One of the biggest reasons anyone might consider coming to – or staying in – Chelsea is its excellent retail opportunities. Stylish, diverse but extensive, the area’s shopping is a must for any visitor. Here are some reasons why…
The Shop at Bluebird
(350 King’s Road SW3 5UU)
Located in the Bluebird Building along the iconic King’s Road, this sprawling department store is a retail venue-and-a-half, thanks to its desirable collections of designer fashions, art books and top-of-the-range homeware items, in addition to its very own ‘Blink Spa’ – just the venue in which to unwind after a day spent pounding the Chelsea pavements getting some serious shopping done.
(131-141 King’s Road SW3 4PW)
Describing itself as ‘a destination for the creative, worldly woman’, which offers ‘an expansive, carefully curated collection of clothing, homeware and niche beauty products’, Anthropologie apparently aims to ensure everybody who passes through its doors dresses and lives ‘beautifully’. A lofty aim, indeed, but with its mix of boho-chic womenswear, shoes, accessories, home décor and a smattering of wedding attire, it’s something it achieves – with bells on.
TASCHEN Store London
(12 Duke of York Square SW3 4LY)
This is the place to head to for high-quality, expensive, imagery-based coffee-table books – and no mistake. Taschen is, of course, a renowned publisher of such books (often with a, let’s be honest, daring and bold, designer edge), but don’t doubt it; you’ll find beautiful tomes here that cover all manner of subjects – from photography to architecture, movies to music, fine art to pop culture and comic books to children’s books.
The Map House
(54 Beauchamp Place SW3 1NY)
Dating all the way back to the Edwardian era, this shop can rightly claim to be London’s oldest antiquarian map-seller; having supplied maps of Antarctica to explorer Ernest Shackleton, of the Far East to Winston Churchill and of the Western Front to the UK’s one-time King Edward VIII. Today, it still sells original, antique and exquisite maps, as well as an impressively diverse selection of topographical prints. To say it’s a treasure trove is putting it mildly – just the sort of whimsical and atmospheric place to pop into while enjoying romantic hotel deals in London.
Ad Hoc London
(153 King’s Road SW3 5TX)
A women’s clothing-and-fashion accessories boutique aimed mostly at hip young things, Ad Hoc’s all about fun and frivolous looks, styles and items; stocking as it does everything from individual garments (‘message tops’, hats, parkas and so on) to the likes of face-masks, greetings cards, ‘fun glasses’ and glittery smartphone cases.
(404 King’s Road SW10 0LJ)
If you know a film fan this is the place for them (or, naturally, if you’re a film fan yourself, it’s somewhere you must visit – especially if you’re staying very nearby at the San Domenico House hotel). That said, it’s not just about the movies here, as AntikBar also vends the eclectic – the likes of avant garde, wartime, propaganda and ski posters – in addition to timeless tomes on Soviet design and artwork, and military-themed maps, prints and costumes, while also offering a poster restoration service.
(Sloane Square SW1W 8EL)
Finally, no rundown of London’s must-visit retail venues would be complete without Chelsea’s old-school but thoroughly dependable department store. It runs the full gamut; men’s and women’s fashions to homeware, and perfumes and scents to skincare, while also containing two restaurants and an espresso bar – just the tonic for a pit-stop between its many floors of quality shopping.