High Street Kensington station opened on 1st October 1868, as the penultimate stop on the Metropolitan Railway extension to Gloucester Road. It is now served by both the Circle and District(Wimbledon to Edgware Road branch) lines.
The station itself is accessed via a small shopping arcade with nice decorative touches. Given Kensington High Street is a major shopping street, it almost feels appropriate that the station itself is flanked by these retail premises.
This could well become a far more common site on the Tube, as Underground bosses have expressed their desire to exploit retail opportunities within station buildings. This would ape what has already happened at many main line rail stations, especially Waterloo where a new upper tier dedicated to shops has recently opened.
The Pub: The Britannia, 1 Allen Street, W8 6UX
Around locations like Kensington High Street, good pubs are not always immediately easy to come by as the main street is dominated by shops. We travelled a few minutes down the High Street, then joined Allen Street to find The Britannia.
The Britannia is owned by Youngs, once rival to Fullers for London’s biggest brewery. Their Wandsworth brewery, the Ram, closed in 2006 when they merged with Charles Wells Brewery to form Wells and Young’s brewery. As of 2013, they still maintain a large pub presence across the capital.
This pub manages to strike the right balance between traditional and gastro. It has clearly been refurbished in recent years but in a sympathetic historical manner. The front room still felt very much like a pub, albeit a very well maintained one. There are plenty of comfy seats in the bar area as well as a real open fire. The walls are decorated with various black and white photos of the local area. For those here for the Gastro experience, there is a light and airy back room dedicated to diners.
When pubs modernise it is all too easy for them to lose their enduring historic character and become gastro by numbers – modern art, funky lighting, stark white walls and so on, Thankfully this has not happened at The Britannia.I strongly recommend popping in for a pint if you’re in the Kensington area.