Top 10 prettiest streets in Chelsea
St Leonard’s Terrace
The city’s smallest borough is spoilt for choice when it comes to beautiful boulevards and alluring alleyways. Here is our pick of the 10 most beautiful streets in Chelsea.
At the very heart of Old Chelsea, yet tucked away, Justice Walk is a peaceful oasis. Roses overhang the little cobbled street in SW3. At the old courthouse, thieves paid a high price for their crimes in the 18th century: a sea voyage followed by hard labour in the colonies. These days, the properties along Justice Walk attract a premium. The former Court House is believed to have sold for close to £14.5m a few years ago.
Bordering the Chelsea Physic Garden and lined with elegant mansions, Swan Walk is one of the loveliest streets in Chelsea. Here lived Elizabeth Blackwell, who produced a book of paintings with the herbs grown in the Physic Garden. Close by is Gordon Ramsey’s restaurant offering Michelin-starred dining. Grapes, apples and even pomegranates grow along this street.
Painted in cheerful seaside pastels, the mews cottages in Bywater Street have a celebrity connection. No 9 is the address John le Carre chose for George Smiley, his fictional spy. The best-selling author liked the idea of a cul-de-sac, which makes it difficult for surveillance. But residents are used to the attention from the novelist’s fans. This is probably one of London’s most fragrant streets too, with Paul bakery on one corner and Penhaligons on the other. Three-bedroom homes in Bywater Street cost around £3.5m.
This street of tall, stuccoed, south-facing mansions flanks Burton’s Court, a private garden belonging to the Royal Chelsea Hospital. Bram Stoker apparently brought Dracula to life, while he lived here and Laurence Olivier was resident here for six years in the early Eighties, when he was married to Joan Plowright. This is a superb location, it is minutes from King’s Road and Sloane Square Tube Station. In early spring, the street is full of magnolias. You can rent one of these beautiful homes in Royal Avenue, which joins Kings Road with St Leonard’s Terrace for £2,950 per week. (020 7581 5011; www.henryandjames.co.uk).
This smart and sought-after area is separated from the Thames only by the Chelsea Embankment. It was home to Mick Jagger, first in his bachelor days and then with wife Bianca and daughter Jade. Keith Richard also had a house there in the Seventies. More recently Jagger returned, buying another Cheyne Walk mansion and spent millions remodeling it. In the same timescale as Jagger’s rise to fame and fortune, the street has gone from a slightly bohemian backwater, to an ultra-exclusive address. The street is full of wisteria that cascades down the front of houses and weaves its way through the centuries old railings at the front of the properties. Prices in Cheyne Walk can start at £780,000 for a one-bedroom flat in Pier House.
Rows of attractive period terraces surround the lush gardens here. Just off King’s Road, the square is a secluded address that appeals to many buyers. The composer, William Walton, lived at No 2. Actress Sybil Thorndike lived at No 6 and Kim Philby, the spy, lived at No 18. The houses range from £12m to £17.5m. But you can rent a pretty flat in Old Brompton Road, a few blocks away, for £450 per week (020 7235 8861; www.henryandames.co.uk).
The mansion blocks and grand houses of this part of Chelsea look out onto the private gardens and benefit from the proximity to Sloane Street. They are some of the best gardens in SW3, both for the sheer size and for the array of plants plus tennis courts. This first floor flat, with a balcony to the front, is available to rent at £895 per week.
Henry and James Belgravia office (020 7235 8861; www.henryandjames.co.uk).
The Georgian houses that surround Paulton’s Square were built in the 1830s on the site of a market garden, land once owned by Sir Thomas More. The gardens were described as a long, narrow enclosure planted with shrubs and some fine trees. It still has several mature planes and ginko, as well as a series of new trees recently planted. King’s Road makes up the fourth side of the square, meaning residents are never far from the throbbing artery of Chelsea.
This terrace of gently curving, porticoed opulence has been named the most expensive street in Britain. This is, in part, due to the fact that the houses are gorgeous. The swanky stucco terraces have delicate wrought iron balconies overlooking the private gardens. But it’s also ideally located for the Tube and Harrods, as well as the A4 for an escape to the west. A four-bedroom house can cost anything from £15m.
If you prefer red brick to white stucco, Mallord Street might be more to your taste. These sturdy low-rise period homes are highly sought-after and command top prices. But if you can secure one, you would be in good company. A A Milne lived here for more than 20 years. Sometimes he would take his young son to London Zoo. Christopher Robin was very taken with a black bear called Winnie and the rest is … loved forever.