Christie’s Private Property
Prime Central London
Knightsbridge is a road that also gives its name to the exclusive district in prime central London. Originally a small hamlet outside the city of London, Knightsbridge was named after a crossing of the River Westbourne, which is now an underground river.
Knightsbridge is home to many luxurious shops, including Harrods, Harvey Nichols, and flagship stores of many British and international fashion houses. The district also has a wealth of private banks, including Coutts and many other financial institutions. Some of London's most renowned restaurants are found here, as well as many exclusive hair and beauty salons, antiques and antiquities dealers, chic bars, and clubs.
The principal freeholders in the area are the Duke of Westminster and Earl Cadogan. The two areas of historic landholdings can be distinguished by red-brick Queen Anne Revival buildings, which are mostly to be found on the Cadogan Estate, and white stucco-fronted houses, which are mostly found on the Grosvenor Estate, built by Thomas Cubitt.
Belgravia is in both the City of Westminster and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. A large portion of the district, known as the Grosvenor Estate, is still owned by the family property company Grosvenor Group, owned by the Duke of Westminster, however the estate has recently sold many of its freeholds due to the Leasehold Reform Act 1967. The area takes its name from one of the Duke of Westminster's subsidiary titles, Viscount Belgrave.
Most of Belgravia was owned by Richard Grosvenor, who developed it in the 1820s; Thomas Cubitt was the main contractor. Belgravia is characterised by grand terraces of white stucco-fronted houses, and is focused on Belgrave Square and Eaton Square. Many embassies are located in the area, particularly in Belgrave Square.
Eaton Square is one of the three garden squares built by the Grosvenor family, and is named after the historic Cheshire manor of Eaton, on which the country house of Eaton Hall is situated, and the Grosvenor family's principal seat. Eaton Square is larger but less grand than the central feature of the district, Belgrave Square, and both are larger and grander than Chester Square. The first block was laid out by Thomas Cubitt in 1827.
Chester Square is a smaller residential garden square, the latest of the three garden squares built by the Grosvenor family. Chester Square is named after the city of Chester, close to Eaton Hall, the ancestral home of the Grosvenor family.
The closest London Underground stations are Hyde Park Corner, Knightsbridge, and Sloane Square. London Victoria Station, a major national rail, tube, and coach interchange, is to the east of the district. Regular bus services run to all areas of London from Grosvenor Place.
Mayfair is named after the annual fortnight-long May Fair, that took place on the site that is Shepherd Market today, from 1686 until it was banned in that location in 1764.
Most of the area was first developed between the mid-17th century and the mid-18th century as a fashionable residential district by a number of landlords, including the Dukes of Westminster and the Grosvenor family. The Rothschild family also bought up large areas of Mayfair in the 19th century. The freehold of a large section of Mayfair also still belongs to the Crown Estate.
Much of the district is commercial, with many offices in converted houses including major corporate headquarters, a concentration of hedge funds, real estate businesses, and many different embassy offices, namely the US large office taking up all the west side of Grosvenor Square. There remains a substantial quantity of residential property, as well as some exclusive shopping, and London's largest concentration of luxury hotels and restaurants. Buildings in Mayfair include the United States Embassy in Grosvenor Square, the Royal Academy of Arts, The Handel House Museum, the Grosvenor House Hotel, Claridge's, and The Dorchester.
The renowned prestige of Mayfair could have grown in the popular mind because it is the most expensive property on the British Monopoly set.
Mayfair has become an attractive location away from the city of London for private banks, hedge funds, and wealth managers. Mayfair also boasts some of the capital's most exclusive shops, hotels, restaurants and clubs. Just alongside Burlington House is one of London's most luxurious shopping areas, the Burlington Arcade, which has housed shops under its glass-roofed promenade since 1819.
St. James's was once part of the same royal park as Green Park and St. James's Park. In the 1660s, Charles II gave the right to develop the area to Henry Jermyn, 1st Earl of St Albans, who proceeded to develop it as a predominantly aristocratic residential area with a grid of streets centred on St. James's Square.
Until the Second World War, St. James's remained one of the most exclusive residential enclaves in London. Famous residences in St. James's include St. James's Palace, Clarence House, Marlborough House, Lancaster House, Spencer House, Schomberg House, and Bridgewater House. Christie's and Christie's International Real Estate are also based on King Street, and the surrounding streets contain a number of art and antique dealers.
