Things to do in Knightsbridge
Knightsbridge is a part of London famed for luxury and excess. It’s filled with swanky hotels, bars, restaurants, clubs and attractions, and the rich and famous can often be seen patrolling the streets.
It’s also a part of London popular with tourists because of all the things to see and do there. Here are five reasons to split off from the hoi polloi and rub shoulders with the privileged, even if it’s just for a few hours.
- Hyde Park
Arguably London’s best known Royal Park. Not because at 350 acres it’s one of the largest, or because it was originally designated a park by Henry VIII as he wanted a place to hunt. It’s probably because there is just so much going on all year round.
In summer it turns into the place to be for concert goers, with the biggest names in music performing all summer long. In winter it turns into the Winter Wonderland, London’s biggest and most popular Christmas attraction.
The rest of the year people have to make themselves content with jogging, boating, tennis, horse riding, cycling or swimming. Or whatever else takes their fancy.
Entry is free for all.
- Kensington Palace
The home of choice for many of the UK’s young royals since it came into the possession of the Royal Family in the 17th century. It’s hard to believe it was once a two storey mansion built as a country house.
Indeed, the first Royal occupants, William II and Mary II used it as a country retreat.
Britain’s second longest serving monarch, Queen Victoria was born there, lived there for most of her childhood before leaving for Buckingham Palace.
In more modern times it has been the home of Diana, Princess of Wales and Princess Margaret.
Today it is the official residence of the heir to the throne Prince William, his brother Prince Harry and their families. Or officially, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Tickets cost £17.50 for adults and £8.70 for children.
- Kensington Gardens
These magnificent grounds were once considered part of Hyde Park and were also part of the private gardens of Kensington Palace, above.
Today, however, this beautiful open space to the west of Hyde Park is an official Royal Park in its own right and covers an impressive 270 acres. It links together with Hyde Park, St James’s Park and Green Park to form a continuous green open space in the capital.
As well as Kensington Palace, other things to see within the park include the Albert Memorial and the Diana Memorial Playground.
Entry is free for the gorgeous gardens.
- Buckingham Palace
Nestled around the Royal Parks and palaces is a residence that needs very little introduction, the official residence of the British Royal Family since 1837. Not only the official residence, but also the administrative centre of Royalty in the country.
There are 775 rooms in the palace, including 240 bedrooms and 78 bathrooms. Whilst a tour obviously doesn’t wander round the Queen’s private bedroom and bathroom, it does include some of the 19 state rooms in the palace, amongst many other areas.
Tickets are £26.50 for adults, £14.50 for children and £67.50 for children.
- Royal Albert Hall
A legendary concert hall and one of the most distinctive and recognisable buildings in London.
It was opened in 1871 by Queen Victoria and since then has played host to some of the most famous performance artists of every generation. Th type of performances include ballet, opera, circus performances, films and of course music concerts.
It also plays host to other events throughout the year, including those associated with sports and award ceremonies.
Ticket prices vary for each performance.
Museums in Knightsbridge
Knightsbridge is famed for its museums which is probably the reason why it is known as London’s ‘Museum Quarter’. It’s a title well deserved, three of the most famous and most visited museums in the capital are located here, as well as a few smaller, lesser known ones too.
London museums can be a cheap day out, many of the biggest ones are free to enter (though a donation is expected).
- Natural History Museum
One of the most important institutes in the world in terms of the study of natural history. As a museum it is awe inspiring, even from the outside as it is housed in one of the most impressive buildings to be found anywhere in London.
From the huge blue whale skeleton to the dinosaur remains (just two out of 80 million specimens the museum houses), this is a great day out for all the family.
Entry is free although donations are encouraged.
- Science Museum
The Natural History Museum is full of artefacts far too valuable to be touched or even looked at too closely, the museum next door is the absolute antithesis of this. As much as children love dinosaurs, they also love buttons to press and levers to pull, and this is where the Science Museum comes into its own!
The museum is free to enter but donations are accepted and encouraged.
- V&A Museum of Childhood
All of these museums have something for the whole family, but this one is solely aimed at children, both present day and the child that still resides in every adult.
This is the official UK national collection of childhood memorabilia, stretching back as far as the 1600s, so every generation is covered. There’s games, toys, dolls, teddy bears as well as clothes and learning apparatus.
Like many of London’s museums, entry is free although donations are always encouraged.
- Apsley House
This might not be the most famous museum in London but as it’s known as ‘Number 1, London’ it certainly has the most famous address.
This was the home of the first Duke of Wellington and now tells the story of his life through his possessions, ornaments and memorabilia. It also houses the Duke’s impressive art collection.
Tickets are £8.30 for adults, £5.00 for children and £21.60 for families.
- Saatchi Gallery
A world famous and well respected private collection of artwork that is on display to the public at this gallery in Duke of York Square.
The primary focus of the exhibition is to show off the talents of young artists and people from around the world who haven’t perhaps had the exposure they deserve in the UK.
This is a great place to visit for fans of contemporary art. Its temporary innovative exhibitions will also impress all but the very hardest of sceptics.
Entry to the popular gallery is free.
