If Knightsbridge is London's glittery cesspool of all things lux, and Carnaby Street is the birthplace of swinging 60s mod, then Chelsea is some kind of beautiful lovechild of the two. It's home to aristocratic it-girls and gainfully unemployed playboys, sure, but there's an electric, enchanting, red-bricked charm to Chelsea, Fulham, and South Kensington that cannot be beat.
See & Do
Flowers and Chelsea go together like bread and honey. Not only is the Chelsea Physic Garden there to delight and entrance all year round, but every May, the Royal Horticultural Society's Chelsea Flower Show rolls into this borough. Tickets are in short supply and expensive and the crowds can be overwhelming, but if you like gardening, and follow the now celebrity-fied world of gardening, then you'll love 'Chelsea' as it's known.
As with places to stay, and nightlife, Chelsea is blessed by a surfeit of restaurants on almost every street. There are the small, and exclusive little neighbourhood places, serving great produce from the chef's homeland, and the bigger chain restaurants. Bibendum is housed in a beautiful and striking art deco building, and is just the place you can go to 'do lunch' either for business or pleasure. A chelsea tradition if ever there was one.
There are hundreds of bars, pubs and clubs in Chelsea, and depending on your tastes, they can be lots of fun. But something that shouldn't be missed when visiting the borough at night, is a play at the Royal Court Theatre, that's always providing you book in advance. This theatre specialises in putting on new writers work, it has an active exchange programme across the world and likes to challenge the orthodoxy of the day.
With some of London's most expensive real estate in this borough, plush places to stay are not too difficult to find. But Blakes is a real theatre of a hotel and will allow you to believe you live in the cosseted luxury of Chelsea residents all year round. This is boutique London at its best, all brocades, and plush velvets; it was redesigned by Anoushka Hempel and takes you on a luxurious journey around the world.
The King's Road has been a shopping mecca for many different generations of Londoners. Sloane Square, Peter Jones, and the Fulham Road too all have great shops, as does the nearby neighbourhood of Kensington with both High St Ken, and Knightsbridge. But its the King's road which runs from the elegance of Sloane Square and the high end designer shops at one end, to the punky and independence of the World's End at the other.