The borough of London that is Knightsbridge is so insanely beautiful, rich and boutique that I felt it had to be a Travelettes Posh Guide, rather than the usual Travelettes Guide. The amount of unique boutiques, incredibly designed shop windows, delectable foods and houses that will have you yearning to be a millionaire is what gives Knightsbridge the nickname of the ‘well heeled’ neighbourhood of London. Well heeled, eh? Quite fitting for a travelette to get out and about there exploring then.

I was invited by The Park Tower Knightsbridge, a Luxury Collection Hotel to visit this area of London as they wanted to showcase the area and all its delights for me to share with you. And good lord, there were SO many delights! I swear my camera was smoking from exertion by the end of my time there.

Photo 04-12-2014 20 56 29

One early and crisp Autumn morning, I ventured over to the borough. Knightsbridge is bang in the middle of central London, just south of Hyde Park, and is nestled in between Chelsea, Sloane Street and South Kensington. The area is stocked full of world renown shopping, such as, Harrod’s and Harvey Nichols, which has meant that I had never even thought to put Knightsbridge on my radar. Assuming that it was well out of reach of my meagre bank account, I had written it off as a place that was way too fancy for the likes of me! But that kind of judging would have meant I would have missed out on seeing a historical area that is one of London’s oldest neighbourhoods.

As soon as you hit the streets out of the tube station, majestic and iconic buildings spring up around you. I headed straight for The Park Tower Knightsbridge to grab some brekkie up on the penthouse floor and was greeted with a fantastic view of London’s rooftops sparkling in the Autumn sunshine! The outside of The Park Tower isn’t much to look at as it’s 1970’s exterior is quite forbidding, but the inside is homely without being uber flashy. Spacious and modern with epic views of bustling London and Hyde Park make this a lovely place to rest your head.

Photo 04-12-2014 20 57 29

Photo 04-12-2014 21 16 03

As we began our adventure into the depths of Knightsbridge, we hit up Motcomb Street immediately. The wide, clean and quiet streets just didn’t feel like the crazed shopping districts of London that I was used to! It was serene with cobbled roads and well-dressed people leisurely going about their everyday business. Every street in Knightsbridge has someone lurking with impeccable style; strutting their stuff in sharp and classic fabrics is their norm. The man below is quite literally my hero.

Photo 04-12-2014 21 01 11

Photo 04-12-2014 21 02 39

You should know by now that I do have a crazy sweet tooth that will never be sated, so to pop into Rococo Chocolates was something that had me drooling instantly. Chocolate tasting before midday? Don’t mind if I do!

The unique chocolatier, Rococo, has been creating bespoke award-winning chocolate for thirty years and now supplies delectable products for the likes of Liberty’s (swoon!) and Selfridges.

Photo 04-12-2014 20 58 20

Chantal Cody has been running it for these years and she sure knows her stuff. I tasted a wonderful selection which included my favourite, salted chocolate, and some… interesting… 100% cocoa chocolate. I was tempted by the whole ‘no sugar, no milk, healthiest chocolate’ USP, and although it was more of a sensation of flavour, it was pretty intense. I couldn’t handle more than a bite, but you have got to try it before you can claim you’re a real chocoholic!

Photo 04-12-2014 21 00 04

The backstreets are lined with beautiful mews that are characteristic of London’s wealthy areas. The mews are houses that used to be stables back in the day and you pretty much have to be mega rich to live here. When you tour around these streets in Belgravia though, it’s clear that they are stunning and quality abodes that you would sell your first-born to get to live in one. Belgravia appeared in the 1820’s when the landowning Grosvenor family wanted to create an opulent new quarter of London on an area of desolate countryside west of Buckingham Palace. It became a popular retreat for the aristocracy in the 18th century and is now one of the most expensive places to live.

Sweet hidden English pubs lurk back here, which you would have to hunt for. The Grenadier Pub on Grosvenor Crescent Mews is apparently London’s most haunted pub… but if you don’t spy a ghost, you might just see Madonna chugging a pint there instead!

Photo 04-12-2014 21 03 53

Now the epitome of city opulence for me is a boutique florist. I do appreciate a good bouquet (not that I get them often) so to have a good nose around Neill Strain’s floristry was lovely. I felt incredibly British whilst looking at all the stunning orchids and tried my hand at creating flowered decoration. It turns out flower art isn’t really my forte, but you’ve got to appreciate an opportunity to get up, close and personal with luscious colours and scents!

Photo 04-12-2014 21 08 34

Photo 04-12-2014 21 10 32

After traipsing the streets sightseeing, you definitely need some R&R. Even if you don’t stay at The Tower, they still offer some great dining and drinking options and one really unique experience is the Take Away Afternoon Tea. The contents vary depending on the season, but it’s stocked full of incredible sandwiches, scones and pastries. Teamed with a cup of tea and you are pretty much experiencing an English tradition with a modern twist! The specially-made tiered carry cases allow you to stuff your face wherever you want; you could take advantage of the Autumn sun in Hyde Park and have it as a picnic or you can just enjoy it at home. And if anyone has any clue as to how they created the Swan Petit Choux Pastry “Paris Brest”, then do please let me know!

Photo 04-12-2014 21 06 06

Photo 04-12-2014 21 07 11

The Hyde Bar also offers premium whiskies which you can sip on whilst nestled in a plush leather seat. The fact that The Tower Knightsbridge has a large selection of cigars makes you feel like you should be swirling your whiskey, puffing on a cigar with a velvet smoking jacket on. Very old school.

