The childhood home of Queen Victoria, Kensington Palace is open to visitors all year round. It is still an official royal residence although you don't get to see the apartments where Diana lived or the young royals now live. But you do see grand royal rooms and sumptuous surroundings.
South Kensington's Exhibition Road has three national museums; all with free entry. The Natural History Museum is so much more than "the dinosaur museum" as you can learn about space, ecology and see scientists at work in this 'cathedral to nature'. Do take time to admire the building as well as the exhibits.
Across the road is the Science Museum where you'll want to get off the ground floor to explore without the crowds. Wonderlab is the popular children's indoor play area where you learn through hands-on experiments and science shows.
And the V&A (Victoria and Albert Museum) is the world's leading museum of art and design. Covering design from a variety of cultures, periods of history and subjects, you can find displays dedicated to fashion, furniture, sculpture, ceramics, jewellery, performance and more. The ticketed special exhibitions are worth knowing about too as you often need to book in advance.
Over on Kensington High Street is the Design Museum. Housed in the Grade II* listed former Commonwealth Institute building, it covers product, industrial, graphic, fashion and architectural design. Again, the ticketed exhibitions are what will ensure you visit.
Close by is Leighton House Museum which is so much more wonderful inside than the unassuming exterior suggests. This was the home and art studio of artist Frederic Leighton and he made it into his 'private palace of art. The Arab Hall has more than 1,000 Middle Eastern tiles and is truly stunning.
Also off Kensington High Street, 18 Stafford Terrace is a former Punch cartoonist's home chock-full of Victorian paraphernalia. If you want an idea of how the middle-class Victorians lived, it's well worth taking a costumed tour to hear Mrs Sambourne or her parlour maid recount 'first hand' tales of life in the Sambourne family home.
My Old Dutch on Kensington Church Street is great for all the family. And for the first and only choux pastry specialist patisserie in the world with edible works of art you need to go to Maitre Choux in South Kensington. Also on Harrington Road, Iddu is ideal for a Mediterranean lunch with outdoor seating.
Just off Exhibition Road, Ognisko is the ground floor restaurant of an upmarket Polish club. Or if you are craving quality curry, Bombay Brasserie offers romantic Indian dining. And Maggie Jones's is a cosy British restaurant loved by locals where the Sunday roast is particularly good.
The Ivy Kensington Brasserie is a relaxed but sophisticated all-day eatery with a lovely garden terrace. Even more sophisticated are Kitchen W8 ("Kensington's Michelin starred neighbourhood restaurant") and the elegant Launceston Place with its seasonally-inspired modern European menu.
When only true Italian pizza will do you need to go to Obica Mozzarella Bar and for steak head to PJ's Bar and Grill. And there's authentic Vietnamese cuisine at Go-Viet on Old Brompton Road.
For decent pub grub, you can choose between Bumpkin, the Anglesea Arms, The Scarsdale Tavern on the Blue Plaque-laden Edwardes Square, the Queen's Arms and The Builder's Arms with its classic British dining. The flower-covered Churchill Arms is not only popular for Instagrammers as the homemade Thai dishes are also recommended.