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Luxury abounds in the stylish Chelsea neighborhood. Home to celebrities and fashionistas, Chelsea boasts fabulous shopping and restaurants that are sure to charm London vacationers.
Thriving and cosmopolitan, Chelsea is one of London’s most affluent and attractive neighborhoods. This is an exceedingly fashionable postcode, and its leafy avenues have been home to many British celebrities, artists and royalty and continue to be just as popular today. Chelsea is a quintessentially English area of London, packed with luxury boutiques and restaurants, Victorian townhouses and street lamps and an extensive collection of attractions and activities. Shopping mavens will adore the marvelous selection of independent and designer clothing and lifestyle stores, while foodies can revel in the most luxurious and diverse restaurant selection in London. This is a neighborhood many Londoners dream of calling home. Read on to find out why!
Shopping in Chelsea
For dedicated followers of fashion, Chelsea is at the heart of London style. King’s Road is one of the most iconic streets in London, with a selection of hip boutiques and designer brands. This is where the fashionable and fabulous flock to shop, eat and be seen. Artists of the 19th century and rock bands of the 1960s were all drawn to Chelsea for its bohemian and luxurious spirit. Sloane Street offers more formal and traditional designers, while high-end department stores offer cutting edge home wares and an impressive array of wines and delicatessen counters. Fine restaurants and bars and tucked away between attractive shopping spots, making Chelsea a sophisticated and civilized evening out.
Thames River & Chelsea Embankment Gardens
Take a relaxing stroll down the leafy avenue of Chelsea Embankment along the River Thames. An ideal breather from the crowds, this is a great way to take in the scenery along London’s iconic river. Dominating the Chelsea riverside is Albert Bridge, a suspension bridge built in 1873 that is noted for its delicate ironwork and ornamental towers.
Chelsea Flower Show
During the month of May, Chelsea is packed full of color and bloom with the internationally renowned Chelsea Flower Show. Curated by the Royal Horticultural Society and held on the grounds of The Royal Hospital, green-fingered enthusiasts travel from all over the world to visit the most fragrant and uplifting event in London’s spring calendar. With talks, events and tours, this is a must for every gardening enthusiast.
Situated on the south bank, opposite Chelsea, this expansive park has many secrets tucked away under shady branches. Visitors stumble across sculptures by Hepworth and artists in residence, ornate fountains and a beautiful mermaid statue. Looking over the tranquil lake is the Pump House Gallery, a Grade II listed building constructed in 1861 that is now home to a gallery and shop. Summers see BBQs and guided tours at dusk.
Chelsea Physic Gardens
A unique and cultural prospect, these gardens are located on a Grade I site near the Royal Hospital and demonstrate the use of plants in a modern society. Founded in 1673 as an apothecary garden, it now serves to educate the public on herbal medicine and remedy. Attractive botanical plots, exotic gardens and fragrant herb gardens greet the visitor’s eyes and nose. A guided tour is advisable to get the most out of this intriguing botanical gem.
Chelsea Royal Hospital
Home of the Chelsea Pensioners and their iconic red coats, this is an elegant retirement home for elderly service men and women. Built by Sir Christopher Wren in 1682, the Great Hall and Chapel are a wonder of 17th-century architecture. Wander through the relaxing grounds during the day and chat to residents and tour guides about the hospital’s rich and illustrious history. Evenings are a lively affair with a broad range of events from wine tasting to classical music concerts. The Chelsea Flower Show is held here in the spring amongst the beautiful gardens and grounds.
Between its charming residential streets and garden squares, Chelsea has many trendy spots to discover. Just one of them is “The Beach,” a stretch of Fulham Road between Redcliffe Gardens and Drayton Gardens where you’ll find restaurants and bars very popular with the young and stylish crowd. Rumour has it that Prince Harry hits the nightspots in this area on occasion, too!
Once fertile farm and pasture land, Earl’s Court was launched onto the fashionable scene with the Victorian expansion of London and during the 1851 Exhibition. This charming residential neighborhood in Chelsea is well connected on the Tube and London buses and offers a peaceful stay in London. Earl’s Court is also home to the huge Earl’s Court exhibition center. Comprising of three considerable exhibition halls, the events here range from The Ideal Home Show, debuting all the latest gadgets and furniture for the modern home, to show jumping, gymnastics and rock and pop concerts. The annual London Book Fair draws international crowds with talks from renowned authors and advice to the budding writer from the world’s largest publishing houses.
Managed by the prestigious Royal Parks, Brompton is renowned as the country’s finest Victorian garden cemetery. Its shady and relaxing avenues lead to a Grade I listed central chapel based on St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. There are over 35,000 monuments here, from simple stone plaques to elaborate family crypts. Escape the crowds in this sprawling and peaceful cemetery commemorating everyone from the regular Westminster resident to famous politicians, soldiers of high decoration and many other notable London inhabitants. Gothic splendor aside, the surrounding parklands are well worth a stroll round. Guided walks and tours are available on Sunday afternoons.
Opened in 1985 by contemporary art collector Charles Saatchi, this is the main focal point and home of the infamous Young British Artists (Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst and The Chapman Brothers) who have been causing controversy since the early nineties. Now showcasing work by international artists and located in The Duke Of York’s grand headquarters on King’s Road, it’s worth taking a look for the architecture itself. Home to many intriguing pieces, the Saatchi Gallery has permanent exhibitions as well as temporary shows. There are events and talks in the evenings hosted by curators and artists. Perfect for visitors who want to see what’s happening at the vanguard of the London art world.
