Chelsea Area Guide
Encompassing the lengthy King’s road, Chelsea Harbour and Sloane Square – where Colbert is located – the Chelsea neighbourhood has much to offer residents and tourists alike. A vibrant hub for shops, theatre, galleries, museums and parks, read on for a few things to see and do if you should find yourself in the area.
A brief history
The land between Knightsbridge and the King’s Road (named after Charles II) where Sloane Square is located, once belonged to Sir Hans Sloane, physician to three monarchs, naturalist, president of the Royal Society and landowner, who purchased the Chelsea Mansion in 1712 – now the grounds of the Chelsea Physic Garden. The land passed to the Cadogan family when Hans’ daughter, Elizabeth married into the family, and today belongs to the 8th Earl of Cadogan.
The Victorian Era ushered in a hotbed of creativity to Chelsea, with artists and authors taking up residency in the neighbourhood. The legacy of this can still be seen to this day, with many blue plaques marking the homes of the likes of Oscar Wilde. Fast forward to the 20th century and this creative spirit has continued, with the Kings Road being home to Mary Quant’s boutique in the swinging 60s and Vivienne Westwood’s iconic shop during the height of the punk era. Today, Chelsea continues to be a thriving neighbourhood, with many cultural institutions.
Top and tailing Colbert are two of the most famous cultural hotspots in the city. Cadogan Hall, one of London’s leading concert venues, plays host to its resident orchestra – the London Philharmonic – as well as many of the world’s leading composers, jazz artists, actors and choirs. While the Royal Court Theatre, which is situated just next door to Colbert, comprises two performance spaces, championing new writers, producing innovative, provocative works.
A short walk away from Colbert lies the Saatchi Gallery, which supports contemporary art and hosts many events and exhibitions throughout the year. Right now, catch ‘Beyond the Streets‘ the most comprehensive display of street art and graffiti the UK has ever seen; from street murals to defiant train writers, the show will examine some of the most extraordinary works of art and the fundamental human need for public self-expression. Ten minutes further south is The National Army Museum, providing an insight into the role the British Army plays in military and civilian life. A slightly longer stroll towards South Kensington and you’ll find the world famous V&A museum, with its huge programme of art, design and fashion exhibitions, set in spectacular grounds.
Worth a browse
Sloane Street has a rich and abundant selection of stores and boutiques to satisfy any shopping needs. From the historic department store Peter Jones, to global leading fashion houses such as Dior, Saint Laurent, Chanel and Versace and luxury goods such as Jo Malone, Smythson and Tiffany. The Duke of York Square has many independent boutiques and hosts a weekly market every Saturday from 10am to 4pm curated by local stalwarts Partridges fine foods.
Each spring the prestigious RHS Chelsea Flower Show – the most famous show of its kind in the UK, and perhaps the world – takes place in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, designed by Sir Christopher Wren and home to the Chelsea Pensioners. This coincides with Chelsea in Bloom, where the whole area is transformed with beautiful floral displays, the best of which are crowned worthy winners each year.
Somewhere to stroll
If you should be looking to take a stroll – perhaps before or after dining with us at Colbert – then the streets of Chelsea itself have much to offer. From historic buildings and houses once occupied by the likes of A.A. Milne, Sylvia Pankhurst and Mick Jagger, to riverside views and the green spaces of the Chelsea Physic Garden.
Our classic Parisian all-day café menu takes in breakfast to morning coffee through to lunch, mid-afternoon snacks, early evening drinks and dinner.