Kensington Dolls’ House Festival 2014

Intrigued by the itty-bitty?

Add This

Sophie Gackowski

Sophie Gackowski
HomeAway travel expert


Miniature violinI may be a travel writer, but I’ve a little hobby on the side – a very little hobby. Collecting and making dolls’ house miniatures can’t be described as social. It’s not the sort of thing you’ll get a clap on the back for at the pub. I’m more likely to be found crying into a minuscule glass of wine after those tiny green peas have rolled off my Willow-patterned plate. Again. But with a bit of time and an eye for fine detail (with the patience of an ultra-patient saint thrown in), it’s become one of the most rewarding and inspiring things I’ve ever done. 

Why? Well I make anything I want, wherever I want; I don’t need much space when my armoire’s only four inches high. That said, you’ll get a different answer from everyone – especially my fellow eccentrics who pour into the Kensington Dolls’ House Festival every year. But there’s one thing we do agree on: these aren’t toys. And if you suggest that they are, well you better be prepared to be in the bad and tiny books of angry miniaturists (who aren’t, I'll concede, very scary).

Here’s my guide to this greatest of miniature events, in all its Lilliputian strangeness.

 

Sophie's guide to the 2014 Kensington Dolls’ House Festival


   

Kensington Dolls’ House Festival: setting for the very small Kensington Dolls’ House Festival: setting for the very small

Taking place on the 17th and 18th of May, Kensington Dolls’ House Festival is held annually in Kensington Town Hall. There’s another event in November, and one by Tower Bridge in February, but though packed to the rafters with incredible artisans, they’re not quite Kensington at its biggest – or best. Established in 1985, today you’ll find 200 stalls filled with everything you could ever imagine, but smaller (and trust me, that’s a whole lot of tinies).

View holiday homes in Kensington

 
   
 

   

Kensington Dolls’ House Festival: shopping at the stalls Kensington Dolls’ House Festival: shopping at the stalls

From packages of cornflakes to bunches of asparagus, painted porcelain to hand-blown glass, you’ll need a good few hours to appreciate everything on display. At the most recent event I attended, I couldn’t resist buying a beautiful, Turkish-style carpet kit from Hi-Jinx; it’ll only ever be seven inches long, of course (and that’s if I get round to finishing it!). If fabrics aren’t your thing, perhaps a hand-sculpted doll or some brass pots will do the trick – after all, not everyone can afford to buy a £1500 bookcase...

View rentals in South Kensington

 
   
 

   

Kensington Dolls’ House Festival: materials for makers Kensington Dolls’ House Festival: materials for makers

For those who make miniatures rather than collect them, Kensington’s still a great place to go. From hinges less than 1cm long (complete with nails) to gold door knobs, skirting boards, chimneys and roof tiles, there’s everything you could ever need to build your own dolls’ house. If it’s interiors you’re into, peruse roll upon roll of wallpaper, or choose tiles to put up in the bathroom. There are also stalls for super-powered magnifying glasses, wood supplies and glue, as well as excellent chisels used by the likes of carver Ann High.

View Holland Park houses

 
   
 

   

Kensington Dolls’ House Festival: dolls’ house shops  Kensington Dolls’ House Festival: dolls’ house shops

If you’re down in London long enough to explore, forget Big Ben and Tower Bridge – get yourself over to one of the world’s most amazing speciality shops – Kristin Baybars’ Emporium. I was lucky enough to meet Kristin at the last festival I attended, and true to everything I’d heard about her, she’s as magical as the shop she owns. Based at 7 Mansfield Road, Gospel Oak, London, her “treasure trove – better than Aladdin’s cave” is filled floor-to-ceiling with pots of jam, plant stands, china vases and cradles. The list goes on.

 

View holiday homes in Chelsea

 
   
 

   

Kensington Dolls’ House Festival: museums of miniatures Kensington Dolls’ House Festival: museums of miniatures

You’re in London. You’re a miniaturist. There’s nothing for it but to go to the Museum of Childhood, home to over 100 dolls’ houses and models. Including the world-famous Tate Baby House and the 1673 Nuremberg House, possibly the oldest in the UK, don’t expect two-up-two-downs: some of these are taller than you (and your 6ft-partner). My favourite is the Killer Cabinet (and no, it’s not murder-themed – crime scenes were the work of Frances Glessner Lee). A 19th-century dwelling set in a gilded cabinet, it’s pretty spectacular – even for those who don't have a penchant for the pint-sized.

View Earls Court rentals

 
   

Images and artwork

Miniature violin by Sophie Gackowski
Wool and knitting needle by The Shopping Sherpa 
Bed and bed linen by Julie Warren
Hot-cross buns by Linda Cummings 
Nursery by Guzel Galieva 
Baking board by Ivani Grande

 

Kensington Holiday Rentals

Exceptionally quiet 1-bed home next door to romantic Holland Park – view now!

Exceptionally quiet and convenient one bedroom rental just next door to romantic Holland Park, in an elegant residential area near Notting Hill and Portobello Road. General A splendid one bedroom apartment on the second floor of a converted peri...

An elegant and contemporary two bedroom apartment (max five people)...

An elegant and contemporary two bedroom apartment (for five people) with a private balcony right beside the river Thames. This stylish and comfortable apartment is perfect for a family or a group of friends. This apartment has many splendid featur...

Beautiful two-bedroom apartment, for up to six people, close to Kin...

Beautiful two-bedroom apartment, for up to six people, close to King’s Road in the Chelsea area in London. Enjoy a taste of the West London lifestyle in this ultra-stylish two-bedroom apartment, situated in an elegant townhouse near King’s Road. B...

Pretty And Petite Home In One Notting Hill’s Iconic Victorian Terraces

Intelligent design Chance upon the eclectic melting pot of multiculturalism, aristocratic heritage and alternative culture that is Notting Hill and you’ll find vintage trinkets and old-school threads galore at the world famous Portobello Road mar...

A beautiful home with original features and ultra-modern fittings

Old and new You won't have to wander far from your front door to find Chelsea's beating heart here. In fact, Sloane Court East is bang, smack in the middle of it. The elegant grounds of the Saatchi Gallery are pretty much at your back door, so sp...

MapWorld USA Europe Northern Ireland Scotland Northumbria Cumbria Isle of Man Yorkshire North West Wales West Midlands East Midlands Cotswolds East of England London South East England West Country
       


Search for holiday rentals

Search for holiday ideas
 


WIN £10,000 FOR YOUR DREAM HOLIDAY

Sign up to our newsletter

Our latest updates and special offers, direct to your inbox


Related Articles



Other Categories



Popular Articles