Home to the iconic King’s Road, world-class restaurants, shops and galleries, Chelsea is so much more than coloured chinos and flashy cars. Here are nine things to do in this sought-after London borough for a guaranteed great day out.
The Saatchi Gallery – Charles Saatchi’s private art collection – never fails to disappoint with its forward-thinking exhibitions. Entry is free, and its prime location at the top of the King’s Road makes this the perfect spot to while away a couple of hours. The highly acclaimed Gallery Café and its daily afternoon tea offering are also worth a mention, especially the boozy option that features ice-cold Pommery Champagne and jugs of Pimm’s in the summer months.
Hunt around for historical blue plaques
Spend a morning or afternoon discovering London’s blue plaques on a walk through leafy Chelsea. For more than 150 years, blue plaques have commemorated the homes and workplaces of famous figures, of which there is no shortage in SW3. Former residents include George Eliot, Alfred Hitchcock, Oscar Wilde and Sylvia Pankhurst. Head down Smith Street, and you may even spot a plaque dedicated to P L Travers, the author of Mary Poppins. It’s believed 50 Smith Street was the inspiration behind the Banks family home in the iconic Disney movie.
Stop on Pavilion Road for a spot of brunch
A stone’s throw from Sloane Square Tube station is Pavilion Road, a charming, cobbled street with a village feel. Work up a sweat at boutique gym KXU (there’s even an infrared sauna and cryotherapy chamber) before feasting on an egg and avocado-laden brunch at Hans’ Bar & Grill or Granger & Co. Be sure to stock up on seasonal produce, charcuterie and cheese at resident Natoora and on a doughnut or two from Bread Ahead while you’re there. Stationery fiends should also check out Papersmiths – its floor-to-ceiling shelves are brimming with design-led offerings (all of which can be monogrammed) as well as journals, periodicals and books covering graphic design, fashion and psychology.
Browse Lots Road and the Furniture Cave for antiques
Retail therapy in Chelsea isn’t limited to designer clothes. Tucked off the beaten path is Lots Road, a London antique institution that hosts auctions every Sunday – expect to find everything from Persian rugs to Louis XV-style mirrors. The Furniture Cave, located at the end of the King’s Road, is also worth a visit if antiques are your thing. The space, spread over three floors, houses over 20 dealers offering paintings, ceramics, silver and furniture. Jewellery fans should seek out Bourbon-Hanby Arcade, the only remaining antique jewellery emporium in Chelsea, for one-off pieces.
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