Should you be considering spending a short-break in the attraction-packed UK capital in the coming weeks and, additionally, you’re thinking of opting for the San Domenico House Chelsea London as the base for your stay, you’ll quickly discover you’re not short of places to discover, explore and relish in the very local vicinity. Here are just some examples…
(Duke of York’s Square, King’s Road SW3 4SQ)
Having re-opened exactly 10 years ago in its current home, the former military barracks of the Duke of York’s Headquarters, this world-renowned contemporary art gallery now enjoys 70,000 square feet of space, a significantly larger option than its previous 40,000 sqft occupancy at County Hall on the Southbank. Named after its founder, former ad man Charles Saatchi, it takes after his example of championing young artists and featuring the works of the ‘Young British Artists’ (like Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin) and includes a dedicated area for emerging artists from the Saatchi Online website. Also, though, well worthy of discovery are temporary exhibitions of contemporary art works, which began with the work of 30 of China’s leading artists.
(5 Sloane Terrace SW1X 9DQ)
This former Church of Christ Scientist is now home to the illustrious Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, arguably– despite its renown – the most accessible of London’s major orchestras. Revered for its steep walls and deep barrelled roof, the venue’s 965-seat auditorium affords performers and attendees acoustic greatness – clear and terrific and marvellously loud sound. Built way back in 1901, it’s a fine example of Byzantine-esque church design; its supreme Art Deco interior a particular boon (compare for example the brutalist exteriors and interiors of the South Bank’s big-time arts venues). Indeed, it might just be the capital’s most aesthetically pleasing permanent classical music venue.
Royal Court Theatre
(Sloane Square SW1W 8AS)
Committed to launching new work and, in so doing, discovering and exploring new playwright’s voices, the Royal Court has been acclaimed as ‘the most important theatre in Europe’ by many an authority, not least the esteemed New York Times broadsheet. Famed forever after for staging John Osborne’s game-changing British kitchen-sink drama Look Back in Anger in 1956, the Sloane Square venue’s carried on in exactly that vein for the past 60-plus years, putting on work of an extremely high standard that often pushes the envelope; a marker of its importance and eye for quality being that many of its productions have made a thoroughly successful transition up the road to the West End playhouses.
Chelsea Physic Garden
(66 Royal Hospital Garden SW3 4HS)
Set out in 1673 by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries, this hidden-away gem of a botanic/ apothecary garden provides both an aesthetic and practical reason for its continuing existence. Gravel pathways, statues and ponds separate and decorate its various smaller garden areas with a blissful bouquet of plants, whose practical purpose is to ensure the garden meets is pledge to continue researching the medicinal properties and healing potential of herbs. For most visitors, though, the garden’s all about gifting those who chance upon it something a magical spot for a short stroll in one of the most interesting and beautiful natural spaces in the entire capital – arguably a must-visit, perhaps, for those staying at nearby romantic hotels London.