Many districts in the UK capital have a rich history but, in terms of cultural diversity as well as elegance, few are able to match the Chelsea, Kensington and Knightsbridge area, so what should you look to get up to if you book a stay at accommodation in Chelsea London…?
Rich retail options
A natural haven for retail therapy, Chelsea’s simply one of the must-visit London locales for shopping. Being one of the capital’s most affluent and elegant areas, the district’s renowned for all its glamorous and well-heeled fashion boutiques on the world-famous King’s Road, while high-end high-street brands are excellently represented by the likes of All Saints, Banana Republic and one of the biggest Zara stores in all Europe at Duke of York Square. And of beautiful jewellery’s your weakness, you must make for Sloane Street, where you’ll find branches of Tiffany & Co, Hermes and Cartier, among others.
Over recent decades, Chelsea has built up for itself an enviable reputation for as a hub of the finest dining out options. Indeed, some of the greatest – and most diverse – restaurants in the entire capital are to be found in this relatively compact district. Take for example Gordon Ramsay’s three-Michelin-starred eponymous restaurant on Royal Hospital Road; for a special night out during a stay at the San Domenico House Chelsea London, it surely doesn’t get much better than booking a table here. Alternatively, there’s the likes of Scott Hallsworth’s various iterations of the oriental eateries that are Kurobuta, the Gladwin chef brothers’ Rabbit restaurant and the smooth, relaxed breakfast specialist VQ is open all day – and all night.
Stunning stage plays
Having played a pivotal role in exposing the exciting, raw and cutting-edge ‘angry young man’ and/ or ‘kitchen sink’ stage drama of the 1950s and early 1960s to audiences across the board, more than 60 years on now, Sloane Square’s Royal Court Theatre is still going strong – and in all that time has never strayed far from that template. Where once it mounted productions of plays by legendary, mould-breaking playwrights like John Osbourne and Edward Bond, today it’s just as well known for helping to kick-start the careers of the likes of Christopher Hampton, Hanif Kureishi, David Hare and Martin McDonagh. You can be assured of a night out at this venue then on which your sensibilities will be challenged but, should you believe that theatre should always be art *first*, this place may well be the Chelsea attraction for you.
Wallow in a wonderful art heritage – and legacy
Chelsea’s fine arts community is long-standing, indeed; the pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood – or ‘New Romantics’ as they’re also referred to – descended on the area in the mid-19th Century, in particular in the environs of Cheyne Walk and Cheyne Row; some of them lived as well as worked in the area. Moreover, the iconic British giant of seascapes JMW Turner resided here until his death in 1851, while John Singer Sargent maintained a studio on Tite Street. And, happily enough, this most arty of heritages isn’t without its legacy; today the Saatchi Gallery plays host to all the very latest and all the very best of contemporary art.
Finally, if you’re really interested in the idea of uncovering abodes in which the great and the good and the rich and the famous once lived, then you’ll find Chelsea comes up trumps once more. Indeed, the wonderful UK-wide scheme of popping a blue plaque on the former home and/ or short residence of a legendary individual has seen a lot of action in this area down through the years. For, not only is there one to be seen on 4 Cheyne Walk (denoting it was the last address in which great 19th-Century novelist George Eliot lived) but you’ll also find there’s one at 153 Cromwell Road, where genius film director Alfred Hitchcock once lived with his family and had a small studio attached. Additionally, at one time or another, Chelsea was home to the likes of everyone from Oscar Wilde to Isambard Kingdom Brunel and James Joyce to Sylvia Pankhurst.