Situated in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Kensington was declared London’s second best shopping street in February 2005 thanks to its range and number of shops.
Kensington is, in general, an extremely affluent area, a trait that it now shares with its neighbour to the south, Chelsea. The area has some of London's most expensive streets and garden squares, including Edwardes Square, Earls Terrace - an exclusive redevelopment of Georgian Houses, The Phillimores, and Wycombe Square - a new build development done to a very high standard. In early 2007, houses have sold in Upper Phillimore Gardens for in excess of £20 million. Additionally, most neighbouring districts are regarded as exclusive residential areas, including Knightsbridge and Brompton to the east and the nearest parts of Notting Hill to the north. To the west is the less affluent but up and coming area of Earl's Court.
The Manor of Kensington, Middlesex, was granted by William I of England to Geoffrey de Montbray or Mowbray, bishop of Coutances, one of his inner circle of advisors and one of the wealthiest men in post-conquest England. He in turn granted the tenancy of Kensington to his vassal Aubrey de Vere I, who was holding the manor in 1086, according to Domesday Book. The bishop's heir, Robert de Mowbray, rebelled against William Rufus and his vast barony was declared forfeit. Aubrey de Vere I had his tenure converted to a tenancy in-chief, holding Kensington after 1095 directly of the crown. He granted land and church there to Abingdon Abbey at the deathbed request of his young eldest son, Geoffrey. As the Veres became the earls of Oxford, their estate at Kensington came to be known as Earls Court, while the Abingdon lands were called Abbots Kensington and the church St Mary Abbots.