Elephant & Castle

Bars and pubs Kensington
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The crossroads of family homes and little shops the Elephant & Castle calls home could almost be a quiet village in Oxfordshire, a comparison on which you might muse as you sip a pint of London Pride or Doom Bar (joined by guests such as Thornbridge Jaipur or Stonehenge Sign of Spring) on the terrace.

The interior feels lived in: regulars find their place on a studded, upholstered banquette, in a wooden booth or in an intimate back room lined with newspaper splashes of 20th-century moments (Laika, Neil Armstrong).

The blurb on the menu – pies, pastas, sausages – refers to the pub’s traditional attraction to journalists (it’s within post-deadline range of the Mail’s office). These days, though, you’ll mostly find residents and white-collar workers doing the Standard crossword.


Venue name: Elephant & Castle
Address: 40 Holland Street
W8 4LT
Opening hours: Open 11am-11pm Mon-Sat; noon-10.30pm Sun. Food served noon-10pm daily
Transport: Tube: High Street Kensington tube
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Average User Rating

2.7 / 5

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I like this little pub with a village feel just a stones throw from Kensington High Street but on a quiet back street. It has space to sit outside and on a Saturday afternoon had a few people inside. It has a nice local feel and promises pies and pub grub on the menu. The best bit is the people (and car watching) outside - you'll spot a few Ferrari's crawling around here!


Tucked away on a residential street and only a few minutes away from High Street Kensington, this Nicholson's pub is one of my locals.

I pass it often but a lot of the time when I want to pop in for a drink, I end up going elsewhere because it's just too rammed.

The pub is small so it doesn't take much for it to get full.

There's a small outside area at the front which is a real and popular sun-trap in the summer, but your only chance of getting a space (let alone a seat) is if you go during the week, before 4.

Inside is also small and crying out for a refurb.

It's dark and the layout not great, especially when there's lots of people standing- which is most of the time.

The loos are tiny and bog-standard.

I wouldn't mind the aesthetics so much if I was paying less than the surrounding pubs for a drink, but I'm not.

The long and short of it is that there are much better options within 5 minutes walking distance.

I don't mind a small pub but at least be a charming small pub. Surely it can only be a matter of time before it gets a much-needed facelift.

moderatorStaff Writer

A down-to-earth pub in this neck of the woods is a rare thing, but the E&C pulls it off. Locals rub shoulders with workers from nearby record labels and apart from suffering from the common London pitfall of having a very narrow pavement to accomodate the smokers and outdoor drinkers (staff can be a little overzealous when it comes to asking people to move), it's worth seeking out if you're in the area.