Why live in Belgravia? For us, working in the heart of Belgravia, it is such a no-brainer of a question that we do not need to come up with clever answers. The answers are all around us, every day of the year. But there are plenty of people looking to buy property in central London for whom Belgravia is just a name – a good property brand, if you will, like Chelsea and Knightsbridge and Notting Hill Gate.
So what, in a nutshell, makes Belgravia so special? Here are just six things:
(1) The architecture, and in particular the white stucco-fronted houses, is so breathtaking that it is admired all over the world. In fact, Belgravia has become synonymous with streets and squares so visually immaculate – from Eaton Square to Grosvenor Crescent – that it always seems to be demand. At the heart of Belgravia is the beautifully laid-out Grosvenor Estate which grew up in the 1820s.
(2) There are trees and green spaces throughout Belgravia – which is not always true of some of the world’s other prestigious residential areas. With Hyde Park within walking distance, and a clutch of stunning garden squares and leafy streets, this is a great area to raise a family as well as enjoying other urban excitements.
(3) History. You can hardly walk fifty yards without spotting a blue plaque – testimony to the roll-call of famous people who have made their home here. If this part of London was good enough for Mozart and Margaret Thatcher and Ian Fleming and Brian Epstein and Alfred, Lord Tennyson and Sir Sean Connery, it should be good enough for anyone.
(4) There is a quirkiness about Belgravia which residents rightly treasure. It is not just about the great streets and the majestic squares: there are cobbled mews and out-of-the-way side roads where you can find quiet pubs and sleepy churches as well as friendly shops. It is a great area to explore on foot because it throws up so many surprises.
(5) Belgravia does not rest on its laurels, and never has. For every classic terraced townhouse or long-established fashion boutique or restaurant, there is a new kid on the block, refreshing the Belgravia brand. On the very street where Henry & James is located, Motcomb Street, the Grade II-listed Pantechnicon building is currently undergoing a lavish restoration as a major fashion and culinary hub.
(6) It is a cliché, but Belgravia really is an urban village, with the intimacy of a village. It is impossible to walk a hundred yards without seeing a familiar face, exchanging smiles or stopping for a chat. It is people, not bricks and mortar, who make the place tick.
Belgravia is an exclusive area. We would not pretend otherwise. Yet there is a real human warmth in the air, perfectly complementing the beautiful surroundings.