Knightsbridge is quite simply a fantastic place to go shopping, for people with bottomless wallets as well as dreamers and browsers.
It’s a place that some of the world’s most famous department stores call home, but it also has places nearby which should appeal to those people who like their shopping at a much more bargain basement level.
Harrods is famous, Harrods is huge, and its 330 departments sell practically everything imaginable. It’s also been around for 170 years.
There’s fashion from Prada, Dior and all the biggest names in the industry. There’s a food hall, homeware, toys and some of the finest restaurants to dine in too.
Until fairly recently there was also a pets department, which had been known to sell the odd lion cub or two.
- Harvey Nichols
Hot on the hills of Harrods in terms of notoriety is Harvey Nichols, though what most people don’t know that it’s actually the longer established of the two, having been in Knightsbridge since 1831.
Initially it was a shop that sold linen, but over the years it has expanded to be one of the most fashionable shops in London, featuring brands such as Stella McCartney, Valentino and Gucci.
There’s also pretty good eats and drinks too.
- Sloane Street
More luxury and exclusivity can be found outside too, on an entire street and square to be exact. Sloane Street and Sloane Square make up one of the most exclusive shopping areas in the capital.
There’s a catwalk, if you will, of outlets from high end fashion designers with the odd luxury townhouse interspersed amongst them. Many top designers have their flagship stores in the area, Giorgio Armani, Valentino and Gucci are among them.
- Brompton Road
Brompton Road starts at Knightsbridge Underground station and stretches past South Kensington tube before becoming the Fulham Road (and subsequently leading to Stamford Bridge, the home of Chelsea Football Club).
This means it winds its way through some go the most wealthy residential areas in London, which is why it is mostly home to very expensive shops and luxury hotels.
Harrods itself can be found at the east end of Brompton Road.
- Kings Road
The Sloane Street of the 1960s. Today it’s a mixture of exclusive and High Street, probably due to its journey from top fashion in the sixties through being the birthplace of punk in the seventies. The infamous shop of punk queen Vivienne Westwood can still be found here.
As well as boutiques and every day names there’s also plenty of places to eat and relax. There’s also bargain antiques to be found at the Chelsea Antiques Market.
Nowadays the Kings Road is also famed for interior design, Peter Jone’s and Cath Kidston both have outlets here.
Food & Drink in Knightsbridge
As one could imagine, Knightsbridge has some pretty chic restaurants amongst its streets and in its luxury hotels.
This is the place in London where some of the top chefs from the UK and around the world do battle with their high end eateries. The winner of this battle is, of course, the diners who get to experience some of the best cuisine to be found anywhere.
- Harry’s Dolce Vita
This Italian inspired restaurant may not be as well known as some of the other establishments owned by its parent company, who also have The Ivy and J. Sheekey in their stable. But once its 50’s/60s decor and fare is experienced it’s not easily forgotten.
The wooden panelling, gold framed mirrors and soft lighting make it look like the set of an old movie. Even the tables are laid out as if the diners are preparing to watch a cabaret.
The food is classic Italian with bolognese and ragu and with desserts such as tiramisu and panna cotta.
Address: 27-31, Basil St, Knightsbridge, London SW3 1BB
- Bar Boulud
This is a hotel restaurant owned by Daniel Boulud who is famed for his restaurants in New York. Despite being French, this is the first restaurant he has opened in Europe.
The feel inside is definitely New York. It’s loud, bustling with people and conversation, wooden floorboards, large semi circle bar and an open kitchen.
The food, however, is unmistakably French with classic items such as steak tartare, frites and plenty of chunky pâtés. As a high five to its American origins, the menu has a short but impressive burger list too.
Address: 66 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7LA
- Dinner by Heston
In the same location as Bar Boulud is an alternative option from one of the UK’s most notorious experimental chefs, Heston Blumenthal. This is, in fact, his only restaurant in the capital.
This is a place which is something of a mix between the Science Museum and a medieval banquet. The pineapple roasting pulley in the centre of the restaurant and the Meat Fruit are a nod to Heston’s ‘mad scientist’ reputation. The saddle of lamb with sweetbreads are a nod to history.
The Meat Fruit, by the way, is chicken liver parfait made to look like a mandarin.
Address: 66 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7LA
As celebrity chefs go, there’s probably just one British chef who is as well known on the other side of the Atlantic as he is on this one. And it’s a name known by practically everyone, not just those in the culinary industry.
This Gordon Ramsay owned restaurant is Michelin starred, futuristically designed and has a menu which comes at a fixed price (though not a small one).
The menu is eclectic European and complex, amaranth smoked duck and the sautéed foie gras are particular favourites.
Address: 1 Kinnerton St, Belgravia, London SW1X 8EA
This restaurant serves small plates of food to be shared. What most people would probably call tapas is actually izakaya-style dining, a Japanese way of eating normally found in bars.
The kitchen is open plan and is dominated by an impressive grill which serves some of the best barbecued meats around. There’s also a very good sushi bar, if the smell from the grill isn’t too tempting.
Address: 5 Raphael St, Knightsbridge, London SW7 1DL