Up until the 12th century, Knight’s Bridge was a small Hamlet, just outside London between Chelsey (Chelsea) and Kensing Town (Kensington). For centuries it was a district popular with highwaymen, robbers and ne’er-do-wells that liked to take advantage of the unsuspecting traveller who was trying to enter London via the western route – Adam Ant’s ‘Stand and Deliver’ probably could have been the anthem for the area.
Fortunately, that seems to have changed; the reprobates moved out and the law abiding and elite moved in. Today, the only robbery that is likely to take place is the price you may pay for a cup of coffee in one of the cafes or bars that are amongst its outlets! This article goes on to provide a modern day guide to Knightsbridge, London.
The Geographical Area
Knightsbridge is actually a road that lends its name to the district that runs from Hyde Park, around Westminster; through the borough of Chelsea and Kensington and up the Brompton Road. There is only one word to describe the property in this area – expensive. To get about there are plenty of transport options. You could use public transport (rail, bus or taxi) or book cheap car hire from a number of rental companies.
There are a million ways to spend your money in this corner of London. You need look no further than the area’s flagship store – Harrods – which is very popular with the tourists, catering for a wide range of (expensive) tastes with around 300 departments which are manned by approximately 3000 staff members. It is noticeable that this store is less popular with the locals, who are more likely to head towards Harvey Nichols. Again some of us may find the price prohibitive, but there are 3 floors dedicated to designer fashion, beauty and mouth-watering treats.
However, if you really want to blow the budget, then you can do no worse than to head on down to Sloane Street. There are a wide selection of fabulous designers to choose from (such as Chanel, Prada, Fendi, Christian Dior), who are only a tottering “Manolo Blahnik” shoe shop away from each other.
Wining and Dining
After a hard day’s shopping and sight-seeing, what better way to relax than to settle down to ‘Dinner by Heston Blumenthal’ – at his debut London restaurant (Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, 66 Knightsbridge, SW1X 7LA)? Be aware, Mr Blumenthal isn’t actually going to be coming to your table. The business is actually under the direction of Ashley Palmer-Watts (head of the Fat Duck Group). Don’t be too disappointed though; it is still a major attraction for celebrities – you never know with whom you could be rubbing shoulders as you tuck into your oysters.
If booking a table at Heston’s is proving difficult, then there is a wide range of other top-notch eateries for you to choose from. At The Berkley you could enjoy French cuisine, under the guidance of Pierre Koffman, or you could opt for a taste of Japan at Kumo – restaurant and cocktail bar. If you prefer something meaty you could do worse than try The Rib Room and there is a multitude of places serving Asian food. The world is your oyster!
Places to Visit
In-between the shopping and the dining, you may find yourself wanting to do something a little different. There are plenty of attractions in the area, such as Bonham’s, which is open for viewings on Saturdays and Sundays only. There you will find a wide selection of fine art, antiques and collectibles. If you are of a classic mindset, you will be pleased to spot the motor cars, and motorcycles that are collected there.
St Paul’s Church (not to be confused with the cathedral!) is a beautiful Victorian church in the heart of the Grosvenor Estate, Belgravia. This was built in 1843 and retains its original features and charm.
Finally, it should be noted that the area is close to a multitude of other services: museums, the underground, theatres and parks. It is a fun, vibrant place to visit and if your pockets are deep then you can have anything you wish in this most desirable area of London.