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Chelsea, London

Chelsea is an affluent neighbourhood in southwest London situated along the banks of the River Thames. In the 19th century, Chelsea was a bohemian quarter of London with its playwrights, poets, artists and those who preferred to live away from the main stream of society. During London’s swinging era of the 1960s, it was home to a cadre of hippies and punks.

Gentrification crept into Chelsea in the late 1970s and began to move out the neighbourhood's bohemian population. Wealthy residents gradually moved in and eventually transformed Chelsea into an exclusive London neighbourhood. Chelsea today is home to many trendy cafes, classy restaurants, upmarket retailers and the Chelsea Football Club with its supporters being some the wealthiest in England.

Affluent homes in Chelsea by Cristian Bortes

Famous People

Chelsea is home to many wealthy bankers, business people and famous celebrities. Not much has survived from the bohemian era except the buildings, which have gone upmarket. However, explore the neighbourhood and you will discover there are nearly 60 ‘blue plaques’ placed on buildings to indicate famous people of the past who once worked and lived here. These include Bram Stoker (18 St Leonard’s Terrace), Mark Twain (23 Tedworth Square), A. A. Milne (13 Mallord Street) and Sir Alexander Fleming (20A Danvers Street).

Mark Twain's former residence in Chelsea by Spudgun67

Shopping Scene

For retail therapy, head to the premier shopping streets of King’s Road and Sloane Street. Well-known upmarket chains offering luxury brands and independent fashion boutiques dominate the two streets. Jimmy Choo, Versace, Gucci, Prada, Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Vivienne Westwood are just a few of the exclusive brands seen here. The Duke of York Square Shopping Complex is home to over 30 elitist stores with iconic brands that include Zara, Boggi, Dubarry, Mary Quant and Banana Republic.

King's Road shopping street in Chelsea by Mark Ahsmann

Food Scene

For dining in style, Chelsea is home to some of the best restaurants in London. Gordon Ramsay’s flagship and Michelin-starred restaurant is located on Royal Hospital Road, though you are unlikely to find him behind the kitchen. Complimenting Chelsea’s restaurant scene, you cannot help notice the strong cafe culture here. Despite being an affluent neighbourhood, there are still places for budget eats including the ‘greasy spoon’ restaurants, fast food chains and takeaways.

Visiting Chelsea

There are no London Underground stations in the Chelsea neighbourhood and the nearest are South Kensington (District, Circle and Piccadilly Lines) and Sloane Square (District and Circle Lines) Stations. The London Overground and Southern trains stop at Imperial Wharf railway station located about 500 metres (550 yards) from Chelsea. However, a number of London buses stop at various locations in Chelsea including bus route numbers 11, 14, 19, 22, 49, 211 and 328.

Chelsea on the Map

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