South Kensington station

South Kensington station exterior

South Kensington station is a gateway to one of London's best-known cultural quarters and popular tourist destinations. It is one of the busiest stations on our network - around 34 million customers pass through each year.

The projects

We have three separate projects lined up which, together, will enhance the customer experience at the station:

Piccadilly line escalator upgrade

From late February 2021 until spring 2022 we will be upgrading the old Piccadilly line escalators which have reached the end of their working life. During the escalator works, Piccadilly line trains will not stop at the station although District and Circle line trains will continue to stop as normal.

Station upgrade

The station's current ticket hall and the stairs to the District and Circle line platforms are often crowded. We are planning changes that will make journeys through the station quicker, easier and more pleasant.

Development around the station

We are working with Native Land to develop our land around the station. This development will respect the character of the local area and will complete step-free access to District and Circle line trains through a new entrance on Thurloe Street.

Station upgrade plans

We were granted Listed Building Consent by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) in January 2018 after extensive discussions with the local community.

Our station upgrade will bring quicker, more pleasant journeys, thanks to less congestion. Changes will include:

  • A new dedicated platform for eastbound District and Circle line services
  • A canopy designed to complement the historic retaining wall
  • A new staircase between the ticket hall and the new platform
  • A larger, more spacious ticket hall with more gates
  • New ticketing facilities

Work will also enable step-free access to the District and Circle lines to be created as part of the development around the station.

As part of our long-term plans for South Kensington station, space has been allocated for step-free access to the Piccadilly line as part of a potential future scheme.

Development around the station

Proposals to develop the land around the station have been designed by Stirling Prize-winning architects Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners. They aim to sensitively repair and enhance the Grade-II listed station and surrounding area's historic streets, while also making improvements for the local community.

Get more information and contact details on our dedicated South Kensington station project website.

The proposals

A new entrance to the station on Thurloe Street will create step-free access:

  • From street to train on District and Circle line platforms
  • From ticket hall to the museum subway

The development will:

  • Restore the historic station arcade
  • Improve the main station entrances
  • Bring Improvements to properties around the station, reflecting the importance of this unique location

A four-storey building, with workspaces and shops, is proposed for next to the station entrances.

The design of the new 'Bullnose' building (referred to because of its unique shape) at the front of the station draws on the initial 19th century vision for the site. Structural drawings show it was originally designed to have several floors - the proposed building will mirror the distinct curved shape of the Bullnose and use the iconic sign from above the arcade entrance across the new retail units.

New homes around the station, including along the station side of Pelham Street, will recreate the historic row of buildings that were there before.

20-34 Thurloe Street

The development proposes to upgrade the building along 20-34 Thurloe Street to the north of the station, with new homes behind the historic Regency facade replacing the current apartments. The proposals also include new homes in Thurloe Square to reinstate housing where the square connects with Pelham Place. This was removed when the railway was built.

Projects overview

A lot is planned at South Kensington. This table sets out which elements will be delivered by which project. 

Change Piccadilly line escalator upgrade Station upgrade Development around station
Upgraded escalators Yes    
Expanded ticket hall   Yes  
New eastbound District and Circle line platform   Yes  
New staircase from ticket hall to District and Circle line platform   Yes  
Step-free access to District and Circle lines     Yes
New homes, shops and office space     Yes

 

Timeline

Summer 2015: Pre-application meetings with RBKC started

Autumn 2015 (ongoing): Communications begin with local residents and other stakeholders about our plans

January 2018: RBKC grants Listed Building Consent application for station capacity improvements

March 2018: Native Land selected as our preferred partner to help us develop the area around the station

April 2019: Consultation starts on proposals for development around the station

2019: Preparation works continue to upgrade the station's capacity

2020: Planning application submitted to RBKC for development around the station

2020: Station upgrade works start with removal of kiosk from ticket hall

2021: Detailed design works on the station upgrade start