Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens cover a distance of two miles from Oxford Street in the northeast to Kensington Palace, set in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Other districts go in and out of fashion, but this area has been in vogue ever since royalty moved into Kensington Palace in the late seventeenth century.
The most popular tourist attractions lie in South Kensington, where three of London’s top museums – the Victoria and Albert, Natural History and Science museums – along with the vast Royal Albert Hall, stand on land bought with the proceeds of the 1851 Great Exhibition. Chelsea, to the south, has a slightly more bohemian pedigree. In the 1960s, the King’s Road carved out its reputation as London’s catwalk, while in the late 1970s it was the epicentre of the punk explosion. Nothing so rebellious goes on in Chelsea now, though its residents like to think of themselves as rather more artistic and intellectual than the purely moneyed types of Kensington.