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Friday, March 28, 2014

London by Postcode: W8


I thought it would be fun to explore the city with a camera this year and start a new series here on the blog. Last weekend, The Scot and I took a look at my list of places to explore and thought that Kensington would be a great first postcode to snap! The day took a turn for overcast between my flat and Kensington, but a cloudy London is a true London! This series will be photo-led and photo-heavy. Hopefully my words will help you know a bit more about each place, but it's really a chance to take a little visual fieldtrip.


As an American, the first time I visited London I found the postcode system a bit fascinating. Unlike in the US, where one ZIPcode emcompasses a whole town or section of a city, UK postcodes are much more specific. Areas get a general 1st half and then a very specific (to a street, development, or large building) 2nd half. The building my flat is in, for example, has its own postcode. This makes it really easy for places like Chinese delivery restaurants to be specific as to where they deliver, etc. The whole of the UK adopted this system in the post-WW2 years, but London did it in the late 19th century. London was the first and its system is based mainly on compass points. Some postcodes are small and some are large and some are tiny. They're all full of things to see and do!


W8 is the main area of Kensington stretching from the edge of Kensington Gardens/Palace area in the East to the Holland Park area in the West. It's really quite a little postcode area. The lovely St. Mary Abbot's Church and its quirky stonework-filled gardens and flowers are a great little spot to bring your lunch or coffee and have a little peace and quiet.


The Barkers building, these days home to a ginormous Whole Foods and various fancy clothes shops and such, is a huge part of Kensington High Street. It's one of my favorite buildings in the area, architecturally. Lots of buildings in the area have fun little details.


Kensington is definitely a high-end part of London. Fancy cars are common, though maybe not all parked streetside! Even fancy types have to feed their pets, though. Animal Fair is a funky, more old-school pet store. 2 of my fish came from there (and I've read that Orlando Bloom has been known to pick up doggy kibble there!).


Lots of red brick and one street (just behind Kensington Palace) that's largely full of embassies and also full of "no photographs" signs. It's the only place I've ever seen such signage and it tempts me every time I pass by.


W8 isn't a huge postcode, but I do think it's full of some old fashioned charm as well as modern sensibilities. And, heck, it's home to Kate, Wills, & little George. Not too shabby, not too shabby.

London by Postcode will continue on a sporadic basis.


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