Kensington Palace Gardens

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Coordinates: 51°30′24″N 0°11′27″W / 51.50667°N 0.19083°W / 51.50667; -0.19083 Kensington Palace Gardens is a street in Kensington, west central London, home to some of the most expensive properties in the world. It was the location of the London Cage, the British government MI19 centre used during the Second World War and the Cold War.

A tree-lined avenue half a mile long in the heart of embassy land, Kensington Palace Gardens is often cited as the "most exclusive address" in London, according to real estate agency Knight Frank. It is one of the most expensive residential streets in the world, and has long been known as "Billionaires Row", due to the extreme wealth of its private residents, although in fact the majority of its current occupants are either national embassies or ambassadorial residences. As of mid-2012, current market prices for a property in the street average over £22 million.[1]

It is immediately to the west of Kensington Gardens and connects Notting Hill Gate with Kensington High Street. The southern section of Kensington Palace Gardens is called Palace Green.


The road was originally called The Queen's Road and was renamed Kensington Palace Gardens around 1870 when plane trees were planted in the avenue. It was built from the 1840s onwards, on part of the grounds of Kensington Palace and the freehold still belongs to the Crown Estate. The palace, which is the residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Duke and Duchess of Kent, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, fronts the southern part of the street on the eastern side. The houses at the northern end are mostly Italianate, while those at the southern end are mostly in the Queen Anne style. For much of the 20th century a large proportion of the houses were occupied by embassies and ambassadors' residences. Some still are, but others have been renovated by the Crown Estate and sold to private buyers on long leases. One of these was bought in 2004 by the Indian steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal, who in 2008 was listed by Forbes magazine as the fourth richest man in the world. The sale was widely misreported at £70 million,[2] before accurate figures were available from HM Land Registry, where records state that on 30 June 2004, 18-19 Kensington Palace Gardens, along with three mews houses at the rear of the property, sold for £57,145,967.[3]

The mansion at 18 Kensington Palace Gardens, historically belonging to the Rothschild family, was sold in 2001.[4]

Formerly, this house was owned by Bernie Ecclestone, the Formula One racing boss. On 8 October 2001, he purchased the house from Iranian property developer David Khalili for £50 million. This was substantially less than the asking price of £85 million when it was placed on the market by Savills in spring 2001. However, it was reported that Ecclestone's wife, Slavica, never liked the 55,000-square-foot (5,100 m2), 18-bedroom mansion so they never moved in.

Khalili spent three years and more than £20 million turning the two houses into one, building a swimming pool and indulging in his taste for marble floors and pillars (with marble from the same quarry as that used for the Taj Mahal).

Paul Reuter, the founder of the Reuters news agency, was also a former resident.

No 8 was used as an interrogation centre for German POWs during and after World War II and was known as the London Cage. The house was demolished in 1961 and replaced by a glass-and-steel block of four apartments designed by Richard Seifert and completed in 1964. Flat 3 was on the market in 2006 as a three-bedroom apartment designed by international architect David Chipperfield,[5] valued at a minimum of £13.25 million through Knight Frank,[6][7] which sold in March 2007 for £10.29m.[8]

Chancery of the Russian Federation

Due to the presence of likely terrorist targets — embassies etc., including those of Russia and Israel — both ends of the street have armed police checkpoints (Diplomatic Protection Group officers) with crash barriers as well as the original wrought-iron gates. Entry of pedestrians is not normally controlled, only vehicles. This has the side effect of leading to extremely low traffic volumes for a central London street. Some of the buildings sometimes also have barriers to keep vehicles at a distance. Unlike most nearby streets, it is not covered by Google Street View.[9]

The street is lit by very dim Victorian gaslight-style streetlights.

Current occupants[edit]

Current occupiers and residents include:

East side of Kensington Palace Gardens
West side of Kensington Palace Gardens
18–19 Kensington Palace Gardens, residence of Lakshmi Mittal.
Embassy of Slovakia
Palace Green

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Where are Britain's most expensive houses? And why?" 6 September 2012.
  2. ^ "$128M Spend for London House". MSNBC. 12 April 2004. 
  3. ^ Meek, James (17 April 2006). "Super rich". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  4. ^ If you have to ask the price The Daily Telegraph, By Ross Clark, 1 Aug 2001
  5. ^ McInerney Architects projects
  6. ^ Where £10m is 'a snip', Daily Telegraph, 28 June 2006
  7. ^ The modernist ideal Archived 10 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine., The Spectator, 22 July 2006
  8. ^ Zoopla - house prices for post code W8 4QP
  9. ^ Google Street View, accessed 08 January 2016.
  10. ^ Foxtons owner plans multi-million pound underground extension to London home, Daily Mail, 10 September 2007
  11. ^ Planning Application file for 10 Kensington Place Gardens, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, 2008. With extensive drawings and history of the house, and including proposals for the five storey high underground tennis court and car museum to be created at the rear of the property.
  12. ^ Super Rich, The Guardian, 17 April 2006
  13. ^ The Times, 29 July 2013, Billionaire Saudi’s £100m London home up for sale
  14. ^ South West News Service, 24 Apr 2013
  15. ^ Jonathan Prynn, £200m home fit for Britain's second-richest man: 13 bedrooms, armoured glass and its own multi-storey carpark, Evening Standard, 29 April 2013
  16. ^ Prynn, Jonathan (19 December 2015). "Chinese billionaire buys £80m London home and he'll spend £50m more doing it up". Evening Standard. Retrieved 19 December 2015. 
  17. ^ Ryan Kisiel, Chelsea FC boss Roman Abramovich buys £90m home on Britain's most expensive street, Daily Mail, 29 August 2011.
    Lawrence Hall, Could Abramovich be eyeing a Kensington Palace Gardens home?, Zoopla, 18 August 2011
    Mira Bar-Hillel, Roman's roamings, The London magazine, 11 January 2013 - link corrected 2015-08-28
  18. ^ Land Registry charges register for title BGL72681, checked 2015-08-28
  19. ^ The Guardian, 26 November 2012: How secret offshore firms feed London's property boom
  20. ^ RBKC planning application for 17 Kensington Palace Gardens, dated 04/07/2102
  21. ^ "$128M Spend for London House". MSNBC. 12 April 2004. 
  22. ^ 18–19 Kensington Palace Gardens Archived 6 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine., Khalili Foundation website.
    Christian Metcalfe, Savills wins £1m commission on Kensington Palace Gardens sale, Estates Gazette, 21 December 2010
  23. ^ Kirk, Sheila (2005). Philip Webb: Pioneer of Arts & Crafts Architecture. Chichester: Wiley-Academy. p. 297. ISBN 0470868082. 
  24. ^ Hasib Sabbagh: construction industry entrepreneur and philanthropist, The Times, 5 February 2010
  25. ^ a b Billionaire Saudi’s £100m London home up for sale, The Times, 29 July 2013
  26. ^ Lakshmi Mittal to buy Britain's most expensive house for £117 million, Daily Telegraph, 23 May 2008
  27. ^ Mira Bar-Hillel, London's biggest home to be created in Regent's Park Archived 8 February 2010 at the Wayback Machine., Evening Standard, 2 February 2010.
  28. ^ Jaya Narain, Billionaire Bernie Ecclestone: I'm working till I drop because of my daughters' lavish spending, Daily Mail, 17 January 2011
    Lara Gould, Inside Tamara Towers: Ecclestone girl's jaw-dropping £18million home refurb - with motorised shoe racks, bowling alley, nightclub and her doggy spa, Daily Mail, 22 November 2011
  29. ^ An Exclusive Piece of Norway, Official Norwegian UK website

External links[edit]