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Home > Walk > London Albertopolis Return to Walks

Albertopolis

Explore London’s quarter for science and technology, culture and the arts

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Prince Albert and Sir Henry Cole had a vision: an area of the capital dedicated to education and culture. It became a reality 150 years ago in South Kensington, and became fondly known as Albertopolis after its royal patron. Albertopolis is home to some of London’s most magnificent buildings, world class museums, premier educational institutions and the headquarters of national organisations.

Albertopolis was designed to celebrate the achievement and grandeur of Britain and her Empire. Today, the area retains many links with the wider world and has a very international feel. It is home to dozens of embassies, cultural institutes of various nationalities and the largest French community outside France. It also welcomes tourists from around the world and hosts of international students.

Explore the grandeur of this cultural quarter with its magnificent buildings and great institutions. Discover links to countries far and wide. And hear some remarkable stories about diplomats and spies, musicians and artists, explorers and inventors, immigrants and refugees.

Discover links to more than 110 Olympic and Paralympic Nations on this walk.

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Walk Info

Distance:

2 ½ miles

Level:
A relatively flat route along city streets and through a park

tooltipA relatively flat route along city streets and through a park

Suitable for:
An entirely step-free route

tooltipAn entirely step-free route

Region:

Greater London

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Country links include:
Germany

tooltipGermany

Brazil

tooltipBrazil

Canada

tooltipCanada

Denmark

tooltipDenmark

France

tooltipFrance

Iraq

tooltipIraq

Japan

tooltipJapan

Netherlands

tooltipNetherlands

Norway

tooltipNorway

Poland

tooltipPoland

Portugal

tooltipPortugal

Sri Lanka

tooltipSri Lanka

Switzerland

tooltipSwitzerland

United States of America

tooltipUnited States of America

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Start:
Albert Memorial
Finish:
Royal Albert Hall
Getting there:

tooltipNearest mainline station London Paddington

tooltipNearest stations South Kensington, High Street Kensington, Lancaster Gate

tooltipServed by a variety of local bus routes

tooltipSeveral Barclays Cycle Hire docking stations in the area

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London Albertopolis

The magnificent Royal Albert Hall,
centrepiece of Albertopolis
Rory Walsh © RGS-IBG Discovering Britain

London Albertopolis

Tunisian Embassy, Princes Gate
Rory Walsh © RGS-IBG Discovering Britain

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See all the links to Olympic and Paralympic Nations on this walk

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Route map

Select flags/pins on the map to find out more about each point of interest on the walk

Walk kit

Choose between an audio or written guide: download and enjoy!

Downloads

Written guide
A flat route mostly on urban streets

tooltipHelp with downloading - Double-click the icon to download this PDF file. You can save it to your computer or open it now. The file is designed as a booklet. To print it choose ‘Booklet Printing’ from your printer options.

Audio guide
A flat route mostly on urban streets

tooltipHelp with downloading - Double-click the icon to download this ZIP file of the audio commentary (mp3 files) and accompanying booklet (PDF) which contains maps and directions. You can save the audio files to your computer then add them to your mp3 device. This will vary for each device but you can use any supplied software (such as iTunes, Windows Media Player) or drag and drop the files. The PDF is designed as a booklet. To print it choose ‘Booklet Printing’ from your printer options.

Extras
A flat route mostly on urban streets

tooltipHelp with downloading - Double click to download this GPX file and load it on to your GPS device.

Photo Gallery

Here is a selection of things that you might see on the walk. Click on an image to view full size.

An aerial view of Albertopolis, June 2011 © Andreas Praefcke via Wikimedia Commons
The man with the vision - Prince Albert, Memorial to the 1851 Great Exhibition  Rory Walsh © RGS-IBG Discovering Britain
Exterior of the Great Exhibition building in Hyde Park, 1851. It was soon known as 'the Crystal Palace'. Wikimedia Commons
Queen Victoria opens the Great Exhibition, 1851 Wikimedia Commons
Inside the Great Exhibition of 1851 Wikimedia Commons
Prince Albert's Great Exhibition catalogue, Albert Memorial  Rory Walsh © RGS-IBG Discovering Britain
 
 
The Aga Khan Ismaili Institute  Mike Jackson © RGS-IBG Discovering Britain
Linguistic diversity on display in a Petite France shop window  Rory Walsh © RGS-IBG Discovering Britain
 
French foods in Petite France  Rory Walsh © RGS-IBG Discovering Britain
Thai Embassy crest  Rory Walsh © RGS-IBG Discovering Britain
 
Isis and Serpentine Bridge  Rory Walsh © RGS-IBG Discovering Britain
 
 
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints  Rory Walsh © RGS-IBG Discovering Britain
 
 
The coat of arms on the Oman Embassy  Rory Walsh © RGS-IBG Discovering Britain
 
King Cole - Vanity Fair postcard of Henry Cole, who helped Prince Albert to build Albertopolis Wikimedia Commons
 
A copy of the world's first commercially-produced Christmas card, made by Henry Cole in 1843 Wikimedia Commons
 
