Location: Why choose Chelsea?
31 December 2014
Chi chi Chelsea may have lost the bohemian aura it held during the Swinging Sixties, but the affluent area remains a major stronghold of the well-heeled and well-coiffed (prospective tenants should check out the glossy blowdrys and big name accessories of the cast of TV show ‘Made in Chelsea’ for a peek at the dress code of local ‘Sloane Rangers’.)
The attractive west London area is bound in the south by the River Thames, taking in Chelsea Embankment, stately Cheyne Walk and Chelsea Harbour, out to Sloane Square in the east and verging into Knightsbridge and South Kensington in the north and northwest.
For prospective residents keen on shopping, this is a top spot: The Kings Road remains its main artery, from the curved facade of Peter Jones department store and the range of high-end designer boutiques at Sloane Square, through to more independent clothes and shoe shops and furnishing design stores at its opposite end.
Art lovers may enjoy the Saatchi Gallery, which hosts exhibitions of contemporary art, particularly championing young artists. Football fans new to the area might want to take in a match at Stamford Bridge, home to world-famous Chelsea FC. Open spaces include Royal Hospital Chelsea; here you’ll find the calm of the Chelsea Physic Garden, while, at the other end of the scale, the grounds are also used by the annual Chelsea Flower Show, which will see thousands of international visitors descend on the area in May.
While it boasts its share of pubs, night life in Chelsea tends towards the cashed-up, cocktails variety, where you’re most likely to meet the well-groomed Oxbridge set on the dance floor. From the exclusive private members club Raffles to sometime Royal hangouts Boujis and JuJu, to Maggie’s on the Fulham Road, where the interior is a tribute to Lady Thatcher and the 1980s, the area’s nightclubs offer plenty of variety.
Unsurprisingly, much of the dining is fine, including top offerings from Michelin-starred chef Vineet Bhatia (Rasoi Vineet Bhatia) and an eponymous eatery from Gordon Ramsay.
If you’re renting in the area, there’s less choice than in some boroughs for eating at home, with a Waitrose and a Co-operative supermarket on the King’s Road, or the more boutique offering at Harbour Food & Wine in Chelsea Harbour, with a number of express outlets bridging the gap.
In terms of local facilities, Chelsea has its own library on the Kings Road, while Accident and Emergency Services are available at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital on the Fulham Road.
Chelsea currently has no underground station of its own. Public transport access is via South Kensington, Sloane Square, Fulham Broadway or Earls Court tube stations, depending on your location, or via the overground at West Brompton or Imperial Wharf.