Moving to Belgravia
Are you moving to Belgravia? Lying just south west of Buckingham Palace, Belgravia is considered one of the world’s smartest residential addresses. Characterised by the stunning white stucco town houses this is the place where the great and the good from all over the world choose to put down their London roots. But despite the glamour and the grandeur of the residents, Belgravia manages to maintain a quiet, village-like atmosphere that belies its location at the hub of London’s West End.
Our free, in-depth Moving to Belgravia report includes info on:
• The best areas to live
• The good schools
• The average monthly rental prices
• The excellent public transport system in the city
Putting Belgravia on the map
Unlike some London villages that merge with neighbouring areas along indistinct borders, Belgravia has distinct and definite boundaries. It is a trapezium of prime London real estate formed by
- Sloane Street to the west,
- Knightsbridge to the north,
- Grosvenor Place and Buckingham Palace Road to the east,
- and Pimlico Road to the south.
Its north-eastern tip is Hyde Park Corner and it would be harder to find a more central address than that!
Although it is a quiet residential area within its confines, it is well-served by public transport, with easy access to
- Sloane Square,
- Hyde Park Corner,
- and Victoria underground stations on its periphery.
Victoria, of course, is also one of London’s major rail terminals and coach stations, and the departure point for the Gatwick Express to Gatwick Airport. The area is also well-served by London buses and is convenient for the major road routes out of London.
With such a preponderance of grand houses, property in the area commands premium prices. But behind the white stucco fronts, the tiny mews which were used for the grandees’ stables offer some more affordable living options, and of course, unless your family is very large, apartment conversions are well worth a look. Furthermore, because of the huge variance in the types of properties on offer, you may see asking prices well above the average for the most desirable addresses or quite a bit below it in less illustrious corners.
The streets of Belgravia represent not only some of London’s most sought after addresses – these elegant 19th century houses rank highly with buyers and tenants from all over the world. Here’s a rundown of some of the quarter’s most notable streets and squares.
One of the original squares designed by Thomas Cubitt, there are four terraces of white stucco town houses, many of which are now foreign embassies. On the southern corner, in Downshire House, the Chairman of shipping company Harland and Wolff, and J Bruce Ismay, MD of the White Star Line, devised a plan to build three huge ships – the RMS Olympic, the RMS Gigantic and the RMS Titanic. The rest, as they say, is history. Belgrave Square has a wonderful garden in the centre, replete with multiple statues and a tennis court for residents’ use.
This is the largest of Belgravia’s garden squares, and is in fact a large rectangle made up of six private gardens. The classic white terraced houses with their period facades are now a mixture of grand residences and luxury apartments, making it one of London’s most popular addresses. Baroness Thatcher resides here.
Another typical Belgravia Square, this time in the north west corner of the district. Once again, white stucco townhouses predominate, two of which belong to Roman Abramovich, now combined to create the most expensive house in London.
The third of the original squares built by the 2nd Marquess, it is named after the city of Chester, close to the Grosvenor family’s country residence. It has a pretty 1.5 acre garden square which has been restored to its original 1867 layout. Horror fans will appreciate knowing that Mary Shelley once lived here.
Named after the 2nd Marquess’ son, the 2nd Earl of Wilton, this sweeping terrace was part of the original designs for Belgravia, and was for many years popular with politicians, ambassadors and civil servants, including Louis Mountbatten.
Belgravia’s chic and sophisticated high street with a perfect mix of local food shops, gourmet restaurants and high-end designer boutiques and jewellers.
Full of character, this narrow cobbled street is a centre for fine dining and exquisite shopping. Christian Louboutin has a shop here, as do Louise Kennedy and Carolina Bucci. There are also several top beauty spas for head-to-toe pampering.
Upper Belgravia Street
Connecting Belgrave Square to Eaton Square, this elegant residential street of beautiful houses and apartments commands some of the highest property prices in the world. Alfred Lord Tennison lived at Number 12.
Who lives here and why?
Looking at a list of famous people who live, or have lived, in Belgravia, it might be quicker to simply list those who haven’t lived here… However, just a few of the area’s more notable residents include British Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher, Stanley Baldwin and Neville Chamberlain, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Frederic Chopin, Frankenstein creator Mary Shelley, two James Bonds – Sir Sean Connery and Sir Roger Moore – not to mention Ian Fleming, who created the fictional spy, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Roman Abramovich and Andrew Lloyd Webber.
So what makes this relatively small corner of London appeal to so many? To find the answer one needs to consider Belgravia’s history. Belgrave Square is named in honour of the Viscount Belgrave, one of the titles of the Duke of Westminster, head of the Grosvenor family. To this day, much of the property in Belgravia is still owned by the Grosvenor Estate, and the area was developed in the early 19th century by Richard Grosvenor, the 2nd Marquess of Westminster. This continuity of ownership has kept modern development to a minimum, enabling the area to hold on to its historic looks and character. The existing leases on many of the big houses restrict their use to residential, embassies, charities and professional institutes, and as London has become a haven for the world’s super-wealthy, an increasing number of them are being converted back into private residences.
