London Through the Looking Glass: Kennington

A public park in an urban area on a bright sunny summers day

Sitting rather unassumingly on the Bank branch of the Northern Line, Kennington is a place that is often overlooked but packed with charm, character, and plenty of fun things to see and do. In short, you should go and have a look – and who knows? You might even want to move there.

Spread between the London Boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark, Kennington is home to a diverse community and some of London’s best-hidden gems.

Let’s dig a little deeper.

A brief history of Kennington

Kennington was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 under the name Chenintune. Although there’s no concrete evidence on its origins, it’s believed the name is Old English for the ‘farmstead or estate associated with a man called Cēna’. Another explanation is that it means ‘place of the King, or ‘town of the King’. How regal!

Way back in 1337, Kennington was handed to Edward, the Black Prince, as a gift and a royal palace was built in the area – although this is long gone now.

Over the centuries the area slowly began to expand and develop. In 1852, the common was refurbished, landscaped, and transformed into a pleasant place of recreation; The common was later named Kennington Park.

Originally called the City of London and Southwark Subway, Kennington underground station opened in 1890 and until 1926, served the Charing Cross branch of the Northern Line.

This transport development saw a flood of people migrate to the area. To accommodate the area’s influx of residents and help keep up with demand, Lambeth council built all kinds of municipal housing in Kennington from the early 1950s to the late 1970s. The area had flourished.

In recent years, Kennington has seen a number of developments and as a result, more housing and recreational options than ever before, with its excellent transport links and surrounding green space enticing a mix of families and young professionals to the area.

Green space in Kennington

There are many specs of green space dotted in and around Kennington, as well as emerald tree- lined streets, but if you’re in town, the best place to go is Kennington Park.

Kennington Park made up of two main parts: the Victorian Grade II listed park and the extension to the east which was developed back in the 1960’s.

Perfect for young families, fitness fanatics, flower spotters, and loved up couples alike, the park is home to stunning landscaped gardens, quaint coffee shops, sprawling green fields, outdoor fitness equipment, and a giant astroturf for competitive sports. If you want a day outdoors, it has everything you could possibly imagine, so knock together a picnic, head down there with friends or family, and soak it all in.

Food and drink in Kennington

If you’re looking to eat in Kennington, chow down on these beauties:

  • The Lobster Pot: the best seafood in town, 21 years running.
  • Kennington Tandoori: fresh Indian cuisine since 1985.
  • Doost: proper authentic Persian grub.
  • The Tankard: hearty pub grub and lots of local pump ales.
  • The Three Stags: fresh gastro dishes, craft ales, and an amazing wine list.

Try one, try them all – although if you do manage to get through all of the above in one evening without your stomach going pop, we’ll be mighty impressed.

Kennington is a vibrant area of London with an eclectic yet harmonious mix of locals and access to some of London’s most iconic spots. Don’t miss out, pay it a visit as soon as you can – you won’t be disappointed.


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