Conceived in the 1850s by Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria, South Kensington was planned as a major cultural centre. Bringing together institutions of learning, artistic excellence, scientific endevour and cultural celebration, 'Albertopolis' was for everyone. Today the area attracts tens of millions of visitors every year from across the globe.
For more than 120 years the RCM has stood proudly opposite the iconic Royal Albert Hall and backed on to some of the finest centres of scientific excellence, now combined to form Imperial College London. The RCM's unique position has fostered remarkable partnerships and is testament to Prince Albert's original vision. As South Kensington has continued to grow it has remained a shining example of the arts and sciences working shoulder-to-shoulder for the common good.
Exhibition Road is home to South Kensington's world-class museums
The Royal Albert Hall, directly opposite the RCM
RCM students opening the Science Museum's Maths Gallery © Jody Kingzett
Hyde Park, one of London's largest and most popular green spaces
The spectacular entrance hall of the Natural History Museum
Imperial College is a world-renowned centre for scientific research and a close partner of the RCM's
RCM students performing at the V&A
There are lots of places to eat and drink in South Kensington, plus local amenities like banks and a post office
South Kensington is well connected to the rest of London by excellent transport links
The Albert Memorial in Kensington Gardens, and the Royal Albert Hall behind, both celebrate Prince Albert's vision
Our local museums have played a huge role in South Kensington's success and are now internationally renowned tourist attractions. The Science Museum, Natural History Museum and V&A are home to breathtaking historic collections, dynamic exhibits and impressive learning programmes. Other local institutions include the Royal College of Art, Goethe-Institut, Austrian Cultural Forum, Institut Français and Ismaili Centre, all of whom contribute to the incredible diversity of the area.
As a counterpoint to South Kensington's cultural buzz and extraordinary architecture, the relaxing expanse of Hyde Park is less than five minutes’ walk away.
RCM Flash Mob at the Science Museum
The RCM Philharmonic giving an impromptu performance of excerpts from Holst’s The Planets at the Science Museum.
The RCM enjoys close relationships with all its neighbours, including fellow members of the Exhibition Road Cultural Group. A number of nearby venues host regular chamber recitals, where our students routinely perform. Similarly, RCM musicians are often invited to take part in gallery openings, exhibition launches and other special events, which are sometimes hosted in unusual and inspiring spaces.
Our close association with Imperial College London means you can be part of one of the largest and most active student bodies in the capital, while the close proximity of the Royal College of Art provides convenient opportunities to collaborate with likeminded creative students working in other disciplines.
South Kensington's eclectic range of activities and diverse mix of people has allowed it to thrive as one of London's most exciting quarters. A wide selection of pubs, cafés, restaurants and shops are all available nearby, as are essential services such as banks and post offices.
The area boasts convenient connections to the rest of the city, particularly central London, west London and our hall of residence, Prince Consort Village. Many local bus routes pass close to the RCM and nearby London Underground stations provide direct connections to Heathrow Airport, the West End, and several of London's mainline railway stations. Night Buses run daily and a weekend Night Tube service sees a continunous Piccadilly line service through South Kensington from Friday morning to late on Sunday evening.
South Kensington closed to Piccadilly line trains
Piccadilly line trains will not be stopping at South Kensington station until March 2022.
To find out more about our local area and our neighbours, visit the Discover South Kensington website.
How to get to the RCM