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Chelsea has a unique character, combining a history of aristocractic residents and bohemian and village-like elements. The entire neighbourhood is located in The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea. The area closest to Sloane Square, bordering Knightsbridge, is most desired by international investors and is well known as one of the most prime locations in London. The Cadogan Estate owns the majority of Chelsea, mainly on Fulham Road, King’s Road, Sloane Square and Cadogan Square.
Chelsea’s borders may be confused by attractions bearing its name, such as the Chelsea Football Club grounds and Chelsea Harbour, both of which reside in Fulham. In reality, Chelsea is bordered by Fulham Road to the North, Sloane Street and Chelsea Bridge Road to the East, the River Thames to the South and Gunter Grove to the West. Its neighbours include Belgravia, Knightsbridge, South Kensington and Fulham.
Chelsea is known for its array of shopping; epitomised by the King’s Road. This street used to be a private road used by King Charles II to get from Putney to Hampton Court. It was a private royal road until 1830, but now it is viewed as Chelsea’s high street and caters to international stores such as Ted Baker and Wolford.
If one is looking for less-commercialized shopping, Chelsea Farmers’ Market on Sydney Street and the Michael Hoppen Gallery on Jubilee Place both provide a fun day out for residents to pick up a culinary treat or a nice print.
A walk along the King’s Road isn’t the only way to get a bit of a recreational exercise. There are plenty of Yoga and pilates studios on streets off the King’s Road and in other parts of Chelsea. The main gyms including the KX gym, which is widely regarded as one of the best gyms in London offering services far more than you’re an average health club.
Sloane Square is one of the most familiar landmarks in Chelsea. It is the main pathway connecting Knightsbridge and Chelsea; specifically where traffic from Sloane Street and King’s Road converge. The Royal Court Theatre and Peter Jones department store can both be found on Sloane Square. The area is notoriously noisy due to the heavy traffic.
Chelsea also provides many trendy restaurants to choose from. Manicomio in Duke of York Square is the place to go for contemporary yet authentic Italian. Geales in Chelsea Green proclaims to be London’s neighbourhood fish restaurant, along with Sushinho for Japanese and Brazilian fusion. Others well-known eateries include Tom’s Kitchen, the Palm, Thomas Cubitt, the Botanist and Gaucho Sloane.
The Royal Hospital Chelsea, founded in 1682 by King Charles II, was built to provide shelter for British veteran soldiers and still serves its original purpose today. It resides on a large green space that hosts prominent events such as the annual Chelsea Flower Show. Chelsea is also home to the Chelsea Psychic Gardens, which is the second oldest botanical garden in all of Britain and was founded in 1673.
The Duke of York Square is in the north-eastern corner next to Sloane Square and is home to the notorious Saatchi Gallery. It is pedestrianized, providing a traffic-free village feel to the shopping and eating experience. The square provides luxurious boutiques and quaint coffee shops, such as Patisserie Valerie, and can get quite crowded on the weekends.
The area used to attract primarily artists and writers, but now typically caters to film stars, trendsetters, financiers and other well-to-do City professionals. Bob Marley wrote his famous song “I Shot the Sheriff” in a flat off of Cheyne Walk, Mark Twain lived on Tedworth Square and Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula, resided here as well. More recent notable residents include Kate Middleton, girlfriend of Prince William, who lives on Old Church Street, along with Lily Allen and Kylie Minogue.
Sloane Square is the only tube station that is actually located in Chelsea, although South Kensington station is not too far away for residents in the northern-central area of Chelsea, and residents of West Chelsea use the Earls Court and Fulham Broadway stations. There is a proposal to construct a station at King’s Road as part of the Chelsea-Hackney line in the Crossrail 2 project, however it still remains unfunded and is not likely to be completed for at least another decade.
The area is home to the More House School and is within close proximity to other prestigious preparatory schools in neighbouring areas as well.
Cadogan Lane hides behind Cadogan Square and has many mews cottages and small homes. Sloane Gardens, slightly noisy although convenient, is full of tall red-brick mansion blocks. Terraces of period houses, many converted into flats, frequent the private square of Cadogan Place. Walton Street, which runs through Chelsea and connects South Kensington to Knightsbridge, is home to upscale shops, restaurants and houses. Old Church Street, the oldest street in Chelsea, offers a great variety of homes as well.
The average property price in Chelsea comes in just under South Kensington’s average at £2.1 million. One should expect to pay around £1.5 million for a flat and £3.8 million for a terraced house. However, as with most of London average prices can be more misleading than helpful due to the wide range of styles and the differing level desirability for particular streets or even locations on streets. A three bedroom penthouse on Manresa Road will cost around £3,800/sqft, a seven bedroom terraced house with a swimming pool on Cheyne Place will cost around £2,550/sqft, and a three bedroom maisonette on King’s Road is on the market for around £1,050/sqft.
Chelsea offers great shopping and possesses a distinctive character that separates it from any other neighbourhood in London. With such a mix of galleries, chic boutiques and trendy restaurants, Chelsea provides a vibrant place to call home.