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the hansom cab
Andy Parsons

Kensington pubs

There are plenty of down-to-earth pubs in well-heeled Kensington and South Kensington – read on for Time Out’s selection of the best

By Laura Richards
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In among the museums of South Kensington and the shops of High Street Kensington, you may not imagine there to be a whole heap of good old-fashioned pubs. But saunter down the backstreets with Time Out to discover the very best boozers this well-heeled neighbourhood has to offer.

RECOMMENDED: Find more fun in the neighbourhood with our Kensington area guide

Churchill Arms

3 out of 5 stars
Bars and pubs Pubs Kensington

Even if you’re not from London, you know this pub from Instagram. It’s decked in flowers or Christmas trees (season dependent) on the outside, while the inside has knickknacks hanging from the ceiling. Beyond the visuals, it’s an atmospheric place to drink, with traditional bar service in the front and a good quality Thai restaurant located at the rear.

Windsor Castle

4 out of 5 stars
Bars and pubs Pubs Notting Hill

The Windsor is an ancient inn, and thankfully a 2013 refurb was sympathetic to its many charms. It’s clad in aged wood, with plenty of compartments for groups to occupy. Although the interior is a delight, the best thing about this Castle is its well-kept and interesting real ale selection. Many also choose it for their weekly Sunday roast spot.

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The Hansom Cab

4 out of 5 stars
Bars and pubs Craft beer pubs West Kensington

Fourth in the growing Pubs of Distinction chain (who describe their hostelries as ‘local beer houses’), you can expect one of the strongest craft beer line-ups in the neighbourhood. However, for many visitors, it seems, the food is top priority, with many enjoying the fancy ingredients that feature. If you’re just grazing, though, ‘beer snacks’ at two for £10 are a good way forward.

Builders Arms

3 out of 5 stars
Bars and pubs Kensington

Hidden among the maze of avenues behind the High Street – this Kensignton establishment has a great local feel. There’s lots to explore for beer drinkers, but cider fans aren’t overlooked either. In summer, you can repair to the outside decking area under the green frontage – a good spot for tucking into the gastropub menu.

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The Hour Glass

4 out of 5 stars
Bars and pubs Pubs South Kensington

The ground floor is a pleasant spot with plenty of standing, leaning and sitting room to enjoy an ale, and bar snacks are well worth seeking out at this food-heavy pub – including Cumberland scotch eggs and pork pies. It’s upstairs that the real food action happens, in a handsome dining room with crisp linen.

The Duke of Clarence

3 out of 5 stars
Bars and pubs Gastropubs South Kensington

A pimped-up local in the Geronimo Inns family, The Duke of Clarence is equidistant from South Kensington and Earl’s Court tube stations and pledges its allegiance to this fancy part of town with its glossy look. Emphasis is on good but expensive food, which the locals seem to lap up.

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Finborough Arms

4 out of 5 stars
Bars and pubs Craft beer pubs Earl’s Court

Family-owned Finborough Arms is a welcoming, non-stuffy pub with a strong line-up on its beer pumps. Make a beeline for seasonal specials and then find a nook in the woodsy interior from which to enjoy it.

Anglesea Arms

4 out of 5 stars
Bars and pubs Pubs South Kensington

Favoured at various times by both Charles Dickens and DH Lawrence, this splendid pub is packed tight on summer evenings, the front terrace and wide main bar area filled with professionals. Allegedly, the Great Train Robbery was plotted here. Wheelings and dealings aren't quite so scandalous from night to night, though.

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King's Arms

3 out of 5 stars
Bars and pubs Chelsea

The former Finch’s, once the haunt of thespian hellraisers from the 1960s, is now a high-ceilinged Young’s pub. Despite touches of modernisation – including a burger shack – the King’s Arms still has the feel of a classic pub.

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