But after packing away some whiskey, you might feel the need to eat something a bit more substantial than delicate sandwiches. I’m usually all for budget eats whilst traveling, but to have the opportunity to dine at the third best restaurant in London (according to The Sunday Times Food List), then I’m all for it – bring on the five courses! Restaurant One O One prides itself in creative and inventive fish and seafood dishes. Chef Pascal is passionate about bringing sustainable fish to diners, and when there’s a wine to suit every course, you really will marvel at the onslaught of flavours! I don’t even know where to begin with describing the delicacies that were on offer.

Photo 04-12-2014 21 15 12

My favourite dish was the Norwegian White Halibut roasted with langoustine dumplings with paimpol coco beans black truffle cassoulet, daubed with a sauce bisque  – and if you just look at the presentation, that alone makes it worth dining here. Other dishes included wild Scottish pan-fried scallops and roasted beef fillet with parsley bearnaise. Rich and decadent, yet light and tantalising. The menu is outstanding.

Photo 04-12-2014 21 14 09

Photo 04-12-2014 21 13 00

The next day, after an injection of fruity vitamins at breakfast, we pounded the streets once again, delving deep into the quaint lanes of Belgravia. Boutique independent shops reign supreme around here and all the shopkeepers know each other, hanging out in their doorways chinwagging in the sleepy sun.

Photo 04-12-2014 21 36 24

Photo 04-12-2014 21 20 12

You might notice a beautiful scent being omitted from one store in particular, and that would be Rachel Vosper. This exquisite candle shop is run by one of the UK’s leading candle chandlers, Rachel Vosper (funnily enough). The studio has envious interior design; from vintage cabinets to  old oak work tables, bunches of powder pink roses to candles lining the walls in various unique containers. It’s a Pinterest dream!

Not only are Rachel’s candles perfectly poured and scented with skill, she is actually a pretty awesome lady. About 20 years ago, she headed over to Barbados and lived a beach bum dream. She began to get itchy feet, but luckily she met a candlemaker at happy hour at a beach bar and the rest is history! Since then she’s been making candles and now has her own studio in the priciest area of London, supplying for the most opulent venues and boutiques.

Photo 04-12-2014 21 17 44

Photo 04-12-2014 21 18 54

PicMonkey Collage

We had a go at making some candles, pouring the molten wax in three staggered stages: the first pour holds the wick in place, the second levels the surface out, the third has to be done confidently and quickly to create the finishing touch.

Knightsbridge might be the heart of the big hairy city of London, but that doesn’t mean that it’s without greenery. In fact, with Hyde Park hugging its border, you can take long leisurely walks among the trees and green lawns without even thinking about any honking and hectic traffic! The UK has been incredibly lucky with weather since it’s rainy August, so to see Hyde Park in the explosion of autumnal colours was fantastic! Piles of leaves begging to be jumped in, tame squirrels running up to greet you and cruising swans make this park a real english garden.

Photo 04-12-2014 21 29 11

The lake in Hyde Park is swum in by the local swimming club everyday. And when I say everyday, I mean they-don’t-care-if-they-have-to-smash-through-ice-in-winter to swim everyday. Personally, I prefer to enjoy the lake by lounging on one of the lakeside deck chairs and just people watching. I live on the wild side.

Photo 04-12-2014 21 32 23

Photo 04-12-2014 21 30 29

Photo 04-12-2014 21 54 19

Photo 04-12-2014 21 52 57

Via the adorably twee and pastel painted houses in the backstreets (mega house envy!), we snaked full circle over to the shopping district of Knightsbridge. Of course, it would be blasphemous not to pop into Harrod’s whilst in this area. Green uniformed elderly gentlemen man the doors to this iconic shopping department store, and it is always expensive, always busy, always decadent. Speaking of decadence, the attached patisserie, Laduree Boutique, has macaroons and pastries that will blow your mind in both presentation and taste. Don’t enter if you’re on a diet, but do if you can appreciate quality treats!

Photo 04-12-2014 22 11 45

Photo 04-12-2014 21 34 06

Knightsbridge really surprised me. Not only is it architecturally stunning, but the boutiques and produce is quite literally exquisite! I feel that I have used some pretty flowery and flouncy language to describe this area of London, but quite frankly darlings, it deserves it!

Many thanks to The Park Tower for helping me tour around. The artisans of Knightsbridge have great relations with the hotel, meaning that the concierge is really in the know of what to see to get the full enchanting experience of the area. Head over to Knightsbridge if you want a helping of true English surroundings and the chance to experience some historical (and pretty posh!) London life.

Photo 04-12-2014 22 14 09

 Image 20 by Starwood Hotels and The Park Tower Knightsbridge. All other photos by Sophie Saint.

 

 

Sophie Saint was one of the original travelettes, from 2009 – 2017. After fleeing the UK with ink barely dry on her graduation certificate, she traversed the world with a backpack and spent a few years living in Melbourne – one of her favourite cities in the world.

She finally returned to the UK after a few years where she now whiles time away zipping off for European escapes, crocheting and daydreaming of owning her own hostel somewhere hot to live out eternal summers. See what she’s up to over on her blog saintsonaplane.com and instagram: @saintsonaplane