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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Emma Magnus

Why I live in Kensington: DJ Amazonica on why her west London area offers the best of Zone 1

I’ve lived between Gloucester Road and High Street Kensington for eight or nine years now.

I’ve always gravitated to this part of London. I grew up in Sunningdale, west of London, and we’d always drive through this part of town. When I first moved to London, it was around here. I’ve bounced around a bit since, living in LA and Primrose Hill, but this feels like home.

For getting to shows, DJing and having a nice lifestyle which isn’t too chaotic —despite being in Zone 1— this is definitely the place to be.

Eating and drinking

The best place to eat is Da Mario, on Gloucester Road. It’s an Italian and was Princess Diana’s favourite restaurant. It’s incredible – it’s the best Italian food you can have outside of Italy. There’s a seafood pasta dish which is next level. And it’s lovely in there. I really like it.

Da Mario, also a favourite of Princess Diana (Daniel Lynch)

I don’t drink alcohol, but there’s a coffee shop called Hjem on Launceston Place which I go to every day. They make almond milk out of actual almonds – it’s not the stuff you get in the carton. I’m addicted to it. It’s an absolute treat.

Where I work out

I’m a long-term member of Equinox on High Street Kensington, which used to be the old Biba store [the clothes shop run by fashion designer Barbara Hulanicki] in the 1960s and 1970s.

When I’m in there, I always imagine Freddie Mercury walking around, or Twiggy getting her dresses. But now, obviously, it’s a massive gym. It’s fabulous.

To commune with nature

You couldn’t get better than Hyde Park. We’re right near the Kensington Palace entrance, and I walk around there every day with my dog, Sidney Vicious.

Amazonica and her dog, Sidney Vicious, are regulars in Hyde Park (Daniel Lynch)

It’s the best bit of open space. Through Covid, it absolutely saved me – I walked round that place, every inch of it, every day for about three years.

Grocery shopping

There’s High Street Kensington Farmers’ Market every Sunday morning on Phillimore Walk. They do the best micro veg, natural honey, raw apple juice, organic eggs – all your fruit and veg. It’s brilliant. I try and go there whenever I can, although sometimes it’s difficult with my DJ schedule.

Amazonica shops at Whole Foods on High Street Kensington (Daniel Lynch)

If not, I go to Whole Foods or M&S, both on High Street Kensington. You can’t go wrong.

For a culture fix

There are so many places around here. The V&A is a five-minute walk away.

For music, you’ve got the Troubadour on Old Brompton Road which was incredible back in the day. Hendrix and Dylan played there. It’s still a cool, under the radar place.

The Troubadour, which has existed on Old Brompton Road since 1954 (Daniel Lynch)

I go to the movies a lot. There’s a Picturehouse on Fulham Road and an Everyman on The King’s Road. I’m also looking forward to the reopening of Kensington Roof Gardens in May. It’s super close – it’s above Equinox, funnily enough. I’m excited that it’s coming to the area.

Getting around

Walking! This city is the best for that. I lived in LA for years and I don’t drive, and that was a nightmare. From here, you can walk anywhere. In the summer, say, if you want to do some shopping in town, you can just walk to Selfridges or Soho across Hyde Park, if you want to make a day of it. That is a gift.

Pastries in the making at Hjem, Amazonica's go-to coffee spot (Daniel Lynch)

For my international gigs, I usually get in an Uber to Heathrow. I’ve done door-to-door in an hour from the plane to my front door. That to me is everything – and to still be in Zone 1 is a miracle.

I don’t really like public transport if I can avoid it, but I have to say that you’ve got all the lines here. You can get everywhere super quickly. It’s great for that as well.

Dream street

Palace Green, the road next to Kensington Palace. It’s got some of the most expensive real estate in Europe. There are huge houses and all the embassies there. Every time I walk down there, I think: wow. It’s like Disneyland.

Something you only see in Kensington

Armed police. I see them every time I go out to High Street Ken.

What’s the catch?

Everything’s expensive – but I think that’s the same everywhere in London.

In three words

Lovely. Iconic. Historic.

Amazonica’s new album, Victory, is out later this year.


For local primaries, Kensington Primary Academy, Fox, Avonmore and Our Lady of Victories RC are all rated outstanding, with a further six schools deemed good.

The Cardinal Vaughan Memorial RC School, Kensington Aldridge Academy, The London Oratory School and Paddington Academy are among the top choices nearby.

What it costs

Buying in Kensington

Average flat price: £1,607,670

Average house price: £4,278,565

Renting in Kensington

Average flat price, pcm: £6,330

Average house price, pcm: £9,780

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