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Chelsea’s enduring appeal: a buyer’s guide

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Knight Frank
London and Country specialist property buying agents
10 May 2017  |   Philip Eastwood

Perhaps unlike any other area of Prime Central London, Chelsea’s historic streets have attracted the greatest mix of residents from members of the royal family to artists, rock stars, fashionistas and—more recently—wealthy businessmen and women from all over the world. Its lure has much to do with geographical location: you’re very much in the heart of London—on the doorstep of Knightsbridge, Kensington and Belgravia and an easy distance from Mayfair, the West End and the City.

Cutting a busy dash through the area is, of course, the iconic King’s Road which, in my mind, outperforms almost a lot of other high streets in the centre of the capital with Marylebone High Street coming close. From its ever-growing number of interesting shops and restaurants to the annual events such as the Chelsea Flower Show and the Masterpiece arts-and-antiques fair, which are both held in the gardens of the Royal Hospital, there’s always a buzz. But, at the same time, you only have to step off the King’s Road and wander around the streets behind to find a haven from the hustle and bustle.

Culturally, throughout the year, the area has lots going on from excellent performances at the Royal Court theatre to concerts at the Cadogan Hall—both of which are in Sloane Square which forms something of a focal point for the area with the Tube station and the much-loved department store, Peter Jones.

Another element that makes Chelsea attractive to buyers is the architecture which is far from generic. With the right budget (price per square foot for a good property is in the region of £2,000) there’s something for every appetite whether you’re looking for a small pied-a-terre, a larger house or an apartment, there’s everything here. What Chelsea rarely has is any new developments and those which are built often sell fast. Additionally, because the area was largely developed by wealthy landed estates, there are some very important examples of architecture from Argyll House which was built by Giacomo Leoni and Sir Christopher Wren’s Royal Avenue, constructed in 1682. Today, alongside neighbouring St Leonard’s Terrace, Royal Avenue counts among some of the best addresses in Chelsea—they are unique for having an outlook that has barely changed in centuries.

Of course, many of our buyers have families and the area has a wealth of well-respected private day schools which are either located in Chelsea itself or just on the borders with Belgravia. These include Eaton House, Hill House, Garden House and Knightsbridge School. Additionally, because of the resident’s parking permit which allows you to park anywhere within the Royal Borough, it makes schools (as well as shops, restaurants and other amenities) that much easier to reach in other areas such as South Kensington and Notting Hill.

Something Chelsea has, that other prime areas perhaps lack, is personality. Much of it is occupied and clients often tell me that they want to live in a place that has a bit of vibrancy. Bars, restaurants and cafes will always be busy; that’s not always the case in other nearby neighbourhoods.

Chelsea living: the inside track

Breakfast: Colbert on Sloane Square

Lunch: The Botanist (also on Sloane Square)

Dinner: Lucio on Fulham Road

Cocktails: in the garden of The Ivy Chelsea

Shops: Peter Jones (for everything); The Chelsea Fishmonger (on Chelsea Green); Jago butchers (www.jagobutchersofchelsea.co.uk) on Elystan Street;  The Chelsea Gardener (on Sydney Street).and John Sandoe (www.johnsandoe.com) on Blacklands Terrace, just off King’s Road, for a proper old-fashioned book shop. There are also numerous interior design shops on the Fulham Road which are worth a browse.

Gym: KX on Draycott Avenue

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