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KENSAL RISE



General Information



Documented as 'Kingisholt' (roughly translated to 'The Kind's Wood') in 1253, the name Kensal Green was first cited in 1550. The Green itself is alleged to have been at the intersection of Harrow Road and Flowerhills Lane (modern day Kilburn Lane).

Located close to central London, the name Kensal Green is somewhat puzzlingly interchangeable with Kensal Rise. The boundaries between these areas are unclear and shift depending on who you’re speaking with. To prevent confusion and for the sake of ease, well be defining both areas as “Kensal Rise”.

Kensal’s two main roads – Chamberlayne Road & All Souls Avenue - have strong connections to the area’s past owners. In the middle ages the land was owned by the Countess of Richmond (the mother of King Henry VII) and All Souls' College, Oxford. There was also a small manor of Chamberlayne Wood, named after Richard de Camera, an early 13th century priest who received income from the land.

Thankfully a lot has changed since the middle ages and more recently, in 2009, Vogue named Chamberlayne Road as "the hippest street in Europe" thanks to the shops, restaurants, bars and cafés located here and the beautiful trendy people who frequent them. The likes of Sienna Millar, Daniel Craig, Lily Allen, Paloma Faith and Rita Ora live in the area, which is recognised as one of the most hip-and-happening postcodes in London.



Did You know?
 
Kensal Green Cemetery is the oldest of London's 'Magnificent Seven' burial grounds and is the city's oldest commercial cemetery. The cemetery's designer, George Frederick Carden, based the burial ground on Père Lachaise in Paris, which he was rather infatuated with. The cemetery is home to many famous people, from Victorian engineering-mastermind Isambard Kingdom Brunel, to the legendary playwright Harold Pinter. Due to the abundance of wildlife and nature the cemetery was made a conservation area in 1984 and is home to almost a hundred species of bird!

Queen's Park Rangers football club was formed in 1886 at the National Athletic Ground which stood on the site of the present-day Whitmore Gardens. They have since re-located to Loftus Road in Shepherds Bush.

Celebrated American author Mark Twain opened Kensal Rise Library in 1900. He was presented with an engraved silver key for his services, and in return gifted the Chairman of the Library Committee an autographed photograph of himself and five of his own books.

To compound the baffling riddle that is the Kensal Green / Kensal Rise boarder debate in 1890 Kensal Green station was renamed Kensal Rise!?

Green Spaces

Residents of Kensal Rise have two main parks they can enjoy – Queens Park and Roundwood Park. Both parks are a similar size with Queens Park being 12 hectares and Roundwood Park being just over 10 hectares although each has it’s own distinctive personality and, depending on what you want to do, offers the park goer different options.

Roundwood Park opened in May 1895 and today includes a tranquil path layout, thousands of trees and shrubs, a mock-Tudor lodge, children's gymnasium, wildlife area with aviary, bowling green, Roundwood Lodge Café (although we advise you pick your coffee up before you get here!) and a grand entrance boasting imposing wrought-iron gates and railings. While other parks in the area allow dogs, Roundwood allows owners to take their furry friends of their leads and it is also home to the annual Brent Fireworks Display.

Queen's Park is a wonderful example of a cherished and incredibly popular city park. It has been open to the public since 1887 and the aim of the City of London is to provide well looked-after surroundings and facilities to meet the needs of the park's many visitors, remaining true to the vision of its Victorian founders. Facilities include six all-weather tennis courts, a pitch and putt course, an ornamental garden, table tennis tables, a children's playground with paddling pool, a small zoo, woodland walk area and a café. Queens Park has been named a Green Flag Park (a scheme aimed to recognise and reward well managed parks and green spaces by setting a benchmark in standards) for more than ten years running, in acknowledgement of the quality of its services and environment. It has also been a London in Bloom Gold Award winner in the ‘Large Parks’ classification for two years in a row.