But despite its pre-eminent location, the majority of streets and mews remain resolutely quiet and residential in nature. Sloane Street to the west is, of course, one of London’s premier shopping streets and home to a host of international designers, while Grosvenor Place and Buckingham Palace Road to the east are busy main roads. But between these two, only Elizabeth Street and Motcomb Street are to any extent commercialised, mainly with smart restaurants, swanky boutiques, antique shops and galleries, with irresistible-looking bakers and delis providing tasty treats for local residents.
Furthermore, although gardens are of limited size or even nonexistent in the area, many of the properties have access to tranquil garden squares, beautiful green havens that remain wonderfully quiet despite being in the city centre. Hyde Park and Green Park are also both within easy walking distance offering plenty of open space for promenading and jogging, ornamental lakes, horse riding and other sports, and busy cafes.
The Best Bits
One of the main benefits of living in the centre of a large city is the easy access it affords to a wide range of cultural diversions and world class shopping – and Belgravia’s no different in this respect. Within the district, the Grosvenor Estate’s commitment to placing art in public spaces means that some of the garden squares are populated by superb sculptures, including Conversation Piece by Zadok Ben-David in Wilton Crescent Garden, the Slate Wall in Montrose Place, five beautiful bronzes in Belgrave Square, while Eaton Square Gardens plays host to temporary sculpture exhibitions. Also in Eaton Square, music lovers can enjoy regular classical concerts at St Peter’s Church. And look out for the statue of Mozart on Orange Square in celebration of the fact that he wrote he wrote his first two symphonies in nearby Ebury Street.
Art lovers will also find plenty of opportunities to go shopping in the area. There are fabulous galleries and antique shops on Pimlico Road (including contemporary works at Plus One Gallery and 18th century art at Ebury Galleries), and on Motcomb Street (including the Osbourne Studio Gallery, the Mathaf Gallery and the Jonathan Wylder Gallery). For high end fashion and gorgeous jewellery, Elizabeth Street is the go-to destination, with top designer names like Philip Treacy for hats, Jenny Packham for red carpet glamour, Erickson Beamon jewellery and Allegra Hicks for fashion and interiors. It also has a range of upmarket food shops, including French bakers Poilane, wine merchants Jereboams, Baker & Spice, and TomTom for freshly ground coffee, as well as a number of excellent restaurants.
Beyond Belgravia’s limits, the shopping gets really serious, with Sloane Street, Knightsbridge, Beauchamp Place, King’s Road, Piccadilly, Jermyn Street, Bond Street and Oxford Street all within walking distance – or perhaps a short cab ride when you’re laden down shopping bags. Likewise, culture and the arts are well served in the wider area: to the west, there’s the Albert Hall and the splendours of the Victoria and Albert, Natural History, and Science Museums, while to the north east, the Wallace Collection beckons, or perhaps a concert at the Wigmore Hall. Tate Britain lies a mile or so south in Pimlico, and all the other major London sights are practically on the doorstep.
Bringing the Kids
Belgravia may not be the sort of place you’d associate with children but there are plenty of them living in the area – many of them the offspring of the diplomats and expats that reside in the leafy garden squares. There are a small number of primary schools within the boundaries or close by, including swanky prep schools Hill House and Eaton House, along with the Holy Trinity, St Peter’s Eaton Square and St Barnabas Church of England Primary Schools, as well as the Knightsbridge School and Sussex House School.
For pupils at secondary level there is just one school in Belgravia, the Francis Holland School for girls in Sloane Square, and there is also a mixed sixth form college, Abbey College. However, there are plenty of central London schools within an easy commute, including the Lycee Francais in South Kensington, More House, a Roman Catholic girls school in Knightsbridge, Westminster – the world-renowned boys’ public school, and a number of local authority schools in Pimlico and Westminster.
With the garden squares to play in, as well as a fabulous playground in Hyde Park and plenty of room to run around in Green Park, there are numerous opportunities for stretching little legs. And with London’s major museums and attractions so close by, there’s no excuse for boredom in the school holidays!
Relocating to Belgravia
There’s no denying that renting property in Belgravia is expensive but this is to be expected of one of the most desirable residential enclaves in the world. If you’re relocating to London and you want to live at one of the capital’s premier addresses, then Belgravia makes the ideal choice – you’ll enjoy a high quality of life in a prestigious area that has also managed to hold on to a friendly neighbourhood feel. It’s a less obvious choice for families as the individual gardens are somewhat limited, but even so, there are good schools on the doorstep, while access to a garden square and the proximity of two Royal Parks could easily make up for not having a garden of your own. However, if you don’t know the area, there are a lot of factors to take into consideration when looking for a property, and access to someone with good knowledge of the local rental market is virtually essential. Add to that further considerations such as convenience for work, access to suitable schools, transport links for trips back home… This is when employing the services of a relocation agent can really help.
At Saunders 1865, our teams of experts combine local knowledge with first-hand experience to pinpoint the right area and the right property that will tick all your boxes. We know London property inside out, we know how much you should expect to pay and the advantages and disadvantages of choosing different areas. We can bring expertise to all these factors and help to arrange smooth, efficient and stress-free relocations – here or to other parts of London and the UK. Our services include home finding assistance, school finding, lease negotiations, temporary accommodation, move management and immigration assistance. Don’t hesitate to contact us to find out how we can help you.
Lying just south west of Buckingham Palace, Belgravia is considered one of the world’s smartest residential addresses. If you’re relocating any VIPs to London, learn what you need to know by grabbing this new report.
Average Monthly Rents