Knightsbridge can be described in three words: wealthy, international and shopping. Located between Mayfair, Kensington and Belgravia, it’s one of the most exclusive residential and retail districts in west London and, of course, home to the world famous department store, Harrods. As well as shopping, Knightsbridge is renowned for its exclusive bars, restaurants and clubs that attract the rich, royal and celebrated from all over the globe. Property prices in the area are sky high and although virtually in the heart of the city, the residential streets are often located in quiet, tree-lined squares, tucked away from the buzz and activity of the Brompton Road and Sloane Street. The architecture is imposing and mainly early 19th century red brick Queen Anne revival buildings or white stucco town houses by Thomas Cubitt – wander the streets, absorb the cosmopolitan atmosphere and enjoy the shopping.
A Palace & MuseumsBuckingham Palace: Since 1837, the Palace has been the home of Britain’s sovereigns and today, it’s the Queen’s official London residence. The Palace has 775 rooms and measures 108 metres across the front, 120 metres deep (including the central quadrangle) and 24 metres high. The Palace is open to visitors from July to September every year and the 19 room tour includes the grand hall, garden, lake and library. http://www.royal.gov.uk/theroyalresidences/buckinghampalace/buckinghampalace.aspx
Victoria & Albert (V&A): Founded in 1852 to inspire and educate British designers and manufacturers, today the museum houses more than 4 million pieces spanning the centuries and cultures. Special attractions include the £30 million regenerated space of the Medieval and Renaissance Galleries that display a unique collection of masterpieces and medieval craftsmanship. www.vam.ac.uk/
The Natural History Museum: the Dinosaur gallery is one of the most popular exhibits in London, and the museum, but it’s also home to more than 70 million specimens from across the natural world, including insects, fossils and rocks. For adults, and especially children, it’s a great day out where they can try their hand at becoming a scientist, take part in gallery trails and art activities, step inside the ‘solar system’ or even ‘experience’ an earthquake. www.nhm.ac.uk
The Science Museum: Another great day out for children – the museum collection includes machinery, cars, space exploration displays and plenty of interactive activities. https://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk
For a picnic, an evening stroll, or full-on exercise, Hyde Park is right on the doorstep behind the impressive Brompton Oratory. The Park opens every day from 5am to midnight and offers plenty of space and activities – come rain or shine. During the summer months popular musical events are held here and in the winter (November-January) a Winter Wonderland is the main festive attraction. http://www.royalparks.org.uk/parks/hyde-park/visiting-hyde-park
Knightsbridge is one of London’s most popular shopping areas. Between Brompton Road, Sloane Street and Knightsbridge you’ll find British and International fashion houses and here are just a few of the more familiar designer names: • Shoe designers: Jimmy Choo & Manolo Blahnik
• French Fashion: Dior, Louis Vuitton, Chanel
• International: Joseph, Dolce & Gabbana, Versace, Gucci, Hermes, Prada, Saint Laurent, Boss and many more
• Scotch Corner is home to Burberry offering high-quality Scottish goods including a Tartan room, men’s and women’s fashions.
And, of course there is Harrods, the world’s most famous department store, began in the middle of the 19th century when Henry Charles Harrod started a grocery shop on Brompton Street. A shift in focus to selling high quality goods rather than competing for low prices resulted in expansion and tremendous success. Today, features include 60 fashion departments, a celebrated Food Hall and at night the store is lit by 11,000 lights. Although Harrods is open to all, there is still a strict dress code and customers have been turned away for wearing too little! www.harrods.com
Harvey Nichols: began life in 1813 as a linen shop on the corner of Knightsbridge and Sloane Street and progressed in the 1880’s to selling luxury goods. Today, it’s a favourite stomping ground for fashion and food lovers with eight floors offering superior home wares, fashion and beauty, and the entire fifth floor dedicated to food and restaurants. https://www.harveynichols.com
Knightsbridge offers a choice of superb award winning restaurants and cuisines. Below are some suggestions to try out:
Mr Chow – glitz, glamour and stylish Chinese food. Enjoy watching famous dishes being prepared and famous people. 151 Knightsbridge http://www.mrchow.com/
Petrus – Michelin star restaurant and home to the gutsy and robust cuisine of celebrity chef Marcus Wareing. Modern French cuisine and a favourite with celebs, it’s and regularly referred to by the critics as the best fine dining restaurant in London. 1 Kinnerton Street, inside the plush Berkeley Hotel http://www.gordonramsay.com/petrus/
5th Floor Café at Harvey Nichols: pan-Mediterranean menu and a place to be seen. There’s plenty of space and lovely terrace available during the summer months.
Amaya – Michelin star Indian cuisine with a difference. The open kitchen serves elegant dishes cooked either on the tandoor, sigri grill or tawa skillet and described as a ‘pleasure for the senses’. 19 Motcomb Street http://www.amaya.biz
Racine – warm, friendly and neighbourhood favourite. Good Bourgeois French cooking and short but great wine list. 239 Brompton Road http://www.racine-restaurant.com
Ishbila – family-owned restaurant serving ‘top-notch’ Lebanese food in a sophisticated, fashionable setting. 9 William Street http://www.ishbilia.com/
Mari Vanna – authentic Russian cuisine, although the décor is more like a cramped living room than restaurant. 116 Knightsbridge http://marivanna.ru/london/
A Short History: From village, to haven for the wealthy and well-heeled. Originally a small hamlet between the villages of Chelsea (Chelsey), Kensington (Kensing town) and Charing, Knightsbridge was named after a bridge that crossed over the, now underground, River Westbourne. As far back as 1141 it is recorded that the citizens of London met Matilda of England at the Knight’s Bridge and over the centuries, the area was renowned as the haunt of highwaymen and robbers targeting travellers on the western route out of London. The manor of Knightsbridge passed into the hands first of the Whashes, or Walshes, and then to a family named Davis. The last male member of the family, Alexander Davis, left an only daughter and heiress, Mary, who, in 1676, was married to Sir Thomas Grosvenor, whose descendants are the present Duke of Westminster and Lord Ebury. Today, the 6th Duke of Westminster is still the principal landowner and owns vast pieces of real estate across London.