Over the 18 to 19 June weekend, the Great Exhibition Road Festival kicked off a summer of events in Kensington and Chelsea.
The first time the festival has been in person since 2019, not even the sudden change in weather could dampen the spirits of crowds who flocked to South Kensington for the first of the borough’s cultural programme which celebrates innovation, creativity and showcases the best of the borough’s cultural institutions.
Designed as a free celebration of science and the arts each summer in South Kensington, the area is unique in London for its multitude of world-famous landmarks, including three of the UK’s most-visited museums: the V&A Museum, the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum.
The area has long been a major cultural destination around the world, with 56,000 visitors each day coming to the borough on average. Pre-pandemic, more people on average came through South Kensington tube station than London Heathrow terminal 5, and Cllr Emma Will believes the area’s tourism is key to the borough’s wider economic recovery.
Cllr Emma Will, Lead Member for Culture, Leisure and Community Safety said:
“It was great to be back amongst the buzz of the Great Exhibition Road Festival, where avant-garde arts met with the future of technology and science. There’s so much on offer here in Kensington and Chelsea to enjoy and be inspired by this summer, with public art trails, the Kensington and Chelsea Festival and more.
"South Kensington is home to some of the most famous museums, galleries and educational institutions - the Council plays a key role in supporting and championing their offer, which is key to our borough’s economic recovery post-pandemic, and that of London more widely.”
This year’s theme of the Great Exhibition Road Festival explored unchartered waters and trailblazers, but it was the much-welcomed familiar excitement that returned to the area – something we look forward to seeing much more of in the coming months with the approach of many more local events.
On Friday 1 July, the Kensington and Chelsea Festival returns to the borough with a wide-ranging programme of performances, art installations and events, while the Kensington and Chelsea Art Week launched its new public art trail this weekend, with the 2022 theme of ‘Nourish’ for its fifth year. Those looking to get active can enjoy a range of free indoor, outdoor taster sessions and a welcome return of our Festival of Activity and Wellbeing towards the end of next month on Saturday 23 July alongside much more.
Keep an eye out for what’s coming up in the borough with our local newsletters and through social media.