If, like me, you love turquoise, Arabic architecture, patterns and scripts, you will love the Leighton House Museum. Tucked away off Kensington High Street near Holland Park, the Victorian former home of artist and President of the Royal Academy, Frederic Leighton, is stunning.
Leighton was a keen traveller to the Middle East, and on these trips he brought back ceramics, textiles, woodwork and craft objects, both to decorate his house and to display in it. Photography is not allowed in the house, but if you follow this link to a photo on the Leighton House Facebook page, you will be able to see the opulent effect he created when he put together the items he collected. The Syrian tiles, Egyptian wooden windows and Arabic calligraphy are sublime.
Upstairs, his enormous light-filled studio contains his drawings, paintings and sculptures. The Silk Room next door displays works by other artists such as John Millais and Tintoretto.
After all this culture, we needed coffee and cake, so headed off to Cafe Tarte in Kensington Hight Street (hit the main road and turn left) for good cappuccino. If you fancy a walk after that, carry on to Holland Park, where you can escape the crowds. At the exit at the northern end of the park, turn right, then take the first right into Aubrey Road and cut down the lovely backstreets back to the hustle and bustle of Kensington.