Going Out

The Chamberlayne Pub & Steakhouse is a gastro pub with fine meat in its DNA; its prime beef is sourced from Smithfield Market and is cooked to perfection. This is a meat-lover’s paradise with a vast range of steaks including a 600g Porterhouse, a 750g côte de boeuf and even a 1kg Porterhouse! The Chamberlayne also offers a wide selection of wines, beers, ales and ciders – the perfect accompaniment with your meal. Cosy and relaxed, the Chamberlayne is a wonderful local pub. If you fancy some sunshine and a bit more outside space, then head to The Island on College Road. It’s a great local, family friendly pub that offers real ales and beers from around the country with are rotated frequently, to help keep the selection fresh and exciting. Their extensive cellar of wines from are sourced from around the world and they’re even developing a list of non-alcoholic drinks including beers, kombuchas and other pleasures. They offer an all-day brunch on Saturday and incredible Sunday roasts.

Also on College Road is Gracelands where all the local families as well as the cool & trendy head for their morning caffeine fix and superb breakfasts. The coffee here is great, their poached eggs perfect and the friendly service is even better.

If you’re looking for a little more of a late-night party vibe look no further than Paradise by Way of Kensal Green. Their motto is ‘Home of the restless and the eclectic’ and it’s little wonder why Paradise attracts the most beautiful people not just Kensal Rise but from around London. Paradise is a well-known London destination. The glorious restaurant/bar/pub mix serves outstanding food and the best ales. It's a terrific place for a night out, especially if you want dinner first. All the rooms have a cool and unique feel so it's the perfect location to hire a room for a special event. Come for dinner on a Friday or Saturday and then stay late to make the most of the notorious in-house DJ's. 

For those after a quitter night seek on the Lexi Cinema who claims to be “the UK’s first social enterprise independent boutique digital cinema.” While that’s quite a mouthful it’s still a wonderful example of social enterprise. 100% of the profits are donated to charity and the cinema is run by volunteers. The Lexi Cinema doesn’t just show movies, you can also see live theatre, opera and there’s even an exhibition space. Pit’s also possible to hire the venue for special occasions.

Transport

Tube: Kensal Green tube station is on the Bakerloo line and journey times to Oxford Circus take around 20 minutes.

Rail: Kensal Rise station provides connections through to Richmond & Clapham in the west and Islington in the east. 

Bus: Local bus routes include routes to Notting Hill Gate, Sloane Square, Wandsworth and Vauxhall i via the No. 452. If you fancy a trip to the Royal Albert Hall, Knightsbridge or Victoria your best to jump on the No.52 which also passes through Notting Hil Gate. The No. 6 will take you more central into Marble Arch, Bond Street and Piccadilly Circus. 

Road: Notting Hill is a short 5/10 drive away and motorists can reach the A40 with ease which provides access to the West of England in just twenty minutes. The M1 isn't difficult to reach either for those wanting a more direct route to the North of England. 

Cycle: Cyclists can enjoy a bike path running along the canal from Kensal Green to Paddington. 

Getting away: Locals can reach Heathrow in around 30 minutes via the Bakerloo Line at Kensal Green Station which is only five tube stops to Paddington and from there the Heathrow Express takes 15 minutes to reach the airport. Alternatively access to the M1 is relatively simple via thr North Circular which can take you swiftly to Luton Airport in 30 minutes (with good traffic!). 

David's Recommendations

Best Take Away - Shishlique (55 Chamberlayne Road, NW10 3ND)
Best Coffee –
Vicki’s (43 Kilburn Lane, W10 4AE)
Best Breakfast –
Gracelands (118 College Road, NW10 5HD)
Best Late-Night Venue –
Paradise (19 Kilburn Lane, W10 4AE)
Best Steak –
The Chamberlayne (83 Chamberlayne Road, NW10 3ND)
Best Pizza –
Sacro Cuore (45 Chamberlayne Road, NW10 3NB)