.
  • Host the 2019 Great Exhibition Road Festival, connecting some of the world’s most iconic institutions in a fusion of the arts and sciences.
  • Support delivery of a more spacious and accessible Leighton House, with more community outreach.
  • Complete the refurbishment of Chelsea Old Town Hall.
  • Promote filming in the borough.
  • Encourage cycling by putting our own funds towards maintaining local roads and keeping them pothole-free.
  • Continue to invest in our parks and public spaces.