Earlier this year, a brand new entrance was added that makes it easier to get in and out of High Street Kensington tube station.

(c) ianVisits

The tube station is at the end of a shopping arcade, and most people use the main entrance, but the shopping arcade also had an entrance into a branch of Boots which had become an informal route out of the station to a side road away from busy Kensington High Street.

Over the past few years, that side building has been redeveloped, and in doing so, the informal desire route through the shop has been turned into a formal corridor with an entrance, and a tube roundel to advertise it to people.

The new corridor opened earlier this year.

(c) Planning application

To understand what happened, the arcade entrance to the tube station faces the main road, and sitting next to it was an office block with shops on the ground floor, which replaced the old Pontings department store in the 1970s. The ground floor was (and is again) entirely occupied by a branch of Boots which also had a second entrance inside the shopping arcade, and also a small entrance onto Wrights Lane. Those two rear doors had become an informal but convenient route through Boots between the tube station and the side road.

Apart from not being formally advertised, this informal route through the shop was only available when the shop was open.

As part of the redevelopment of the old office block that sat above the shop, it was decided to introduce a dedicated corridor which is also a lot more obvious to use than the old informal shortcut through the shop.

(c) ianVisits

Inside the new Wrights Arcade corridor, the reconfigured Boots has an entrance, and the opposite side has five smaller retail units. Although the Boots has less space at street level, having lost a chunk at the rear for the new corridor, they’ve gained the basement instead.

The new corridor also provides a quicker route between the tube station and the nearby cycle hire docking station that’s on Wrights Lane.

A TfL spokesperson confirmed that the “new access route has provided customers with an additional entrance and exit point for the station which has improved accessibility.”

Although there was no option in the development to add step-free access to the tube station as it’s in the wrong location, the planning approval required the developer to pay £40,000 to fund a study into how step-free access could be added to the tube station at a later date.

(c) ianVisits


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  1. Chris Wood says:

    Kensington High Street seems to specialise in unsigned and probable unofficial exits. There used to be one that involved turning sharp right immediately after entering the arcade from the station proper, then right again down a corridor that brought you out in the service yard behind the old Derry & Toms building.

    You could then exit the yard into Derry Street and Kensington Square, or (as in my case) access the office block on the other side of the yard (the corner of it is the little grey triangle sticking into the right of your map).

    Certainly that access was open in the late 1980s, but I’ve no idea if it still is. Last time I looked the office block was still there but looking distinctly derelict.

    • Max Ingram says:

      Yes, there is still a passageway there running parallel with Wrights Lane. It is possible to reach the Copthorne Tara Hotel without using Wrights Lane.

  2. Andy says:

    It’ll be handy for the track workers who park in Wrights Lane if it’s left open all night. Although they won’t be popular with the residents if they unload all their plant there instead of on the high street

  3. SteveP says:

    I lived near the station for a few years around the turn of the Millenium. What I didn’t immediately realise was that the Underground completely bisects every street between High Street Ken and Cromwell Road.

    There is one obscure footpath into a private estate that is open to foot traffic during the day only. That is why a cycle lane of some sort on High Street Ken is so necessary – there are literally no other options

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