Located in West London between the City of Westminster and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Belgravia is probably not very well known! Firstly, it isn’t very big and it can also be confused with parts of Pimlico, Chelsea or Knightsbridge. It is so small, that you can almost touch Buckingham Palace, Harrods and Victoria station although I wouldn’t necessarily recommend the latter! Its most well known road would have to be Eaton Square, probably most famous for not being a square but it was also home to such greats as Neville Chamberlain and Vivien Leigh. It is a mere shadow of its former self as now it serves as the road that links Sloane Square and Buckingham Palace. If I am putting you off, I really do not intend to. In fact, please visit Belgravia as you will be in for a wonderful surprise, as long as you know where to look.
Where shall we start? OK, I am going to blindfold you and lead you down a tiny alleyway off Knightsbridge, just a few steps from Hyde Park Corner tube station. I will lead you up the exit marked ‘Harrods’ and into Old Barrack Yard. Keep walking to the left and stop. Here, I will remove your blindfold. Within a few steps, it feels as if I have taken you back in to another era. Even the ever-present sound of diesel engines and supercars on Knightsbridge disappears and now you can imagine the neighing of horses and the sound of their hooves sparking on the cobbles in this tiny mews you have entered. The mews is so British and has really helped shape London as we know it today. It is like ‘Upstairs, Downstairs’ played out in street form except now the tiny mews houses that were once home to the stables, staff and pubs would be almost as expensive as the grand houses at the front. Continue walking down the tiny mews with the drainage channel still visible from a time when those living here threw dirty water out of their front door. The houses either side are small and quaint and there is a pub on the right hand side. This is The Grenadier, a small but perfectly formed pub with unique décor which includes bank notes on the ceiling and a sentry box outside. The theme links with its resident ghost, who was, as you’ve probably guessed, an old Grenadier! Wander in and ask for the story but also ask for a drink or you may not hear the correct one!
Back into Belgrave Square, it is important to know that this area was mostly the work of renowned Master builder, Thomas Cubitt. His vision of London is what we see now in much of Pimlico, Bloomsbury and Belgravia including Eaton Square mentioned above. A quick walk towards Sloane Street and you can discover Kinnerton Street, a perfectly preserved thoroughfare with a couple of its own fabulous local pubs and even a few old stable doors. You may wish to stop for lunch at Ottolenghi on Motcombe Street or pop in for the best hot chocolate in a secret garden hidden behind Rococo Chocolates. From here you can decide where to go next – will you head off to the King’s Road or maybe go window shopping in Knightsbridge? If I were you, I would seek asylum in the nearby Nag’s Head and wait for inspiration!