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Has High Street Kensington lost its appeal? Discussions Home

18/04/2022

Back in the 80s and 90s growing up as a kid in West London it was always a treat venturing into High Street Kensington (HSK) with my parents (pretty sure I hold the record for consecutive trips to MacDonald's on HSK on a Saturday between 1987 and 1990!). There was something magical about the place, not as commercial as Oxford Street and not as pretentious as somewhere like Kings Road. You were in London but felt you could have been in Paris or Milan, it was an amazing place for people watching and had the benefit of having Hyde Park on its doorstep as well. In actual fact, a lot of Persians made Kensington their homes post the Revolution because High Street Kensington looked like and represented a sort of class and wealth they often associated with their home land before things went tits up. HSK had a mix of everything quintessential British mixed with Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flare. It had the perfect blend. In it's heyday it was like London's Rodeo Drive. HSK had its own charm and unique quality. It also had the iconic Odeon Cinemas which were a symbol of HSK for many years. Unfortunately, these cinemas were turned into flats circa 5 years ago and you could argue that this is the moment it's star really started to fade. I am afraid to say, in my opinion, HSK seems to be somewhat of a 'has been' shopping spot and perhaps past its glory days. There are still numerous shops and restaurants along the street but the 'wow' factor of yesteryear has diminished. There are various reasons for this : 1) Pandemic, some shops have shut down simply because of a lack of footfall. 2) The rise of on-line shopping. The amazon's of this world have minimised the need to go out and buy from your local shop. 3) Competition. Westfield is just down the road and has everything HSK can offer but under one roof. Having said all that, it may never reach the heights of the 80s/90s but it is not all doom and gloom. There are a lot of fabulous side streets (one particular street hosted infamous after parties - think a modern Studio 54 on steroids) with unbelievable architecture from the days when England ruled the seas and the world. HSK also offers The New Design Museum which is one of the best museum shops in the UK. Close to Holland Park and Leighton House, and there is a tube station and frequent buses, so the area does still have a lot of plus points. Will it ever go back to its glory years? Probably not. Does it still stand tall against other London shopping High Streets and still worth visiting? Yes. It may not blow you away but it still has a lot to offer and the MacDonald's still stands. Who knows, one day someone could beat my record :-) What are your views on HSK? How does it compare to other notable London shopping High Street's?


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Gladiator

(Reviewer)

Responses (3)
19/04/2022

An interesting read. I can't say I'm a huge fan of the place - feels a bit fancy to me. But good to read some of the history of it...


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Big Trev

(Reviewer)

23/05/2022

I really enjoyed reading this.. took me back to my youth.


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zia

(Reviewer)

21/04/2022

Yes an interesting read!


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Wise Bob

(Reviewer)