St. James's is also the home of many of the best known gentlemen's clubs in London, and is sometimes referred to as Clubland. These include:
- Army and Navy Club
- Caledonian Club
- Canning Club
- Carlton Club
- Cavalry and Guards Club
- The East India Club
- The Lansdowne
- Oriental Club
- Oxford and Cambridge Club
- Reform Club
- Royal Air Force Club
- Royal Automobile Club
- Royal Ocean Racing Club
- Royal Over-Seas League
The area is also home to fine wine merchants including Berry Brothers and Rudd, at 3 St. James's Street. St. James's is also famous for being home to some of the most famous cigar retailers in London.
The area has a good number of art galleries, including the White Cube gallery, which had originally opened in Duke Street, St. James's, then moved to Hoxton Square. The gallery is the first free-standing building to be built in the St. James's area for more than 30 years.
Chelsea is an area of West London, bound to the south by the River Thames, where its frontage runs from Chelsea Bridge along the Chelsea Embankment, Cheyne Walk, Lots Road, and Chelsea Harbour. The district is part of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. From 1900, and until the creation of Greater London in 1965, it formed the Metropolitan Borough of Chelsea in the County of London. The word Chelsea originates from the old English term for "landing place for chalk or limestone."
Two of King Henry VIII's wives, Catherine Parr and Anne of Cleves, lived in the Manor House on Chelsea Manor Street; Princess Elizabeth—the future Queen Elizabeth I—was a resident; and Thomas More lived more or less next door at Beaufort House.
The best-known building is The Royal Hospital Chelsea, a facility for retired soldiers, set up by Charles II and opened in 1694. The beautifully-proportioned Christopher Wren building stands in extensive grounds, and is where the Chelsea Flower Show is held annually.
King's Road remains the major artery through Chelsea, and continues its reputation as a shopping mecca. Sloane Street and Knightsbridge are overtaking Bond Street as London's premier shopping destinations, housing a variety of high-end fashion or jewellery such as Cartier, Gucci, and Graff.
Kensington is a district of west and central London, within the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. An affluent and densely-populated area, its commercial heart is Kensington High Street, and contains the well-known museum district of South Kensington.
The heart of the area is Kensington High Street, a busy commercial centre with many luxury shops. The street was declared London's second best shopping street in February 2005, mainly due to its number of shops. Kensington's second centre is South Kensington, where a variety of shops are clustered close to South Kensington tube station. This is also the southern end of Exhibition Road, the thoroughfare that serves the area's museums and educational institutions.
The area has some of London's most elite streets and garden squares, including Edwardes Square, Earls Terrace, The Phillimores, and Wycombe Square. Notable attractions and institutions in Kensington and South Kensington include: Kensington Palace in Kensington Gardens, the Royal Albert Hall opposite the Albert Memorial in Hyde Park, the Royal College of Music, the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Holland Park is a district and a public park in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, in west prime central London.
Holland Park has a reputation as an affluent and fashionable area, known for attractive large Victorian townhouses, and high-class shopping and restaurants.
The park is about 22 hectares, and is considered one of the most romantic and peaceful parks of central London. The northern half of the park consists of semi-wild woodland, while the central section around the ruins of Holland House is more formal with several garden areas. The southernmost section is used for sport. Holland House is now a fragmentary ruin, having been devastated by incendiary bombing in 1940. The park contains a famous orangery, a giant chess set, a cricket pitch, tennis courts, a Japanese garden, a youth hostel, one of London's best equipped children's playgrounds, squirrels, and peacocks.
Holland Park is now one of the most expensive residential districts in London or anywhere in the world. A number of countries maintain embassies here.
Notting Hill is close to the north-western corner of Kensington Gardens, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. It is a cosmopolitan district known as the location for the annual Notting Hill Carnival, and for being home to the Portobello Market.
By the 1980s, single-occupation houses began to return to favour with families who could afford to occupy them, and parts of Notting Hill are today among London's most desirable areas. The parts of Notting Hill near Holland Park are characterised by stucco-fronted pillar-porched houses, private gardens, communal gardens, access to the public parks at Holland Park and Kensington Gardens, and shops.
There are four tube stations in the area: Westbourne Park, Ladbroke Grove, Latimer Road, and Notting Hill Gate. Ladbroke Grove tube station was called Notting Hill when it opened in 1864. The name was changed in 1919 to avoid confusion with the new Notting Hill Gate station.
Portobello Road runs almost the entire length of Notting Hill from north to south. It runs parallel to Ladbroke Grove. It contains Portobello Market, one of London's best known markets, containing an antique section, second-hand, fruit and veg, and clothing stalls.
