Home to luxury boutiques, high-end restaurants and world-renowned galleries, Chelsea has come a long way from its 1960s bohemian beginnings. Whether you’re staying in the area or just passing through, discover everything Chelsea has to offer with our guide to Sloane Square and beyond. Here’s how to spend 24 hours in the neighbourhood.
We start our day on the cobbled Pavilion Road, a stone’s throw from Sloane Square Tube station. With a village feel, this tranquil haven is the ideal place to start a day of sightseeing. Wellness enthusiasts can kickstart the morning with a yoga or spin class at boutique studio KXU, nestled halfway down Pavilion Road and conveniently located next to local brunch favourite Granger & Co (be sure to try the ricotta hotcakes). Directly opposite lies Hans Bar & Grill, a stylish spot that serves up traditional brunch fare and breakfast cocktails, while vegans can get their fix at nearby Wulf & Lamb. Be sure to pick up one of Bread Ahead’s cult doughnuts and a flat white from The Roasting Party while you’re there. Still hungry? Pavilion Road is also home to a handful of artisan food shops, where you can find organic fruit and vegetables, cheese and fine wine.
Once you’ve had your fill, head back down towards Sloane Square and walk south towards the charming Duke of York Square for a dose of shopping and culture. As well as a plethora of luxury shops, you’ll also find high-end supermarket Partridges (grocer by appointment to the Queen, no less), where you can stock up on the finest local produce. Swinging by on a Saturday? Be sure to check out the Duke of York Square’s legendary food market, with over 70 stalls selling everything from Argentinian empanadas to French crepes and oysters.
If contemporary art is your thing, the Saatchi Gallery is also well worth a visit. With over 70,000 square feet of space, there are plenty of exhibitions to explore, and with programmes changing on a regular basis there’s always something new to discover.
No trip to Chelsea would be complete without a saunter down the world-famous King’s Road, built by King Charles II to provide a direct route from Hampton Court to London. There, you’ll find a wide variety of independent boutiques, designer offerings and high street staples. Bookish types can’t miss John Sandoe Books, a labyrinthine spot brimming with literary gems, while antique hunters can jump on the 211 bus and explore the delights of The Furniture Cave, a three-storey emporium at the end of the King’s Road featuring paintings, ceramics and silver. You’ll also find Vivienne Westwood’s quirky shop, designed to resemble a pirate ship. You can’t miss the huge clock on the front, but don’t rely on it for the time – look closely and you’ll notice the hands spinning backwards.
From there, head back up the King’s Road and down towards the river. Chelsea Embankment, which stretches to the south overlooking Albert Bridge, is the spot for a late afternoon stroll. If the sun is shining, The Chelsea Physic Garden, founded in 1673, is a stunning botanical garden steeped in history and well worth a visit. History enthusiasts can also check out the nearby Royal Hospital Chelsea, whose grounds are transformed every May for the iconic Chelsea Flower Show.
Working your way back towards Sloane Square, take a moment to appreciate the pastel-hued houses and blue plaques that commemorate famous Londoners who once resided in Chelsea’s leafy streets.
There’s no better way to round off a day of culture SW3-style than an aperitif in one of the area’s pubs or bars. Sip on innovative cocktails at JuJu or Eclipse or enjoy a pint of local ale in The Phene or The Phoenix – all firm Culture Trip favourites. When it comes to dining options, you’re spoilt for choice. From laid-back local favourite Kurobuta to the pan-Asian-inspired Eight Over Eight (don’t miss the lychee martinis) and Italian stalwart La Famiglia, there’s something for everyone.