James Joyce, his wife Nora and a male companion walking back from the couple's wedding in Kensington

Literary Kensington: A Blue Plaques Walk

Use our free app to discover the literary history of Kensington on a walk from High Street Kensington to Holland Park Station. Among the boutique shops and leafy parks you’ll find the blue plaques to some of the world’s most famous and influential writers. From James Joyce and TS Eliot to Agatha Christie and Siegfried Sassoon, a surprising range of literary stars once called this secluded corner of London their home. Scroll down to find out more about their London lives and careers.

The blue plaques app being used on a smartphone in the streets of Kensington

Download the free app

To access the walking tour, download the free app for iPhone or android. Using Google maps and your smartphone’s GPS, the four kilometre walk will take you past the former homes of eleven literary stars. See below for the full list of plaques and links to more information about each individual and their home.

You can also use the app to find your nearest blue plaques wherever you are in London, or to search for your favourite figures from the capital’s history. 

  • A drawing of Thackeray with greying hair and sideburns and wearing spectacles

    WM Thackeray (Young Street)

    This is the first of the two Kensington houses that Thackeray formerly lived in. It was here he wrote his masterpiece, Vanity Fair.

  • A black and white photograph of TS Eliot smiling at the camera

    TS Eliot

    TS Eliot moved to Kensington in1957, following in the footsteps of two of his biggest literary influences – Ezra Pound and James Joyce.

  • A black and white photograph of Henry James reclined in an armchair, one hand in pocket, the other holding a pair of glasses

    Henry James

    US novelist Henry James lived at 34 De Vere Gardens for 10 years, and aimed to be ‘as bourgeoise as my means will permit’.

  • A photograph of WM Thackeray as an old man, wearing spectacles and with long sideburns

    WM Thackeray (Palace Green)

    Thackeray called this, his last house, his ‘principal pleasure’.

  • A black and white photograph of James Joyce looking at the camera, sitting in armchair with curtains and lamp in background

    James Joyce

    Joyce didn't stay in Kensington for long but did find time to marry his long-term partner, Nora, while here.

  • A black and white photograph of Ezra Pound looking at the camera with head turned away

    Ezra Pound

    Pound was an influential figure in literary London, and his visitors here included Ford Madox Ford and DH Lawrence.

  • Walter Crane sitting on staircase in fancy dress outfit

    Walter Crane

    Children’s book illustrator Crane enjoyed a bohemian lifestyle at his Kensington home.

  • A black and white portrait of Radclyffe Hall in side profile wearing man's hat and pear earrings

    Radclyffe Hall

    Hall was living at 37 Holland Street with her partner Una, Lady Troubridge when her novel The Well of Loneliness scandalised London society.

  • A black and white portrait of Ford Madox Ford, looking at the camera in a natural pose as if in mid speech

    Ford Madox Ford

    Ford was working on his acclaimed novel The Good Soldier while living with Violet Hunt at 80 Campden Hill Road as her ‘paying guest’.

  • Agatha Christie looking askance at the camera while writing

    Agatha Christie

    The Queen of Crime wrote Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile while living at 58 Sheffield Terrace.

  • Black and white portrait of Charles Morgan smiling at the camera and holding a cigarette

    Charles Morgan

    Morgan enjoyed great success with his novels Sparkenbroke and The Voyage, which were written at 16 Campden Hill Square.

  • Siegfried Sassoon black and white photographic portrait, books in background

    Siegfried Sassoon

    Number 23 Campden Hill Square was Sassoon’s last London home, living here from 1925 until 1932.

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