Good news! Lockdown restrictions have eased down a bit here in London so what better way to celebrate it but to go for a walk (finally!) in Central London and explore fancy neighborhoods like Belgravia.
This self-guided walking itinerary is based on London’s Hidden Walks book which is definitely my favourite purchase since moving here. If like me, you love walking around London while learning its history (which is a lot) – you better get your hands on it now. Click here if you want to purchase one for yourself, no this is not an affiliate link.
In this blog, I’ve included the highlights of this itinerary for me – the ones that I found interesting or pretty.
London's Hidden Walks: Belgravia Highlights
Belgravia is just one of the many affluent areas in Central London, it’s named after the village of Belgrave in Cheshire where the county seat of the Grosvenor family was located. There are very few neighborhoods in London associated to a single family and Belgravia owes its very existence to the Grosvenors.
While it was considered a dangerous area in the early years where highwaymen and robberies were rampant, it’s been transformed to an elegant rows of stucco houses by Thomas Cubbitt in 1820 to compete with Mayfair. It still holds some of the prestigious addresses in London until now where an average house price is GBP6.6 Million (as of March 2010).
Our first stop is Bourne Street named after the Westbourne River which runs underneath. Over the centuries, this lost London river was forced underground which the pub Fox and Hounds claim to cool their cellars. They have long affirmed that multiple Guinness drinkers informed them that theirs is the best in London, thanks to the natural cooling effect of the River Bourne running beneath their cellar. You gotta love Brits and their beer. :p
Next stop is Orange Square, a small leafy square which is transformed into a farmer’s market every Saturday and where you can find a statue of the young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Mozart lived for a few weeks in 180 Ebury Street just down the road from this square in the summer of 1764. It is where he created his first symphony.
Other notable people who lived in Ebury Street include James Bond creator Ian Fleming and Michael Caine during the swinging 60’s.
Another pretty pub in the area which the rich residents enjoy is the Duke of Wellington. It was originally built as a reading room and library for the employees of the local aristocrats but they realized that they much rather have a drink than read so it was converted into a pub. Yes, this is a true story. :p
This wasn’t included in the London’s Hidden Walks itinerary but I just had to make a detour towards Peggy Porschen Cakes. I mean, do you even live or have visited London if you don’t have a photo of this facade on your instagram feed? It was closed still, thankfully, otherwise it would have been busy with instagramers.
The fancy Chester Square is up next, it’s one of the three original squares when Belgravia was being laid out. It has topped the list of Britain’s most expensive addresses for several years with number 50 sold in recent years for GBP50 million.
Mary Shelley, the author or Frankenstein and former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher are just some of the popular names who lived in this area.
Not to be overshadowed by Chester Square, our next stop Eaton Square is considered by many as the most prestigious address in London. In around 1890 – dukes, knights, earls and viscounts used to live in this area and it was believed that it required a minimum of GBP10,000 a year to live here during that time which is a lot of money if you think about it. As I was walking around the square, I glimpsed a residential building with a doorman dressed in tuxedo who held the door for a fancy-looking resident. I’ve never felt so poor in my life until then.
Vivien Leigh, star of Gone With The Wind lived here for many years and died in number 54. Other notable names who lived here include Bond actor Roger Moore and composer Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Belgravia is sprinkled with many mews around, I’ve passed quite a few before reaching Eaton Mews North. Mews was where the servants and horses of the rich families resided and Belgravia being home to many wealthy people, mews were abundant in the area.
Typically, mews are a row of unique houses along a cobblestoned street. It’s traffic free (except for the residents) and gives you a sense of a small community. While it used to house the servants back in the day, they definitely can’t afford it now. I’ve just checked on a listing and the cheapest one I can find is GBP3 million for a 2 bedroom mews.
Up ahead, the exclusive and prestigious Mossiman’s private dining club is our next stop – not that I’d be able to dine there now nor in the future because it’s a members only dining club. It’s housed in a former Presbyterian Church which made me all the more curious to see how it looks like inside. I guess I won’t be able to find out. Lol.
Next, we stop by Motcomb Street which is North Belgravia’s “high street”. Hands down, this is the fanciest high street I’ve ever been in London with Louboutin store in one end and other high-end shops alongside it.
The charming Kinnerton Street is nearby, it’s so pretty that it gives out a village vibe. The Nags Head completes this vibe with its beautiful facade. It’s said to be London’s smallest pub and famous for its quirky landlord – just read the reviews. :p
Last pretty pub to complete this itinerary is The Grenadier, unfortunately the owner (I assumed) had his car parked out front and there were two people chatting away as well so I wasn’t able to take a proper photo of its entrance but it’s seriously extremely pretty. It’s also notoriously known to be haunted by the ghost of an army officer who was caught cheating and flogged to death. Now that’s something I don’t want to find out myself if it’s true or not. :p
And that completes our Belgravia Walk! 🙂 Thanks for walking along with me. :p