The rich and famous have long been drawn to this sought-after corner of London. If you have the budget, why not join them?
It’s a sought-after part of the capital, packed with high end restaurants, restaurants, cafes and bars as well as mansions and elegant period town houses. And it has gained a reputation for being the playground of the rich and privileged, such as the stars of the Made in Chelsea reality show.
But the area isn’t all about expensive living. It also has an affinity with the arts thanks to its heyday as a centre of bohemianism in the Swinging 60s. A relic of this past can still be seen in the form of Vivienne Westwood’s punk boutique on King’s Road.
To buy a home in SW3, you need to have deep pockets. The average house price in the area currently rests at a colossal £2.5m, nearly four times the average across London overall. You can double-check the latest figures here.
Eyeing up property in central London? Have a look at our guide to find out what’s available.
Living in SW3: what to expect
SW3 is focused around two long streets – King’s Road and Fulham Road – where the majority of antiques shops, sophisticated bars and fine dining restaurants are found. The area is also home to Sloane Street, one of London’s top shopping streets.
There are pockets of greenery too. Private communal gardens and tidy green areas, such as Chelsea Common, are tucked in among the grand properties. The embankment that runs alongside the River Thames is also a popular place for a walk.
Most streets are lined with colourful mews-style houses, terraced period properties and imposing red-brick mansion blocks that stand five or six storeys high. However, there are also new housing developments springing up, particularly alongside the river.
Where to start your property search
Property in SW3 ranges from handsome red-brick buildings with black railings to mews houses and grand town houses.
Palatial detached and semi-detached homes for those with very flexible budgets can be found on The Boltons and Tregunter Road. Many of the properties have imposing entrance columns and a pristine white render on the outside, which adds to their grandeur.
If you want something just as eye-catching but more colourful, take a look along Lennox Gardens Mews. Some of the mews homes on this road are painted in pretty pastel colours, as are several of the properties on Smith Terrace.
One of the most sought-after addresses in the area is Egerton Crescent. It’s lined with terraced houses that have elegantly proportioned rooms, high ceilings and open fires. However, you will need to have very deep pockets to snap up a property here.
For river views, a home on Cheyne Walk could be a perfect fit. It’s lined with red-brick Georgian houses that are five or six storeys high, some of which have bay windows and balconies. Some of the properties have been converted into flats.
Alternatively, opt for an apartment in one of the new riverside developments. Chelsea Harbour has luxury flats that overlook a marina filled with yachts and speedboats. Meanwhile, the dockside development of Grosvenor Waterside has flats (including penthouses) that come with concierge service and other facilities.
Chelsea Park Gardens is the place to look for Arts & Crafts-style houses. Here you will find double-fronted terraced houses dating back to 1915 with four or five bedrooms and a communal garden.
For more flats within red-brick period mansion blocks, look to roads such as Tite Street or Cadogan Court. These flats boast period features and are still surprisingly spacious.
Getting around SW3
By rail: There are tube stations at Knightsbridge and Sloane Square – while South Kensington tube station sits just outside the postcode boundaries.
You can use Knightsbridge tube station to hop onto the Piccadilly line, which takes you to Heathrow Airport in 42 minutes or King’s Cross St Pancras International station in 13 minutes.
The Circle and District lines run through Sloane Square station, while the Piccadilly, Circle and District lines operate via South Kensington.
By car: Cutting through the SW3 postcode is the A3127, which runs west to Walham Green and east into Belgravia. The A3212 also passes along the southern edge of the area, while the A308 proceeds from the south west, past SW3 and into Knightsbridge.
By air: Heathrow Airport is the most convenient London airport and is just a 41-minute drive away. London City Airport is also fairly accessible and can be reached in 48 minutes by car.
Things to do in SW3
History: Book a tour to see the inner workings of the Royal Hospital Chelsea. It’s the home of the iconic Chelsea Pensioners, who are retired soldiers of the British Army. On the tour you can admire the magnificent buildings designed by Christopher Wren and wander around the dedicated museum.
Cultural: More than 300 concerts and events are held every year at Cadogan Hall, a 950-seat venue in the heart of Chelsea. It’s the venue of the BBC Proms Chamber Music Series and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is resident here. You can also watch jazz, folk and world music events as well as talks and debates.
The Saatchi Gallery is a world-renowned contemporary art gallery on King’s Road. It promoted the work of Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin and is the go-to place to see little-known artists or international names rarely seen in the UK.
Outdoors: St Luke’s Gardens is an attractive green space in the heart of SW3. Its gardeners pride themselves on its flower display, which forms a pretty backdrop to the Neo-Gothic church that stands in the centre of the gardens. A children’s playground and games area cater for younger visitors.
Chelsea Physic Garden combines tranquillity with history. The garden was originally founded in 1673 as an apothecaries’ garden and it still has one of the largest collections of medicinal plants in the world. Visit to admire the plants or take part in one of its courses.
Of course, if you want to see the best gardens, book a ticket to the Royal Chelsea Flower Show. Every summer, garden designers, plant specialists and florists put highly creative and state-of-the-art horticultural displays on show.
Shopping: Key shopping areas include King’s Road, Fulham Road and Sloane Street. King’s Road has all the major retailers while Fulham Road has its pick of antiques dealers and specialist interior shops. On Sloane Street you will find flagship stores and luxury fashion brands.
A market selling handmade products and foods sets up at the Duke of York Square every Saturday, but during the rest of the week you can wander around the 30 stores that line the square’s outskirts. Shops include Liz Earle’s flagship store as well as restaurants with al fresco dining.
SW3 is also home to the famous Harrods department store, which has seven floors of upmarket shopping. Fifteen million customers a year visit the shop, which includes brands such as Tiffany & Co., Chanel and Burberry.
Food and drink: Enjoy a retro vibe at Barts on Sloane Avenue. This exclusive bar is decked out like a late-night speakeasy from the 1920s and is a popular and quirky hangout. Try a cocktail served in a gramophone or giant teacup to enjoy the full experience.
For real ales and comfy sofas, head to The Surprise pub on Christchurch Terrace. Take your pick from an extensive wine list, as well as a robust food menu. Sample the haunch of venison with black pudding and blackberries, or opt for some lighter canapés to accompany your drink.
Live music and afternoon tea are served up at Café Concerto, which has three outlets in the SW3 area. For something truly decadent, choose the Prosecco Afternoon Tea.
If you want real fine dining, book a table at one of the Michelin-starred restaurants in the area. Both Restaurant Gordon Ramsay and Tom’s Kitchen are acclaimed restaurants that make the best use of seasonal foods.
Stroll down Cheyne Walk to house number 16 to see where Pre-Raphaelite painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti lived. He and other famous residents are commemorated with statues in Embankment Gardens.
5 reasons to live in SW3
Packed with high end shops and quirky boutiques
Home of world-renowned restaurants
Grand period houses and apartments
Exclusive, affluent area of London
Close to the River Thames
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