What makes this part of London so special?
There is something very exciting about Chelsea. It has a wonderful bohemian feel and a rather charming history. From the Swinging Sixties through to the punk era, it was the place to be seen. You could find Mick Jagger walking around in flares or Jimi Hendrix smoking on a street corner. There’s a strong sense of community, too, particularly around Chelsea Green, a lovely square that’s bordered by lots of shops and cafes. It’s super hearing stories from residents who’ve been here all this time.
Where might you go for food in Chelsea?
On Sloane Square there’s a French brasserie called Colbert, which is always buzzing and has a fantastic atmosphere. It serves excellent food and there are glamorous people sitting outside in dark glasses, watching the world go by. Further into Chelsea you’ll find old-school Italian restaurants that have been there for years, such as Caraffini on Lower Sloane Street, Ziani on Radnor Walk and Scalini on Walton Street. They serve really good, traditional dishes: veal milanese and stuffed zucchini. The Pie Man is a charming deli on Chelsea Green that serves the finest sausages this side of Canterbury, and there’s a quaint pizzeria called La Delizia, tucked away on Chelsea Manor Street. Rabbit, at the junction of Kings Road and Burnsall Street, is very popular – it’s owned by the family behind Nutbourne. And the Chelsea Arts Club is an old-school members’ club on Old Church Street where you can dine in great style – and there’s a lovely garden for the summer months.
We know about the Saatchi Gallery – what else is there to do from a cultural standpoint?
You’ve got the Royal Hospital, which is one of Chelsea’s best-known landmarks. Many of the Chelsea Pensioners live there and lots of events go on within the grounds. At Christmas they have carol services in the chapel; Chelsea Flower Show is there in May, which Savills is involved in; and there’s polo throughout the summer. There are always tents up in the gardens for some event or other. It’s right next to the Army Museum, another popular destination, particularly with families. And you’re not far from all the museums of South Kensington: the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and the V&A.
What about exercise?
There’s great tennis at Burton Court – you have to be a member, but it’s a beautiful enclave in the heart of London. It has a cricket pitch too, which is a great spot for a summer’s evening, with a stunning backdrop. And you can jog along the river, down the Embankment and over Albert Bridge, the pink decorative bridge that takes you to Battersea Park – it’s even closer than Hyde Park.
What does Chelsea offer for buyers?
Chelsea is always high up on people’s search list. It has more to offer than just a place to live: it has some of the finest shopping in the world, culture and history, cinemas and theatres with a radical tradition. Buyers want an area that offers the whole package.
In terms of houses, heading up Kings Road from Sloane Square, you have pretty streets such as Bywater Street and Smith Terrace, with lovely, colourful cottage-style properties. There are often two- or three-bedroom houses going for £3m-£4m, perfect for people who live in the country and want to be in London during the week. Then you get to the slightly grander addresses: Markham Square, Wellington Square and Carlyle Square. These are broader, more voluminous townhouses with bigger gardens. That’s one of Chelsea’s big attractions – most streets have fantastic gardens. The four- or five-bedroom houses go for £5m-£8m, depending on size. Further west there are a host of wonderful houses, built early in the 20th century, that are generally bigger and aren’t listed, on Mulberry Walk, Mallord Street and Chelsea Park Gardens.
What’s your favourite thing about Chelsea?
You can go everywhere on foot and you’ll bump into someone every day, whether it’s a friend, a client or someone famous. There’s a lovely, buzzing atmosphere and not too much traffic. Chelsea residents are proud of that – there’s a real community spirit there.
DIRECTOR, LONDON PRIVATE OFFICE SLOANE STREET
WDChad@savills.com +44 (0) 207 590 5076
Pictures from top: William Duckworth-Chad; Albert Bridge (Getty); the French-inspired interior of Colbert; the Thames at sunrise between Battersea Park and Chelsea Embankment (Alamy); classic Chelsea townhouses in Wellington Square (Alamy); and Albert Bridge at night