Belgravia in South-West London is synonymous with some of the most exclusive and elite properties in the capital. Occupying the compact area between Knightsbridge and Buckingham Palace, Belgravia is a calm oasis of beautiful architecture and leafy squares in the heart of a bustling city.
The land which Belgravia now occupies was originally open swampland known as Five Fields. The Grosvenor family inherited the 500 acres of Five Fields after a marriage between Sir Thomas Grosvenor and Mary Davies, and in the early 19th century the family enlisted surveyor Thomas Cubitt to help transform the land into an elegant and prestigious neighbourhood, named after the village of Belgrave on the Grosvenor estate in Leicestershire. Since then, SW1X has historically been one of the most prestigious addresses in England.
As a result, Belgravia became particularly popular with aristocracy and leading political figures, with former residents including former prime ministers Neville Chamberlain and Margaret Thatcher. Extremely successful members of creative industries such as Alfred Lord Tennyson, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Frédéric Chopin and Charles Saatchi have also called Belgravia home.
Architecture in Belgravia
The architecture in Belgravia greatly contributes to the elegance and regal atmosphere of the area, with many residential properties influenced by the Italian style, with white stucco terraces, wide streets and landscaped garden squares. Although less frequently on the market, it is also possible to find ancient mews houses such as those on Wilton and Chesham Mews, and modern apartments on Eccleston Place.
What makes Belgravia so special?
Residents of Belgravia can rest assured that unlike many other parts of London, both the architecture and the ambience of this area is protected through the Grosvenor Estate. While some leasehold properties previously owned by the estate, which is headed by the Duke of Westminster, have been purchased by individuals following leasehold reforms, the external appearance of the squares, terraces and gardens are still controlled through a management scheme.
Belgravia property types
Due to Thomas Cubitt’s meticulous designs, Belgravia boasts a selection of beautiful Georgian terraced squares, with large family properties arranged over a number of floors and decorated to the highest standards. Belgrave Square, Eaton Square, Chester Square and Lowndes Square are particularly prestigious, while luxury historic properties can also be found on Upper Belgrave Street and Wilton Crescent.
Many of these buildings are Grade II listed, and despite being a coveted area for development, it is occasionally possible to find an unmodernised building in need of refurbishment if you’re looking for a project. A great deal of these were used commercially as offices and embassies in the years following the Second World War, but are now being transformed for residential use again, making this an excellent time to invest in property in Belgravia.
Schools in Belgravia
Belgravia is fortunate to have a wide selection of outstanding independent nursery, prep and secondary schools nearby. Both co-education and single-sex schools are available, as are international curriculum options at the Southbank International School and creative courses at the Sylvia Young Theatre School.
Things to do
Nestled between the West End and Knightsbridge, Belgravia benefits from being just a walk away from some of London’s best cultural attractions, such as the Tate Britain and the museums of Exhibition Road. Fine dining can be enjoyed at renowned restaurants including Marcus at The Berkeley, Motcombs and Zafferano, and no evening out is complete without a martini at Dukes Bar, former haunt of James Bond author, Ian Fleming, and where the infamous 007 martini was invented.
Shopping in Belgravia
Part of Belgravia’s calm charm comes from enjoying a close proximity to the commercial centres of Knightsbridge and Kensington, but without suffering from the crowds and traffic that a large shopping street entails. Instead, Belgravia Village offers a prime selection of boutiques on Eccleston Street, Ebury Street, Motcomb Street and Elizabeth Street.
Highlights include designer garments, shoes and accessories from Patricia Roberts, Donna Ida, Egg, Philip Treacy and Christian Louboutin, and luxury perfumes from Les Senteurs and Annick Goutal. Fresh flowers can be sourced from the Judith Blacklock Flower School, while Jeroboams supplies fine wines, Poilâne traditional French sourdough bread, and Rococo luxury chocolates.