The Albert Memorial  Mike Jackson © RGS-IBG Discovering Britain
 
Second World War bomb damage outside the V&A Museum, Exhibition Road  Mike Jackson © RGS-IBG Discovering Britain
 
Columns of the Henry Cole Wing, the V&A Museum  Rory Walsh © RGS-IBG Discovering Britain
 
 
Imperial College Business School  Rory Walsh © RGS-IBG Discovering Britain
 
 
The opening ceremony of the Royal Albert Hall, 29th March 1871Wikimedia Commons
 
 
Royal Albert Hall detail  Rory Walsh © RGS-IBG Discovering Britain
 
 
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, US President Franklin D Roosevelt and Russian President Josef Stalin at the Yalta Conference in 1945 Wikimedia Commons
 
The Twelve Responses to Tragedy sculpture, Yalta Memorial GardenMike Jackson © RGS-IBG Discovering Britain
 
Mauritian Embassy, one of dozens in the area Rory Walsh © RGS-IBG Discovering Britain
 
Tunisian Embassy, Princes Gate Rory Walsh © RGS-IBG Discovering Britain
 
Norwegian government plaque on the site of Kingston HouseRory Walsh © RGS-IBG Discovering Britain
 
Native American head outside the Royal College of General PractitionersRory Walsh © RGS-IBG Discovering Britain
 
The Serpentine Gallery Mike Jackson © RGS-IBG Discovering Britain
 
A pterodactyl, the Natural History Museum  Rory Walsh © RGS-IBG Discovering Britain
 
Cold Corner; the statue of Ernest Shackleton on Lowther Lodge  Rory Walsh © RGS-IBG Discovering Britain
 
Shackleton's ship Endurance stuck in the ice, 1915© National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
 
A poster for a lecture by Shackleton on the South Pole Wikimedia Commons
 
Sikorski Museum plaque, 20 Princes Gate  Mike Jackson © RGS-IBG Discovering Britain
 
 
 
Cherubs playing on the Royal College of Organists  Rory Walsh © RGS-IBG Discovering Britain
 
 
Kennedy plaque outside the Royal College of General PractitionersMike Jackson © RGS-IBG Discovering Britain
 
Sunset on AlbertopolisRory Walsh © RGS-IBG Discovering Britain
 

Experiences

Find out what other people said about this walk

The most exciting walk I've done for ages! A thrilling mix of modern geography and urban history, seen through an international prism.

Nick Crane, London

Send your review

Learn more

Find out more about places of interest along the walk route and other activities that you can do


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints United Kingdom

http://www.lds.org.uk/

Institut Français du Royaume-Uni

(French Cultural Institute in the UK)

http://www.institut-francais.org.uk/

London Parks & Gardens Trust

Yalta Memorial Garden

http://www.londongardensonline.org.uk/gardens-online-record.asp?ID=KAC152

Royal College of Music

http://www.rcm.ac.uk/

Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)

http://www.rgs.org/

The Royal Parks

Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain

http://www.royalparks.org.uk/parks/hyde_park/diana_memorial.cfm

Special Air Service

The SAS & The Iranian Embassy Siege

http://www.sasspecialairservice.com/sas-iranian-embassy-siege.html

Department for Culture Media and Sport

Tsunami memorial opened in London

http://www.culture.gov.uk/news/news_stories/8277.aspx

Imperial College London

http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/

The Ismaili

The Ismaili Centre, London

http://www.theismaili.org/cms/807/menu

Lycée Français Charles de Gaulle Londres

http://www.lyceefrancais.org.uk/

Natural History Museum

http://www.nhm.ac.uk/

Royal College of Organists

http://www.rco.org.uk/

Royal Institute of British Architects

Albertopolis: the development of South Kensington

http://www.architecture.com/LibraryDrawingsAndPhotographs/Albertopolis/Albertopolis.aspx

The Royal Parks

Sport – The Serpentine Lido and Paddling Pool

http://www.royalparks.org.uk/parks/hyde_park/sport.cfm

The Royal Society of Arts

http://www.thersa.org/

Serpentine Sackler Gallery

A New Cultural Destination for London

http://www.serpentinegallery.org/2011/04/serpentine_sackler_gallery.html

Victoria and Albert Museum

http://www.vam.ac.uk/

Credits

The RGS-IBG would like to thank the following people and organisations for their assistance in producing this Walk the World walk

 

Gary Gray and Mike Jackson for creating the walk and providing photographs

 

Jenny Lunn for editing the walk materials 

 

Rory Walsh for producing the walk resources and taking photographs

 

Nick Stanworth and Rebecca Little for additional assistance with compiling walk resources

 

Caroline Millar for editing the audio files  

 

The National Maritime Museum for kind permission to use archive images

 

Walk the World is part of Discovering Places, the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad campaign to inspire the UK to discover their local environment. Walk the World is delivered in partnership by the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) with Discovering Places and is principally funded by the National Lottery through the Olympic Lottery Distributor.

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