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Just south of the river in the borough of Lambeth, Kennington has a lot to offer, from sporting landmarks to royal history and one of the city’s top museums.
It’s a varied little enclave, with large sections of land owned by Prince Charles – a throwback to when King Edward III gifted Kennington to his eldest son Edward, the Black Prince, in 1337.
In some areas, such as the Bloomsbury-style squares around the Duchy of Cornwall estate in south-west Kennington really are regal in their grandeur – all this not far from some of south London’s bleakest high-rise flats, giving the area a real metropolitan mix. The Oval cricket ground (08712 461 100, www.britoval.com) saw England beat Australia in the first ever five day ‘test’ match in 1880; the Aussies came back and beat their hosts two years later, leading to a newspaper obituary for English cricket saying that “the body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia”.
This biannual contest for the symbolic Ashes is cricket’s most enduring rivalry, and the final test of the English leg of the series always takes place at the Oval – it’s the country’s largest cricket ground with 16,500 seats, and also hosts top county side Surrey and various Twenty20 contests.
Kennington Park saw public executions and some of the world’s first organised football matches from the local Gymnastics Society in the 18th century; it’s now a lovely green space with a nice city farm (165 Tyers Street) and the occasional demonstration.
The Imperial War Museum (Lambeth Road, 020 7416 5000) stands in the former grounds of the infamous Bedlam mental hospital as easily one of the capital’s best museums: a deeply moving and fascinating insight into a century of conflict, with free entry.
Focused around the first and second world wars, you can enter a WWI trench, see Montgomery’s own tank as well as discover what daily life was like during these times, but what lifts this above most other war museums is the recordings of soldiers from all sides telling their own stories: extraordinary tales from ordinary, humble people, the museum’s or al history archive – central to personal accounts of the war like Stephens Ambrose and Spielberg’s Band of Brothers – is one of the world’s best.
Kennington station and Oval station are served by the Northern Line.
|Oval Station||2||Northern||0.25 miles|
|Vauxhall Station||1||Victoria||0.67 miles|
|Kennington Station||2||Northern||0.92 miles|
|Pimlico Station||1||Victoria||1.45 miles|
|Stockwell Station||2||Northern - Victoria||1.59 miles|
|Vauxhall Station||0.60 miles|
|Elephant and Castle Station||1.72 miles|
|Loughborough Junc Station||2.07 miles|
|Wandsworth Road Station||2.15 miles|
|London Waterloo Station||2.19 miles|