Are you considering a move to London’s SW3 postcode area and want to know more about living in Chelsea?
Here we highlight the many factors that make Chelsea quite such a desirable place to call home, and why it has been one of the most sought-after places to live in London for many hundreds of years.
Chelsea’s colourful history
Located in Central London in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, north of the River Thames, Chelsea started off as a small Saxon village. Once known as the ‘village of palaces’, its connections with royalty and the wealthy date back to before the 1600s.
In the 19th Century, the area was a hub of artistic and literary talent. Writers including George Eliot lived here and Oscar Wilde made Tite Street SW3 his home from 1854 until 1900.
The King’s Road (named after King Charles II) became the epitome of ‘cool’ during the ‘Swinging Sixties’. Fashion designers like Mary Quant and later Vivienne Westwood set up shop at World’s End. By this time rock stars including The Beatles and Mick Jagger were local residents.
Chelsea SW3 Today
Today, Chelsea SW3 is a desirable cosmopolitan place to live and own or invest in property. Popular with many affluent residents from across the globe. The SW3 postcode is also home to one of the largest communities of Americans living outside the United States.
Much of Chelsea continues to be owned and overseen by the Cadogan Estate, particularly prime central property in and around Cadogan Square SW3. The Earl of Cadogan remains the freeholder and therefore, many of the properties are only available on a leasehold basis.
King’s Road is one of the district’s major thoroughfares boasting a variety of high-end fashion and jewellery boutiques. Those not familiar with the area might be surprised to learn that despite its name, the premier league football club Chelsea FC is located at Stamford Bridge which is in Fulham SW6.
Chelsea’s squares, parks and green spaces
Chelsea is only a corner away from two of the biggest garden parks in the city – Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park.
There are over 30 more parks and green spaces managed by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to explore.
The 100 garden squares are what really makes the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea stand out, providing quiet places for local residents to enjoy away from busy London living.
The Cadogan Estate, the area’s major landowner, maintains many of the garden squares in the area. Residents will often gain private access by paying an annual subscription fee, as part of the service charges so that they can enjoy use of the garden square the live near, some even offer tennis courts.
Globally known, the extensive grounds of Chelsea Royal Hospital are home to The RHS Chelsea Flower Show, established in 1913, today it is most prestigious flower show in the world.
Schools in Chelsea
There are a selection of schools in Chelsea, catering to families with young and older children with highly regarded state and independent schools in the area and nearby.
Primary schools in Chelsea
There are three state-run primary schools which cater to local families with young children:
Park Walk Primary
Servite Roman Catholic School
Ashburnham Community School
Independent prep schools
There are three main independent prep schools in Chelsea all with good reputations:
Hill House International Junior School
Cameron House School
The Hampshire School
Secondary schools in Chelsea
Kensington and Chelsea College
There aren’t any independent secondary schools in Chelsea itself, however, there are a number of well-respected schools within easy travel distance in neighbouring Kensington and Notting Hill.
Some of the top independent schools in the area include Falkner House Brechin Place, Redcliffe School, Cameron House School, and Hampshire School Chelsea. Imperial College London and French Lycee are located in the nearby South Kensington.
Places to shop in Chelsea
There is a broad selection of places to shop in Chelsea, from independent stores to well-known chain retailers. The King’s Road is regarded to be one of the best shopping streets in London.
Fashion retailers with stores in SW3 range from Dior to Anthropologie, Lululemon Athletica, and Worlds End Boutique.
There are also a number of interior shops such as the Designers Guild, the British brand India Jane, and the British heritage brand Osborne and Little, all of whom have stores in Chelsea.
Peter Jones is one of London’s biggest department stores, where you can discover floors of beautifully curated fashion, homeware, and beauty products.
Chelsea Farmers’ Market
This is not a traditional open-air style farmers market but instead is made up of an attractive collection of chalet-style stores and restaurants in a market-style setting with a local friendly atmosphere.
Duke of York Square
Situated on King’s Road, very near Sloane Square, Duke of York Square is a retail concept created by the Cadogan Estate. It offers many British and international brand-name stores.
Independent local shops
There are many independent wine and food stores such as Rococo Chocolates, The British Chocolatiers, and Blanco and Gomez wine merchants.
Places to eat, dine and drink
There is a selection of places to eat and drink across Chelsea from the beautiful setting and fine food The Ivy Chelsea Garden to the Bluebird, a long-established London institution.
Rustic Italian The Jam is a great place to stop for pizza or pasta dishes and further along towards Sloane Square there is Rabbit, which offers seasonal dishes from the family farm in Sussex.
For fine dining, Chelsea has the two Michelin-starred Claude Bosi at Bibendum and the three Michelin-starred Restaurant Gordon Ramsay on Royal Hospital Road.
Chelsea has a vibrant social scene year-round from clubhouse-style pub The Phene and the King’s Road cocktail bar Callooh Callay, and plenty of traditional historic pubs such as The Cross Keys and upmarket gastropub The Chelsea Pig.
Travelling to and from Chelsea
Chelsea is well-served by numerous bus routes.
There are two District and Circle Line Underground stations close by to its eastern boundary at Sloane Square and South Kensington to the north that offer excellent tube connections. There is also an Overground rail station to the west at Imperial Wharf which is on the Chelsea border with Fulham.
Chelsea residents can also commute via the Thames. The Thames Clippers provide a fast efficient service up and down the river to Canary Wharf available from Cadogan Pier and Chelsea Harbour Pier.
Property in Chelsea
Those seeking property in Chelsea will find a wide range of property styles and sizes to consider. From handsome traditional London townhouses to mansion blocks, cobbled mews houses and grand apartments line the streets of SW3 and border Chelsea’s garden squares.
Prime roads include Tregunter Road, Hollywood Road and Gilston Road and in the heart of the Conservation area is The Boltons, one of Chelsea’s most prestigious quarters with its grand stucco-fronted houses quietly tucked away.
There are many conversion apartments, but also family houses from the Georgian and Victorian eras and some with river views or tucked away in narrow bricked lanes. Dotted around you can find 1960s flats and residential developers have created many luxury high-end apartments over the years as Chelsea has continued to be one of the most sought-after places to live in London.
There are many compelling reasons to consider moving to SW3, not least because of the local community spirit and abundance of events, activities and groups run in the area.
Every Saturday, the Duke of York Square hosts a lively farmers’ market. Visitors will find a broad selection of items to buy including seasonal ingredients and fresh meals, handmade sushi, Scottish fudge and gourmet popcorn often feature among many other delectable treats.
There are plenty of regular activities and classes for young children and there’s a dedicated ‘Over 50’s Forum’ for SW3 residents offering regular meetings and activities.
The Everyman Cinema is a favourite for local film buffs.
Chelsea’s artistic heritage continues today with the internationally renowned Saatchi Gallery and smaller galleries like Clarendon Fine Art and Albemarle.
Chelsea Public Library can be found in the Chelsea Town Hall where regular history society and literary events are held with guest speakers.
Living in Chelsea
To discuss your search for a property in Chelsea with a professional property finder please do get in touch for a no-obligation discussion regarding your plans to move.