National Army Museum
Documenting Britain’s greatest battles and dedicated to the history of the British Army, this is the UK’s premiere military museum. Focusing on personal stories as opposed to factual renderings of war, this is a very human take on a subject that can often be diminished to statistics. Whether fighting on the front line or “Digging For Britain” with the Home Guards during WWII, the National Army Museum provides a fully rounded portrait of life for everybody during times of conflict in the UK. Family friendly, there are uniforms for kids to try and child friendly talks and plays by actors. Events in the evenings include war films and lectures.
Step back into the foggy streets of gas lamp lit Victorian Chelsea, which was a borough of impoverished bohemian artists and writers in the 19th century, with the Carlyles being the literary celebrity couple of the era. Preserved since 1895, this townhouse belonged to “Man of Letters” and author Thomas Carlyle and his wife Jane. There are guided tours showing the remarkably conserved rooms and garden. With the sense that the couple have just left for the afternoon, this is a real treat and a unique “living museum.” Visitors get to snoop around the servants quarters and the kitchen, where the very progressive Mr. and Mrs. Carlyle treated their servants with dignity and esteem, unheard of in Victorian houses reliant on the hard labour of those less fortunate. The decor is sumptuous and in the classic velvet and gilded Victorian style. A literary and atmospheric experience in Chelsea!
Institut Francais & Cinema Lumiere
Chelsea and Kensington are popular spots for French residents, so it’s no surprise that they’ve established their own cultural and education center. This bustling institute provides French natives and those interested in the Provencal lifestyle with an interesting selection of cultural activities. The Cinema Lumiere is a major attraction, showcasing new releases and classic films from over the Channel.
Museum Row in South Kensington
The famous Museum Row is just a five-minute tube ride from Sloane Square. Here you will find prestigious museums and fun for the whole family. Children’s favorite the Natural History Museum keeps them occupied with dinosaur exhibits, a full size animatronic roaring T Rex as well as weird and wonderful creatures feathered and scaled from the world over. The Science Museum displays fascinating historical exhibits with the most cutting edge technology in space research and medicine. Nearby, the elegant Victoria & Albert Museum is home to one of the finest collections of decorative arts, paintings and fashion in the world.
King's Road and Fulham Road
The most fashionable and famous shopping street in London, the bright and bold travel from all over the globe to sample the sartorial delights of King’s Road. Immortalized by The Rolling Stones and the “Swinging London” set in the 60s, then the bright haired punks of the 70s, King’s Road has everything from household names every visitor will recognize to the more avant-garde and daring. Between King’s Road and nearby Fulham Road, there is a boutique to suit everyone’s style! A great range of French and Italian style bistros and bars are nestled comfortably among the stores, making this the perfect street for people watching, outfit devising and relaxing. A Cinema and stylish bars make this a trendy evening destination, with shops staying open late on Thursday evenings to accommodate even the most ambitious and energetic of shoppers.
The curved facade of the vast Peter Jones Department Store built in the early 20th century marks the start of King’s Road at Sloane Square. The square itself, however, holds its own charms. The commercial heart of Chelsea, this area is home to luxury brands as well as big name chains. This area is charming to walk through at night while black cabs circle the square and visitors meander through the lantern lit trees.
Lillie Road Antiques
Just off Fulham Road sits this little gem of quaint antique shops. In contrast to the design district of King’s Road, this is the place to find an eccentric trinket to take home for loved ones or to adorn your walls and floors with a piece of English heritage. Decorative arts, taxidermy, classic English furniture, lighting, mirrors and artefacts can all be found in this bustling hive of a collector’s dream.
The most luxurious street in England, it’s packed full of high-end designer stores. British stalwart Harvey Nichols has its flagship here, offering chic clothes, home wares and accessories from established labels to new and exciting designers, with a champagne bar ideal for an elegant brunch.
Chelsea is literally teeming with restaurants, café’s and bistros for every budget and taste. When you reserve, we send an information pack with loads of links for restaurant ideas plus information on supermarkets and transportation, so you can hit the ground running.
Situated on the bustling and fashionable Kings Road, Marks & Spencer has a supermarket with fresh and organic produce, as well as healthy and tasty ready meals for busy visitors on the go. There are also plenty of small markets, bakeries and specialty food shops to choose from in Chelsea.
Chelsea Farmer’s Market
Located near King’s Road, this quirky little collection of chalets and restaurants offer fresh produce to Chelsea residents and travelers passing by. Enjoy picking out organic fruit and vegetables to take home or finding the perfect picnic ingredients.
Just off King’s Road not far from Sloane Square you’ll spot Partridges, a historic family run grocery store that boasts a Royal Warrant as Grocers to Her Majesty the Queen. You’ll find a selection ranging from gourmet treats to favorites from around the world.
Chelsea is a well-connected neighborhood on the London Underground and crisscrossed by tons of bus lines. The Sloane Square Tube station runs on the District and Circle lines with direct access to Westminster, South Kensington, Notting Hill, Embankment, St. James’s Park, Victoria mainline station and more. Sloane Square is also a hub for bus lines and many pass up and down King’s Road and Fulham Road through Chelsea. You’ll be able to quickly and easily reach all the top spots in central London during your stay in Chelsea
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