Hyde Park or Bayswater is within the City of Westminster and the Royal Borough of Kensington, as well as Chelsea to the west.
Hyde Park is one of London's most cosmopolitan areas wherein a diverse local population is augmented by a high concentration of hotels. In addition to the native English, there is a significant Middle Eastern population towards Edgware Road, a large Greek community attracted by London's Greek Orthodox Cathedral, many Americans, and London's main Brazilian community.
The area has attractive streets and garden squares lined with Victorian stucco terraces, now mostly subdivided into flats and boarding houses. The property ranges from very large, high-value apartments to studio flats. There are also purpose-built apartment blocks dating from the interwar period, as well as more recent developments.
Marylebone is roughly bounded by Oxford Street to the south, Marylebone Road to the north, Edgware Road to the west, and Great Portland Street to the east. This includes Marylebone Village and the area immediately north of Marylebone Road, containing Marylebone Station.
Today, the area is host to Harley Street. Since the opening of the Jubilee Line at Baker Street station (with its direct links to Canary Wharf), Marylebone—particularly Marylebone Village—has become an even more sought-after area in central London.
In the 18th century, the area was known for the raffish entertainments of Marylebone Gardens, the scene of bear-baiting, and for the duelling grounds in Marylebone Fields. The Crown repurchased the northern part of the estate in 1813.
Welbeck Street, at the intersection of a right turn onto Bentinck Street, was the location of a near-fatal traffic accident for Sherlock Holmes in The Final Problem, soon followed by a narrow escape from a falling brick in Vere Street—Professor Moriarty's work, most likely.
St. John's Wood
St. John's Wood is in the City of Westminster, and at the north-west end of Regent's Park. It is approximately 2.5 miles north-west of Charing Cross.
The postcode NW8 was ranked by Forbes magazine as the 5th most expensive postcode in London and the United Kingdom. St. John's Wood was developed from the early 19th century onwards. It was one of the first London suburbs to be developed with a large amount of low-density "villa" housing, as opposed to the terraced housing which was the norm in London up to the 19th century, even in expensive districts.
St. John's Wood is the location of Lord's Cricket Ground, the original headquarters of the sport. It is also famous for Abbey Road Studios and the street Abbey Road, where The Beatles recorded, notably the Abbey Road album, the cover of which features the band crossing the road.
Regent's Park is the area surrounding one of the Royal Parks of London. It is partly in the City of Westminster and partly in the London borough of Camden.
The park itself has an outer ring road called the Outer Circle, and an inner ring road called the Inner Circle, which surrounds the most carefully-tended section of the park, Queen Mary's Gardens.
The 166-hectare park is mainly open parkland that enjoys a wide range of facilities and amenities including gardens, a lake with a heronry, waterfowl and a boating area, sports pitches, and children's playgrounds.
The Crown Estate owns the freehold of Regent's Park.
Cumberland Terrace, on the eastern side of Regent's Park, is the largest of architect John Nash's terraces overlooking the park.
When the leases expired in 1811, Prince Regent (later King George IV) commissioned architect John Nash to create a master plan for the area. Nash originally envisaged a palace for the Prince and a number of grand detached villas for his friends, but when this was put into action from 1818 onwards, the plans for the palace and most of the villas were dropped.
Hampstead is known for its intellectual, liberal, artistic, musical, and literary associations, and for Hampstead Heath, a large, hilly expanse of parkland. It has some of the most expensive housing in the London area.
The name comes from the Anglo-Saxon words ham and stede, which means, and is a cognate of, the modern English "homestead".
Much luxurious housing was created during the 1870s and 1880s, in the area that is now the political ward of Frognal & Fitzjohns. Much of this housing remains to this day.
Cultural attractions in the area include the Freud Museum, Keats House, Kenwood House, Fenton House, the Isokon building, and Burgh House.
To the north and east of Hampstead, and separating it from Highgate, is Hampstead Heath, which includes the well-known and legally-protected view of the London skyline from Parliament Hill. The Heath, a major place for Londoners to walk and "take the air", has three open-air public swimming ponds; one for men, one for women, and one for mixed bathing.
Local activities include major open-air concerts on Saturday evenings in summer on the slopes below Kenwood House, book and poetry readings, fun fairs on the lower reaches of the Heath, period harpsichord recitals at Fenton House, the Hampstead Scientific Society, and the Hampstead Photographic Society.
The area has some remarkable architecture, such as the Isokon building in Lawn Road, a Grade I listed experiment in collective housing, once home to Agatha Christie & Henry Moore.